TRON News Items for February 2004

T-Kernel License Agreement Made Public

TRON Web learned during the month of February that the T-Engine Forum had made public via its Web site the Japanese version of T-License, the license agreement governing the use of the T-Kernel source code and its derivatives. During TRON SHOW 2004, Prof. Ken Sakamura, who heads the T-Engine Forum, mentioned that he had developed a unique license agreement for T-Kernel, which is a single source real-time kernel developed exclusively for use on top of the T-Engine family of open development boards. Although T-Kernel is royalty free like the GNU/Linux operating system software, the license agreement governing its use is not based on the General Public License. Moreover, unlike previous license agreements for ITRON, it is restrictive and places notification and verification requirements on the source code user and system developer. These license agreement features are to ensure that incompatible versions of the software are not development, thus assuring the smooth porting of middleware.

TRON Web's translation of T-License is given below. Please keep in mind that this is a "reference translation" that has no legal force. The legally binding English version of T-License can only be provided by the legal representatives of the T-Engine Forum.


(T-Kernel Source Code License Agreement)

Enacted: January 23, 2004

T-Engine Forum

Article 1: Scope of Regulation

  1. The present license agreement establishes the copyright and the terms of use concerning the T-Kernel source code being distributed by the T-Engine Forum, plus its derivatives.

Article 2: Definition of Terms

  1. "T-Kernel" refers to the real-time operating system for use with T-Engine that the T-Engine Forum was commissioned to manage and distribute by the copyright holder.
  2. "The present source code" refers to the T-Kernel source programs (including attached comments and documentation).
  3. "Simply ported source code" refers to something where one has changed only the hardware dependent portions of the present source code so that it runs on T-Engine hardware registered with the T-Engine Forum, and which has been manufactured based on T-Engine hardware specifications issued by the T-Engine Forum.
  4. "Changed source code" refers to source code that has been generated after changing the present source code for the purpose of performance enhancement, function addition or deletion, etc. "Simply ported source code" is not included in the definition of "changed source code."
  5. "Binary code" refers to execution format code generated through the compiling of programs that include all or a portion of the present source code or changed source code.
  6. "Derivatives of the present source code" refers to something where we have generically named changed source code and binary code.
  7. "Embedded products" refers to devices that operate using the present source code, changed source code, or binary code after the loading of execution format code onto hardware.
  8. "End user" refers to the general consumer who purchases and uses embedded products.
  9. "System developer" refers to a person who, irrespective of whether for compensation or not, provides embedded products to end users by developing embedded products by himself or under commission to a third party.
  10. "Changed version distributor" refers to a person who manufactures changed source code and distributes it to third parties, irrespective of whether for compensation or not.
  11. "Changed version patch" refers to differences or their generation program, generation system, etc., for the purpose of generating source code or its binary code that has been changed from the present source code.
  12. "Vicarious execution of patch processing" refers to the vicarious execution of work that generates changed source code or its binary code by using changed version patches in regard to the present source code.
  13. "Source code user" refers to the person who uses the present source code.
  14. "Distribution" refers to the following things.
    1. Transmitting to specified persons copyrighted materials by means of communications, broadcasting, etc., on the Internet, etc.
    2. Automatically carrying out the transmission of copyrighted materials in response to requests from unspecified persons by means of communications, broadcasting, etc., on the Internet, etc.
    3. Distributing to unspecified or specified persons copies of copyrighted materials.

Article 3: Copyright to the Present Source Code

  1. Ken Sakamura holds the copyright to the present source code.

Article 4: Permission for Use

  1. The T-Engine Forum permits the use of and provides free of charge the present source code as established below to persons who have completed the prescribed procedures of the T-Engine Forum, and who have agreed to the T-License.
  2. The present source code is distributed solely by the T-Engine Forum. A person who has obtained the present source code must not redistribute the present source code.
  3. The source code user can do the following things.
    1. Copy and change for the purposes of his own research and development, etc., the present source code obtained in accordance with Item 1
    2. Operate for the purposes of his own research and development, etc., the present source code obtained in accordance with Item 1
    3. Operate for the purposes of his own research and development, etc., the present source code changed in accordance with Subitem 1
  4. The system developer can do the following things.
    1. Actions decided in the previous item.
    2. He can develop and manufacture embedded products that include binary code, he can provide these to end users regardless of whether for compensation or not, and he allow can end users to use binary code on embedded products.
  5. When the source code user or system developer allows the use of the present source code or the use of binary code or the use of binary code on end products for end users, he bears the responsibility of showing by means of the separately established process of the T-Engine Forum the aim for which the present source code has been used.

