The system software of the Simputer, since it is Linux based is under GPL. We have been working on a license similar to the GPL, but applicable to hardware. We realised, after considerable discussions, that hardware has significant differences that precludes the possibility of using a simple extension of the software GPL. We now have the first draft of the Simputer General Public License (SGPL) that we believe to be a practicable license which at the same time facilitates the rapid spread of Simputers.
The SGPL has been reviewed further and the new version is now ready. The Simputer General Public License
The hardware specifications of the Simputer can be downloaded only under SGPL. The SGPL permits anyone to build devices out of the downloaded specification. However, once a product is ready for commercialisation, one of two possible licenses need to be obtained from the Simputer Trust. These are
The Simputer manufacturing License referes to a Core Simputer Specification, a functional description of the Simputer to be specified by the Simputer Trust and which evolves with the development of the Simputer. The first version of the Core Simputer Specification will be posted here soon.
We invite your comments on the SGPL. The license, clearly modeled after GPL, and the two manufacturing licenses were drafted by Rahul Matthan, the legal counsel of the Simputer Trust. For a non-legalese presentation by our counsel of these licenses, see the SGPL presentation.
Highlights of SGPL
Here is a quick highlight of SGPL written by one of the trustees (V Vinay): this is only a summary and could be innacurate at some places:
While the SGPL is inspired by GNU GPL, it does not in any way imply endorsement by the Free Software Foundation. For more on this, follow this link.