From: Kolja Sulimma on 31 Jan 2006 07:00
Austin Lesea schrieb:
> From our legal group-
> Also, the bitstream created by using Xilinx software is owned
> by Xilinx can only be used on Xilinx programmable products, for example,
Xilinx owns the bitstream? And Microsoft owns my PhD thesis because I
typed it in Word? Wait, I created a PDF with Acrobat, so the PDF is
owned by Adobe. But it was created from a file owned by Microsoft, so
now Microsoft needs to sue Adobe.
Sorry Austin, that is complete nonsense. Xilinx can not own a file that
contains IP both from me an third parties.
A shared ownership might be possible but I really doubt that.
There was a case about two years back were a computer game manufacturer
claimed that it owned level files created by an editor delivered with a
game. They lost the case.
Please have you legal department read up the first sale principle and
have them think again whether they can restrict what a private customer
does with the output of the tools.
And after they checked that for the US, have them recheck for
BTW: If I typed my HDL in the ISE editor, can I still publish it under
GPL (according to your legal department)
From: Brian Drummond on 31 Jan 2006 08:14
On 30 Jan 2006 15:28:41 -0800, cs_posting(a)hotmail.com wrote:
>John Williams wrote:
>> What you've now created is a hybrid license, incompatible with the pure
>> GPL (ok, so you can't host it on sourceforge, no big deal). If someone
>> uses the tool to target an Altera part, then they are breaking the
>> conditions of their license and it is therefore immediately revoked.
>> You would add a viral clause which makes sure that further refinements
>> of the tool are also covered by the same dual condition (GPL + Xilinx only).
>But what if someone figures out XDL by reverse engineering your tool,
>rather than Xilinx's software? How do you prohibit someone from
>reverse engineering (ie, reading and taking notes) open code?
The viral clause must still apply to the reverse engineered tool;
it has to define reverse engineering as a form of "use".
From: Kolja Sulimma on 31 Jan 2006 08:45
Ed McGettigan schrieb:
> The (A) company used these exact same EULA restrictions against Clear Logic
> and won.
> More details here:
There is no mentioning of the EULA. Apparently there is a special law in
the US to protect semiconductor masks and the court treated the
bitstream as a mask work.
The EULA can still be completely invalid.
I just skimmed the law, and I still do not see how Altera could possibly
"the ?owner? of a mask work is the person who created the mask work"
If I start bitgen, I am generating the mask work and not altera. I use a
tool to do it, yes, but surely I am still the creator?
But even if Altera was the owner, it goes on:
"the protection provided for a mask work under this chapter shall
commence on the date on which the mask work is registered under section
908, or the date on which the mask work is first commercially exploited
anywhere in the world"
Surely Altera did not register my bitstream and did not exploit it
comercially before I sent it to Clear Logic?
Then the law goes on, and explicitely allows to reverse engineer the
mask (bitstream) to create your own bitstreams with the information
?906 (a) 1 and 2: "it is not an infringement [...] for [...] a person
who performs the analysis or evaluation described in paragraph (1) to
incorporate the results of such conduct in an original mask work which
is made to be distributed."
I conclude that ?906 (a) of the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of
1994 permits to reverse engineer bitstream information to create open
source tools. But hey, IANAL.
From: cs_posting on 31 Jan 2006 09:01
Kolja Sulimma wrote:
> Sorry Austin, that is complete nonsense. Xilinx can not own a file that
> contains IP both from me an third parties.
> A shared ownership might be possible but I really doubt that.
That seems to be the most logical basis for a claim. Compare for
example, this partial passage from RedHat's default licensing of the
Cygwin compatability layer:
"The Cygwin API library found in the winsup subdirectory of the source
code is also covered by the GNU GPL (with exceptions; see below). By
default, all executables link against this library (and in the process
include GPL'd Cygwin glue code). This means that unless you modify the
tools so that compiled executables do not make use of the Cygwin
library, your compiled programs will also have to be free software
distributed under the GPL with source code available to all."
This seems to say that if you compile in a way that includes bits of
their library, RedHat has an ownership interest in your binary. The
only difference is that they exercise that interest by extending the
GPL to the result, whereas Xilinx exercises its interest by extending
its restrictions on keeping the technology proprietary and only running
it on Xilinx silicon. RedHat is also willing to sell you a license to
use the parts of the Cygwin stuff which they own under non-GPL terms,
and Xilinx may be willing to license a bit stream to you slightly
differently if you can make a convincing argument to why it would be in
their interest to do so.
From: Kolja Sulimma on 31 Jan 2006 09:18
> Kolja Sulimma wrote:
>>Sorry Austin, that is complete nonsense. Xilinx can not own a file that
>>contains IP both from me an third parties.
>>A shared ownership might be possible but I really doubt that.
> This seems to say that if you compile in a way that includes bits of
> their library, RedHat has an ownership interest in your binary. The
> only difference is that they exercise that interest by extending the
> GPL to the result, whereas Xilinx exercises its interest by extending
> its restrictions on keeping the technology proprietary and only running
> it on Xilinx silicon. RedHat is also willing to sell you a license to
> use the parts of the Cygwin stuff which they own under non-GPL terms,
> and Xilinx may be willing to license a bit stream to you slightly
> differently if you can make a convincing argument to why it would be in
> their interest to do so.
That would be shared ownership, which is possible.
But to claim that, Xilinx must argue that the bitstream contains
material that is protected by copyright. Is is not enough that it was
created with a tool that is protected by copyright.
(Using a compiler/text editor vs. linking to a library/using a letter
Some bitstreams might contain Xilinx library elements but clearly not
all bitstreams do.
The ISE toolflow uses TCL at some points. If the use of a tool alone
would impose the license of the tool on the result all bitstreams would
be GPL. So Xilinx needs to explain why the EULA of ISE does affect the
bitstream while the license of TCL does not.