# Schneider's interest in Control.com / LinuxPLC, was COMM Remote digital I/O over Ethernet

M

#### Mark Wells

Curt,

While you may agree with the advice, it isn't exactly objective. Schneider owns 19% of control.com, so has a financial interest in seeing
the success of the LinuxPLC.

From the Modicon website::

"... Control.com is driving the creation of an open source PLC to run under the Linux operating system, while Schneider Electric's Transparent
Factory open automation architecture delivers a suite of web enabled products that simplifies enterprise-wide information sharing."

The complete release is at
http://public.modicon.com/Public/HomeStories.nsf/ALLSTORIES/6E8C7E785E611=0D685256943006CA340

Kind of makes you wonder who will profit from all of those volunteer hours for the LinuxPLC project...

Sincerely,

Mark Wells
President
Runfactory Systems Inc.
http://www.runfactory.com1235 Bay Street, Suite 400
Cell Ph. 416-984-0774
Fax. 416-352-5206

----- Original Message -----
From: "Curt Wuollet" <[email protected]>

> Hi Paul and all.
>
> I first wanted to remark that this is probably the most objective
> advice I've ever seen from someone with a "big automation" tag.
> Ethernet IO is a passion of mine as I see it as mission critical for
> the LPLC and hold out great hope that it can retain the good parts of
> ethernet without reverting to the failed model of proprietary excess.
>
> List Manager wrote:
> > ------------Forwarded message-------------
> > From: Paul Horvath <[email protected]>
> >
> > You may want to consider NOT writing a C/C++ app. If your objective
> > is to use remote I/O over ethernet and you have a mixed point count
> > (using momentum with large point counts isn't cost effective, WAGO
> > 750 series slice I/O is better) definitely go with a Modbus/TCP
> > compatible system.
> ....<clip>

C

#### Chiron Consulting

Mark Wells wrote:
> Schneider owns 19% of control.com, so has a financial interest in seeing
> the success of the LinuxPLC.

[snip]

> Kind of makes you wonder who will profit from all of those volunteer
> hours for the LinuxPLC project...

Answer: anybody who successfully uses the LinuxPLC on a project without having to buy a commercial product.

Answer: anybody who buys an application of the LinuxPLC (say, from Control.com) and pays less for it than for an equally capable system that
cost the vendor significantly more to develop.

Answer: anybody whose contribution to the LinuxPLC project increases their professional standing and contributes, directly or indirectly, to improving their livelihood.

Answer: anybody whose contribution to or use of the LinuxPLC improves their understanding of the nature and use of PLC technology.

Why do I develop, use and advocate Open Source software? For the money.

Greg Goodman
Chiron Consulting

C

#### Curt Wuollet

Hi Mark

It's interesting that the link you sent now gives only an error. Perhaps that wasn't for public consumption. You needn't worry though, The GPL
should prevent direct exploitation of the work of our volunteers and other contributors. Zealous radical that I am, (or at least I'm made out to be ) I have no problem if people profit from opening up the industry. The message I'm
trying to communicate is that everyone will profit from tearing down the Tower of Babel and the artificial barriers they have foolishly
erected. They are only hurting themselves by refusing to standardize and interoperate. When the first major vendor makes moves to truly open up it's "game over" for that whole failed model and on to a volume industry akin to the revolutionary effect that ubiquitous standardized networking and the Internet have had on general computing. The work we have done would be a tiny price for the benefit to the industry and the public interest. That's what it is about. It is not simply our project, we welcome all who want the OSS ideals of the project to succeed. That
certainly includes those who want to sell products for use with it and those who wish us to be able to interoperate with their products.
If Modicon has an interest, I wish they would get back to us on whether our OSS project can adopt Modbus/TCP as an Open Standard. As noted by
the success of the Wago/Beckhoff initiative, real openness sells. The time has come. Proprietary fieldbuss is a no show, Open fieldbuss is what the industry is patiently waiting for.

Regards

cww

J

#### Joe Jansen/ENGR/HQ/KEMET/US

>While you may agree with the advice, it isn't exactly objective.
>Schneider owns 19% of control.com, so has a financial interest in seeing
>the success of the LinuxPLC.

