HybridOS integrates many mature free software and open source software, such as MiniGUI, FreeType, SQLite, and the derivatives of Cairo, Mesa, WebKit and others.
Most components of HybridOS uses loose and commercial-friendly open source licenses, such as Apache 2.0 and MIT. But some do not:
- MiniGUI, including MiniGUI core and components, such as mGUtils, mGPlus, mGEff, mGNCS, and mGNCS4Touch, is released under the GPLv3.
- hiWebKit, the WebKit derivative for HybridOS, uses LGPLv3.
Therefore, any link to the above components of HybridOS must follow GPLv3 or LGPLv3. If you cannot accept the terms and conditions of GPLv3 or LGPLv3, you need to be licensed from Beijing FMSoft Technologies Co., Ltd. ('FMSoft' for short).
We refer to MiniGUI, hiWebKit, or both as 'the Software' in this blog.
Free Use for Those Who Are 100% GPL
If your application is licensed under GPL, you are free and welcome to ship the Software with your application. By "application" we mean any type of software application, system, tool or utility. For doing this, you do not need a separate signed agreement with FMSoft, because the GPL/LGPL terms is sufficient. But we do recommend you to be in touch with us as there usually are good opportunities for partnership and co-marketing.
Free Use for Those Who Never Copy, Modify or Distribute
As long as you never distribute (internally or externally) the Software in any way, you are free to use it for powering your application, irrespective of whether your application is under GPL/LGPL license or not.
- Modifying - You are allowed to modify the source code any way you like. If you distribute the modified version, all changes, all interface code and all code that connects directly or indirectly to the interface code fall under GPL or LGPL.
- Copying - You are allowed to copy the binaries and source code, but when you do so, the copies will fall under the GPL or LGPL.
Commercial Use for Everyone Else
If your application is not licensed under GPL and you intend to distribute the Software (be that internally or externally), you must first obtain a commercial license to the Software in question.
- If you want to use the Software on an operating system which is not compatible with GPL (most commercial RTOSes, such as VxWorks and ThreadX), you need a commercial license for the software.
- If you link the Software in your non-GPL application, you may need a commercial license for the software:
- If you use MiniGUI. Or,
- If you use hiWebKit on an embedded system or a smart device which can not give the end user the freedom to debug and modify hiWebKit.
- If you use the Software within your organization and you don't want to risk it falling under the GPL/LGPL license, you are welcome to purchase a commercial license.
- Many users opt for the commercial license simply because under it FMSoft takes responsibility for its products. Under the GPL/LGPL license, there are no warranties or representations from the developer (i.e. from FMSoft).
The Software uses some patents owned by FMSoft. When you use the Software under GPLv3/LGPLv3, the license text has granted you a non-exclusieve, worldwide, and royalty-free patent license. Once you use the commercial license instead, the commercial license will include the terms for the patents owned by the FMSoft.
Exceptions and Free Commercial Licenses
If you represent a non-profit organization or an academic institution, we recommend you to put your own application under GPL. Thereby you are free to use the Software free of charge under the GPLv3/LGPLv3 license. (We also believe that if you have strong reasons not to go GPLv3/LGPLv3, you also have the monetary means to purchase commercial licenses.)
If you are a private individual, you are free to use the Software for your personal applications, as long as you do not distribute them.
Please note that even if you ship a free demo version of your own application, the above rules apply.
Finally, What Is the Recommendation
To all commercial organizations, we do recommend the commercial license. Not only does this free you from the far-reaching requirements of the GPLv3/LGPLv3 license, it also gives you a license letter from FMSoft where we assume responsibility for our product. The GPLv3/LGPLv3 license is an "as is" license with no warranties whatsoever.
To all GPL/Open Source enthusiasts we do recommend our products under the GPL/LGPL license. We believe that FMSoft is the world's one of the most important company that offers all its software under the GPL/LGPL license. So help yourself to the Software and feel the freedom of free software!
To anyone in doubt, we recommend the commercial license. It is never wrong. Thanks to our cost-effective way of producing software, we are able to sell our commercial licenses at prices well under the industry average, and this is without compromising our own profitability.