Minoca OS is now Open Source

Magic Sam

Forever Homebrew
Aug 10, 2007
Yuzu onsen
Hi all :)

Minoca OS is now open source !


A new operating system for the world of connected devices.
Minoca OS is an open-source, general purpose operating system designed specifically for feature-rich embedded devices. It's got all the high-level functionality that you've come to expect from an operating system, but offers it in a fraction of the memory footprint.

There are platform images ready for a number of different hardware, including one for the BeagleBone Black (similar to the Pandora AFAIK).

Source code is available on Github here.

Cheers, Magic Sam
Hi @levi :)

If I understand correctly, the situation is similar to our "dear" Inferno OS: companies who don't want their modifications to be open source can buy the software under a different, proprietary license. But I don't see why users of the GPL'ed version would be denied the right to submit GPL'ed patches to Github...

I'm not a lawyer, and even though I'm a member of the FSF, those little licensing details are still way above my head :p

Cheers, Magic Sam
probably have to sign a contract that your contributions can/will be dual licensed?
Yeah, that would be a solution. I've not heard of companies who've open sourced stuff but still want to be able to relicense it doing that successfully, but maybe I'm misinformed.

Actually, I suspect that's why most open sourced stuff uses an esoteric license, in that they can write a license that allows it to be kinda open but still saleable as closed source if they want. Though I guess buying such an offering would be kinda pointless if you could get all the code for free, and be paying over the odds for support. I guess want would be most saleable would be a private branch that pulled fixes and new open source features from the public branch, but adds privately developed saleable features. But if knowledge of that private branch became publicly known, then it might kill community goodwill, which would mean very careful PR work ahead.
Proprietary and non-GPL source licenses are available, keeping options open for your customers and end users.
This is plain nonsense.
Using a license with strong copyleft if you also intend to distribute the same code under proprietary licenses makes no sense. They should have just used a license without copyleft, such as the BSDL.

The only reason I can see why they would want it the way they did is to have control over who can create proprietary software based on their code. But this won't work. Company A can just get a proprietary license the way the project intends to, and company B will use A's product to do whatever they want. What A gives to B is theoretically still controllable by the Minoca project via contracts with A, but if B does something nasty, Minoca will not know whether to sue A for breaking the contract or to sue B for GPL violations.
The only reason I can see why they would want it the way they did is to have control over who can create proprietary software based on their code.
It's all about making money with those who want to use it but refuse to make their product open source as well - dual licensing is a popular thing that worked out rather well in the past, id Software already made a lot of money this way. Trolltech did the same with Qt.
It's still an abuse of the spirit of FLOSS and the idea of copyleft.
I can't say anything about id, but Trolltech only reluctantly put Qt under GPL after Debian first threatened to, then removed KDE from their repos due to licensing incompatibilities between QPL and GPL (hence, no binaries could be distributed). So I wouldn't call this a good example. Trolltech never really embraced the GPL.
Trolltech never really embraced the GPL.
And id Software did? It's kind of a moot point to question the intentions of using any free license while making money with the code itself is still on the table.

If there's money to be made, it's either dual licensing or offering services around the product. Depending on the product one can't always choose between those, developers need to be paid after all.
Hi all :)

Some "interesting" bits from their Github repository:
This software is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3). Minoca offers alternative licensing choices for sale. Contact info@minocacorp.com if you or your company are interested in licensing this software under alternate terms.

And @levi , it seems you were right about contributions from Github users :(
Contributor Agreement
We at Minoca are trying to make open source work as a business model. One of the ways we're doing that is by offering Minoca OS source for sale under more proprietary licensing terms. To do this Minoca needs to own the copyright to its source. In order to support this business model while also allowing community contributions, we ask that contributors sign a Contributor Assignment Agreement. We're using Harmony Agreements. Before submitting patches, please fill out the CAA for individuals or companies.

EDIT: looks like they have the right to do so:


Cheers, Magic Sam
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IMO it's not a big deal. Don't like that model? Don't contribute!

People are contributing to permissively licensed projects all the time. It's only different from these for people planning to redistribute their own closed 'derived work'. They have to get a separate license under this model.