Subject: eCos license [was Re: EROS license]
From: Michael Tiemann <>
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 21:53:38 -0700 (PDT)

Ian and Russ...I have to respectfully disagree.

     > Of course, not all FSBs are the same.  For example, I think it was a
     > reasonable business decision for Cygnus to release eCos under a dual
     > license.  I don't think the goal of eCos is to encourage third party
     > contributions (although no doubt Cygnus will happily accept them); I
     > think the goal is to blow away royalty based RTOSes, such as those
     > sold by Cygnus's competitors, via an extreme form of price-dumping.

NO!!  No no no no no!!!!!

    Yeah, I've never quite understood the difference between free software
    and dumping.  For those people who aren't blessed to live in the US,
    we have this thing called antitrust.  If you sell a product for much
    more than the competition, you've obviously got a monopoly otherwise
    competition would bring the price down.  If you sell a product for the
    same as your competition, you've violating antitrust laws which
    prohibit price-fixing (collusion between vendors to support a price).
    And if you sell a product for much less than the competition, you're
    dumping product on the market in the hopes of putting your competition 
    out of business.

Fooey!!  Perhaps you don't understand what we're doing because you have
not read my chapter in O'Reilly's Open Sources book.  For a free copy of
that chapter, check out

To summarize...we created eCos because the existing RTOS companies were
making such a _mess_ out of their offerings that we needed to patch
things up.  If they did a _halfway_ decent job, we never would have
entered the business.

If you think my article is just a self-serving fluff piece, consider
this: 5 years ago, people were moving from roll-your-own RTOSes to
commercial RTOSes at the rate of 10% of the total available market per
year.  The 1998 VDC numbers show the _opposite_ trend.  In 1996,
proprietary RTOSes had cracked the 50% market share number.  Last year,
over 70% favored a roll-your-own approach.  What we're doing is _not_
dumping, it's meeting market demand.  That demand today is for a
scalable, real-time, royalty free RTOS.  Open source is a _bonus_.

Wait 'till October, when we can announce some of the design wins and
support wins we won.  It's pretty excellent (and may explain in part why
the market is so down on our proprietary competitors).  And in case I
did not make myself clear: WE'RE NOT DUMPING.