Explain the financial interest. I was not aware of any licensing agreements Curt and the others might have made that would give control.com
ANY financial benefit fron the LPLC.

>From the Modicon website::
>
>"... Control.com is driving the creation of an open source PLC to run
>under the Linux operating system, while Schneider Electric's Transparent
>Factory open automation architecture delivers a suite of web enabled
>products that simplifies enterprise-wide information sharing."

And these are related........how? TF is an architecture for communication. TF claims to use open protocols to drive it's technology, including TCP/IP, etc. And Modbus, which everyone knows is the "common denominator" for many different systems. Obviously the LPLC would benefit if TF were implemented in some non-MS way, but I didn' t see anything in the website about that. Personally, TF seems a lot of hype, and will probably end up as another proprietary set of protocols. Watch for the patents to start flying and the infringment suits to follow if anyone tries to use this without paying a fee. TF may very well end up being what the LPLC is fighting against.

>The complete release is at
>http://public.modicon.com/Public/HomeStories.nsf/ALLSTORIES/6E8C7E785E611=
>0D685256943006CA340

The link doesn't work. Obviously there is a word wrap problem, but you also need to remove the = sign at the end of the first line.....

>Kind of makes you wonder who will profit from all of those volunteer
>hours for the LinuxPLC project...

No, doesn't make me wonder at all. Everyone who is sick of watching their apps blue screen, sick of paying the Rockwell Software tax for "support
contracts". Tired of having to buy new versions of RS software because they change the file format, AGAIN. Sick of not being able to do alot of the communication that should be stupid-simple, but isn't because the automation vendors deliberately cripple their equipment to keep me from my data.

I ask you: How is Schnieder going to make \$ off of the LPLC? I would like you to explain this to me, as I just don't see it... If LPLC embeds the TF stuff into it, it might be good for publicity, but since it is all being released as GPL code, there is about 0 chance that Schneider would release it. Explain the revenue stream to me please....

>Sincerely,
>
>Mark Wells
>President
>Runfactory Systems Inc.
>http://www.runfactory.com
>1235 Bay Street, Suite 400
>Cell Ph. 416-984-0774
>Fax. 416-352-5206

I also looked at your website. Perhaps you are afraid that if this power is given to the end users, and they are able to easily get their data, they won't need you? If you are willing to assume that everything that comes out of the mouth of a Schnieder employee is skewed, should we do the same for you? I mean really, are you going to advocate the opposite of what Mr.
Horvath suggests? Write a custom C application to do what is available commercially? Or is that your revenue stream?

--Joe Jansen

M

#### Mark Wells

Curt,

http://public.modicon.com/Public/HomeStories.nsf/ALLSTORIES/6E8C7E785E6110D685256943006CA340

If this gets scrambled in the a-list distribution, enter "19% stake Control.com schneider" (without the quotation marks) in google.com and it should be the first entry found. This was published in many publications
including Control Engineering
(http://www.controleng.com/archives/news/2000/august/lz0810a.htm). Again, if this gets scrambled in the a-list distribution, just search for "19%
stake Control.com schneider" (without the quotation marks) on google.com and it will be the second listing. I guess I just assumed that everybody who particpated on the a-list knew about this since the news is about a year old.

I'm not sure how the GPL applies. I believe that the intention of the Linux PLC was to have open source, but I can't find any reference to GPL on the puffinplc.org site other than Mark Hutton's Java PLC project description
(http://www.puffinplc.org/markh/jplc.htm) which states that the "current intention" is to have Open Source - GPL. On the other hand, the legal
notices on control.com
(http://www.control.com/control_com/contained_pages/legal_html) are quite explicit:

"If you post or transmit comments, questions or other content on the site or if you participate in discussion groups on the site, you grant Control.com and its affiliates a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, and display such
comments, questions and other content throughout the world in any media. You also grant Control.com and its affiliates and sublicensees the right to use the name that you submit with any comment, question or other content, if any, in connection with such comment, question or other content. "

"All content included on this site, such as text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, audio clips, and software, is the property of Control.com or its content suppliers and is protected by U.S. and international copyright
laws. The compilation (meaning the collection, arrangement, and assembly) of all content on this site is the exclusive property of Control.com and is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. All software used on this site is the property of Control.com or its software suppliers and is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws."