Article 5: Distribution of Changed Source Code

  1. A level members of the T-Engine Forum can become changed version distributors by means of being approved after going through the prescribed registration procedure; and, limited to said position of an A level member that has carried out said registration procedure, they can carry out distribution of changed source code during the period they are A level members by means of the procedure established below.
  2. The T-Engine Forum provides the present source code to changed version distributors, and the changed version distributors can make changes on the basis of the present source code and create changed source code (hereafter referred to as said "changed source code"), and they can create changed version patches to said "changed source code" from the present source code.
  3. Changed version distributors shall notify the T-Engine Forum and register with the T-Engine Forum by the prescribed process the title and an outline of said "changed source code" prior to its distribution.
  4. The title of said "changed source code" shall be in conformance with the separately established regulations of the T-Engine Forum, and, moreover, it shall be displayed in accordance with the regulations into regard to both changed version patches and said "changed source code."
  5. Changed version distributors can distribute said "changed source code" to third parties, regardless of whether for compensation or not. However, they must not allow redistribution of said "changed source code" by the parties that have obtained said "changed source code."
  6. Changed version distributors can supply changed version patches to system developers. However, in supplying these, changed version distributors shall bear the burden of confirming that said system developer is a legitimate source code user in accordance with Item 1 of Article 4.
  7. Changed version distributors can carry out the vicarious execution of patch processing in regard to system developers.
  8. System developers can further change changed source code, and they can distribute it as a software module.
  9. System developers can allow end users to use embedded products with the same conditions as Item 5 of Article 4 by utilizing derivatives of the present source code obtained by means of changed version patches distributed by changed version distributors and the vicarious execution of patch processing.

Article 6: Registration of Simply Ported Source Code

  1. Members of the T-Engine Forum can request to the T-Engine Forum that source code that has been simply ported to new T-Engine hardware be registered and distributed as original T-Kernel source code .
  2. A member that requests distribution under the previous item shall satisfy the following conditions.
    1. The target hardware is something based on T-Engine specifications.
    2. In the request, the member loans without compensation to the T-Engine Forum a complete set of the target hardware and the T-Kernel operating environment.
    3. In the request, the member attaches the test results of the simply ported source code.
  3. In a case where the T-Engine Forum certifies a request under Item 1 as being proper, the T-Engine Forum will carry out registration and distribution of said "simply ported source code" as T-Kernel source code. However, in the interval up to being registered under the present article, the same handling as changed source code will be recognized as concerns the use of the simply ported source code.
  4. In regard to simply ported source registered under the present article, Article 3 shall be applied.

Article 7: Peripheral Business

  1. Concerning the present source code and changed source code, prior consent of the T-Engine Forum shall be necessary when putting it to uses other than those decided on in Article 4 and Article 5.

Article 8: Guarantees

  1. The T-Engine Forum and the copyright holder of the present source code guarantee that the present source code is not in violation of the copyrights of a third party.
  2. The T-Engine Forum and the copyright holder of the present source code do not guarantee that the present source code is suitable for the purposes of the source code user.
  3. The T-Engine Forum and the copyright holder of the present source code do not guarantee that the present source code is not in violation of the industrial property rights of a third party. Moreover, it will not bear any responsibility whatsoever concerning disputes about industrial property rights between the source code user and a third party.

Article 9: Measures in Regard to Violations of the Present License Agreement

  1. The T-Engine Forum shall take measures based on redress of violation and copyright infringement concerning parties that have violated the present license, without regard as to whether or not they are members of the T-Engine Forum.
  2. A member of the T-Engine Forum that has violated the present license shall be expelled from the T-Engine Forum or receive other punishment in keeping with the type of violation.
  3. In case the need for litigation arises concerning the present license agreement, the Tokyo District Court shall be the exclusively agreed upon court of jurisdiction.

