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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

The GX Linux Scam

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We recently purchased a CSB535 Development board from Cogent. Its a low cost ARM 9 based development platform which can be used for rapid prototyping. It came along with a Embedded ARM distribution called GX-Linux supplied by Microcross which included a package for Windows and Linux hosts. The solution looked pretty promising on the face of it but we were in for a big surprise.

The problem was the Build environment. The build environment on Windows, which was based on Cygwin was severely restricted. And on Linux, the crucial files were missing. It was basically an incomplete package. After a few mails I discovered that that Microcross sells several flavors of their software. The basic one which is provided free as is and comes with the board. The premium one's have the complete build environment and it costs around $2000 including support.

Which begs the question: isn't withholding the sources a violation of GPL in the first place? My question to the support was left unanswered. To add to my suspicions, there was not much information available on the web about GX-Linux. From whatever I could fathom, it seems that, GX-Linux is a private build controlled by a company whose business model is to profit from the work done by the free software community.

This is one business model that I dont recommend. Its a shame!

posted by Rajiv, 3:53 PM


I cudn't realy get this. I know MontaVista has a linux flavour. Do u mean that they have to open their sources for public? If they have to do, shud this be not for a price?
Said Anonymous ranjhith, 8:55 PM  

depends upon the license. in GPL and LGPL, if you modify the orignial source, you have to distribute the modified sources with your product. and in embedded systems, the build environment and the kernel are closely linked. since they use modified kernels, they should be distributing the build environment sources as well.
Said Blogger Rajiv, 4:14 AM  


I also fell into their trap. I exactly know about the license details. But the kernel version they provided is old. I wanted the latest kernel on my board.. and lo.. I cant build the kernel.. $2000 is a pretty hefty cost. Any idea as to how to reslove this?? (Other than buying the Prof. platform.. ofcourse.. ;))
Said Blogger Midhun, 6:32 AM  

I am sorry.. I meant I exactly do not know the license details..
Said Blogger Midhun, 6:34 AM  

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