Question on Licensing


I sent this through email, but I figured I may get a faster response through the forums

I am an employee of Memorial University of Newfoundland, and I have been working on using your 3pi robot in the labs for the introductory programming course that first year engineering students must take. We would like to use the libraries available on your site to create these labs. However, yesterday I discovered a review that speaks of the CC license on the libraries:

"It was during this process, however, that I found the one major complaint I have with the 3pi. The software library that Pololu provides claims to be licensed under the Creative Commons Share-Alike license version 3.0. Unfortunately, Creative Commons licenses should never be used for software for a variety of reasons including issues related to distinguishing source code from object code. But more importantly, the CC license is incompatible with the GNU GPL license used on most FLOSS software. The intent of the CC-SA license is to take the terms of the GNU GPL software license and apply them to non-software works such as music, art, and photography. Both the Creative Commons FAQ and the Free Software Foundation license guide warn that CC licenses should not be used for software.

So what does this actually mean for the typical user? As long as you’re writing software only for your own use and not sharing it with others or selling it commercially, you should be fine. If you do intend to share or sell the software you write, your best bet is to avoid using the Pololu AVR library altogether, or contact Pololu about getting a compatible license for your application. I’ve spoken with Pololu about this and they are aware of the issue so there’s a chance they may relicense the library under a Free Software license such as the GNU GPL or some other compatible software license such as the BSD license. "

The review is located here:

My question is has this changed? We would like to integrate this robot into the programming course, but we do not want to run into any legal trouble.


We now use an MIT License for the Pololu AVR Library and other open-source software released for our products. You can see the terms in LICENSE.txt within the GitHub Repository.

Our goal is to make it easy for customers to use our software, while maintaining some control. We switched to the MIT License partially in response to that review (unlike CC, this one is actually designed for software). However, people who want to use our code in a commercial application should probably contact us anyway, to make sure that what they are doing is reasonable.

There should be no problems using the Pololu AVR Library for a class, but if you have any specific concerns, please send us an email.


1 Like