A few things are obvious from reading the above contract. First, unlike ITRON, there is only going to be one source for legal copies of T-Kernel, and that one source is going to be the T-Engine Forum. Those who find that too restrictive are free to use ITRON4.0-specification TOPPERS/JSP, which is available for downloading on line. Second, the T-Engine Forum guarantees that the software is original, and thus is not in violation of others' copyrights. In other words, nothing has been cut and pasted into the T-Kernel source code from someone else's source code, whether free software or otherwise. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the user will not be sued by a third party for violation of "industrial property rights," which is a broad term that seems to include both software patents and other types of intellectual property. This appears to have been included as a result of The SCO Group vs. GNU/Linux movement intellectual property dispute, which is creating havoc among GNU/Linux-based businesses.

Personal Media Puts T-Engine/SH7760 Development Kit on Sale

Personal Media Corporation announced on February 19 that it would begin marketing from the middle of March a new T-Engine open development board kit based on the SH7760 microprocessor that comes standard equipped with a Controller Area Network (CAN) function, the industry standard for automotive local area networks used in vehicles. The new T-Engine development kit, the "T-Engine/SH7760 Development Kit" (click here for a picture of the main board), will be sold via direct sales from Personal Media at a standard price of 195,000 yen (consumption tax not included). Options for the development kit, which Personal Media said is ideal for developing advanced automotive applications such as car navigation systems are: a T-Engine development bench (acrylic base plus a carrying cover) priced at 20,000 yen, a LAN expansion board priced at 60,000 yen, and the PMC T-Shell/SH7760 Development Kit priced at 98,000 yen (all option equipment prices do not include the consumption tax).

The hardware and software specifications for the T-Engine/SH7760 Development kit are as follows:

T-Engine/SH7760 Hardware Specification
CPU SH7760 (SH-4 core, 200 MHz)
Flash memory 8 Megabytes
SDRAM 64 Megabytes
I/O interfaces USB (Host), PCMCIA card, serial, eTRON chip I/F, headphone output, microphone input, expansion bus I/F
Other functions Real-time clock (RTC)
Power source AC adapter
External dimensions
CPU board: 120 mm x 75 mm (without protuberances)
LCD board
TFT 240 x 320 dot color, touch panel, key SW x 3
External dimensions: 120 mm x 75 mm (without protuberances)
Debug board
H-UDI (36 pin) connector, EPROM, 8-bit LED, test pin
External dimensions: 101 mm x 75 mm (without protuberances)
I/O board
I/O connector (connection with the SH7760 built-in interface, etc., via a through hole)
External dimensions: 101 mm x 75 mm (without protuberances)

Software Bundled with T-Engine/SH7760
T-Monitor Standard T-Engine monitor
T-Kernel T-Kernel/OS (Operating System), T-Kernel/SM (System Manager), T-Kernel/DS (Debugger Support)
T-Kernel Extension (basic middleware for development use) File management function, command line interpreter (CLI)
Managers PC Card manager (bus driver), USB manager (bus driver)
Device drivers with source programs
RTC, console (serial), screen (LCD), system disk (ATA, CF Card, USB), KB/PD (keyboard, touch panel, mouse)
Note: a driver for CAN use is not included
Sample programs Simple disk partition creator (hdpart), disk formatter (format), file contents comparer (cmp), disk dump (dd), simple line editor (ed)

Personal Media Establishes T-Kernel Integrated Support Center

Personal Media Corporation established on February 2 a "T-Kernel Integrated Support Center," the aim of which is to promote the use of the standard T-Engine operating system, T-Kernel. Two support contracts will be offered by the center. These are: (1) a general support contract that will allow clients to receive basic support related to the use and application of T-Engine software (functions, APIs, etc.), and (2) a custom support contract that will include the contents of the general support contract. The custom support contract will enable clients to receive support concerning the internal structure of software and the makeup of source programs; advice on porting customizing, and tuning; individual support and debugging dependent on the client's environment and programming; support for beginners; support for porting from another environment to T-Engine; and consulting that can also include help with business development and marketing. For further information, please contact Personal Media T-Engine Sales Department.