Micrium's µC/ Software Moves to Open-Source Licensing


To keep pace with the changing needs of embedded developers, RTOSes must evolve.  The µC/ family of RTOS components has become a top choice of developers in the embedded space in part because of its reliability and the remarkable consistency of its API from year to year, but this does not mean that it lacks flexibility.  Since the introduction of the original µC/OS in 1992, the µC/ software has evolved in a number of ways, often reflecting or anticipating changes to the broader ecosystems in which the software is used.

The latest step in the evolution of the µC/ software family represents not a technical improvement but a licensing change.  Over the following weeks, the µC/ components will be transitioning to a permissive, open-source license model.  Under this new model, developers seeking to use the components for commercial purposes will no longer need to purchase a license—the software will be available at no cost.

This change is a substantial one, and it is being made after careful consideration of the current embedded RTOS environment.  For many years now, attitudes toward licensing embedded software have been in flux, with a preference for open-source licenses emerging. By adopting permissive license terms for the µC/ components, Silicon Labs is aiming to bring the software’s benefits within reach of the widest user base possible and to afford the embedded community a role in future development efforts.

A guiding principle in making the change to open-source has been to minimize the implications for developers who have previously purchased a license to use the µC/ software.  For most licensees, there shouldn’t be any immediate action required.  Silicon Labs will continue providing technical support for all license holders who also have valid maintenance agreements.  Meanwhile, work is underway to ensure that partner companies will be able to offer comparable agreements in the near future.

The new, open-source license model has not yet gone into effect, so if you are currently considering a license or maintenance renewal for any of the µC/ software components (µC/OS-II, µC/OS-III, µC/FS, µC/TCP-IP, µC/USB-Device, µC/USB-Host, µC/CAN, and µC/Modbus), you have a couple of options:

  1. You can submit a PO for the µC/ part numbers until Feb. 7. Any purchases made during this period will include technical support until the end of 2020.
  2. The new licensing terms for the µC/ components will go into effect at the end of February. Once the terms are in place, you will be able to obtain the software at no cost for commercial use (without technical support from Silicon Labs).

If you have questions about how the change to open-source licensing will affect you, please feel free to contact the Micrium sales team.  Members of the team would be glad to discuss the future of the µC/ software with you in more detail.

Micrium Sales
Phone: +1 954 217 2036
e-mail: info@micrium.com