Licensing options when using ChibiOS as the RTOS
About this document
This document provides a general overview of the licensing options available when using ChibiOS as the .NET nanoFramework RTOS component. The nanoFramework team have been in contact with the ChibiOS sales team to ensure accuracy of the following information at time of print (October 2017).
For details or to discuss your particular situation, we strongly recommend getting in touch with the ChibiOS sales team.
What exactly is being used from ChibiOS in .NET nanoFramework firmware
.NET nanoFramework is built against unmodified ChibiOS sources via a mirror (for stability). It's using:
- The HAL, which is released under Apache License 2.0 meaning that it's 100% free to use or distribute without royalties for any purpose.
- The RT, is released under GPL3. See below for the licensing options which maybe different depending on your particular use.
Can I use ChibiOS freely for my hobby or personal development at home
Yes, using ChibiOS in a Free and Open Source Software project or for personal use is perfectly fine.
Can I use ChibiOS freely if I'm developing a commercial product
Yes but if you modify the ChibiOS source code in any way please be aware of the following options:
- you must comply with the GPL3 licensing terms. Basically you MUST keep the ChibiOS part open source.
- are okay with ChibiOS publicizing your use of it and you clearly mention that your product is using ChibiOS you may keep your additions closed source.
Can I use ChibiOS 'components licensing'
'Components Licensing' is when you buy only parts of ChibiOS, for example the RT kernel with the CM4 port. This option MUST be discussed it with the ChibiOS sales team.
What is a 'runtime license'
The 'runtime license' is an option for the use of parts of ChibiOS in software products that are sold to 3rd parties. This option MUST be discussed with the ChibiOS sales team.
What about the .NET nanoFramework firmware
The nanoframwork firmware is released under Apache 2 license and has no implications of using ChibiOS as the RTOS.
What about managed apps (C#) running on .NET nanoFramework
Applications (the C# code) that are loaded into and executed by the nanoframwork firmware firmware image are not compiled or built by it due to the fact that it is interpreted on the fly from memory. As such, it can be deemed as a seperate component and your C# managed code from a licensing perspective can be deemed seperate from the firmware. For discussion sake imagine that you won't ever load a managed app on the firmware image. .NET nanoFramework would still be perfectly working software, just not doing much. As such this means that ChibiOS licensing doesn't apply to C# managed apps and it's use is not affected by the ChibiOS licensing terms.