"This site, its content or any portion of this site or its content may not be reproduced, retransmitted, duplicated, copied, distributed, disseminated, sold, resold, or otherwise exploited for any commercial purpose that is not
expressly permitted by Control.com."

So what are the rules with puffinplc.org? There doesn't seem to be a written "legal notice" section on the website, but a WHOIS on puffinplc.org reveals the following:

Registrant:
Control.com Inc. (PUFFINPLC-DOM)
25 South Street
Hopkinton, MA 01748
US

Domain Name: PUFFINPLC.ORG

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Billing Contact:
Crater, Ken (KC103) [email protected]
Control Technology Corporation
25 South Street
Hopkinton, MA 01748
508) 435-9595

Record last updated on 14-Jun-2000.
Record expires on 10-Jan-2002.
Record created on 10-Jan-2000.
Database last updated on 14-Jun-2001 02:34:00 EDT.

Domain servers in listed order:

CTHULHU.CONTROL.COM 12.40.53.1
STAR.CONTROL.COM 12.40.53.100

I wish you and others well on your quest and have personally gone out of my way to publicize your efforts (See
http://www.ics.org/magazine/icsinsider.pdf and
http://www.automationmag.com/curr/article1.phtml?id=291 ) , but I'm obviously a little confused about who's going to own the intellectual
property you create. I think it would probably be best to get this in writing, if you haven't already. I also think that posting the intellectual property policy on the puffinplc.org website would also help encourage people to participate and may be the catalyst that the linuxplc project needs to get widespread participation.

Sincerely,

Mark Wells
President
Runfactory Systems Inc.
http://www.runfactory.com1235 Bay Street, Suite 400
Cell Ph. 416-984-0774
Fax. 416-352-5206

M

#### Mark Wells

Joe,

I'm guilty on the F.U.D. count, at least the uncertainty part. I made a response to Curt on the list outlining my licensing concerns. With regards to my "fear" of giving this power to end users, I can understand your assumption that I am against the LinuxPLC. On the contrary, I am in favour of it and have had articles published promoting Curt and Ken Crater's efforts.

My question (uncertainty) was with respect to the ownership of the resultant intellectual property. My response to Curt outlines these concerns.

Sincerely,

Mark Wells
President
Runfactory Systems Inc.
http://www.runfactory.com1235 Bay Street, Suite 400
Cell Ph. 416-984-0774
Fax. 416-352-5206

J

#### Jiri Baum

Mark:
> I'm not sure how the GPL applies. I believe that the intention of the
> Linux PLC was to have open source,

Yes, the PuffinPLC is open source.

As one of the early contributors, I can claim this with authority: my initial uploads were covered by the GPL and most if not all of the current stuff qualifies as derivative work.

Jiri
--
Jiri Baum <>
"In my opinion, the GPL is optimized to build a strong software community
at the expense of a strong commercial software business model."
--Craig Mundie, Senior VP, Microsoft; 17 May 2001

K

#### Ken Crater

Hi all,
I can see it's time to clarify things a bit. First of all, far from trying to hide the fact that Schneider invested in Control.com, we actually put out a press release on the topic (which is why it is available to be cited in so
many locations). I'll note that they hold a minority interest, and that Schneider's influence has been to push us to be true to our mission of open control and open discussion.

Secondly, the legal notice on our Control.com website is what happens when you tell a corporate attorney (yes, we have one) that you want to be able to post people's comments on a website/archive/maillist without getting sued.

3. The ownership of the PuffinPLC project code is in the people who wrote it, period. I don't know of any theory of law that could be used to claim
otherwise. Because their intent is to GPL it, this means that the benefit will go to anyone who wishes to download (as Greg has already pointed out in some detail).

4. Yes, Control.com registered the PuffinPLC.org domain because someone had to do it, and we also are registering the Puffin trademark with the intent of contributing it to the project. This costs money, but without a registered trademark there is no way under law to uniquely and defensibly identify a software product and keep XYZ Controller Co. from coming out with their latest "PuffinWhatever" that is actually closed and proprietary. Unfortunately, you can't register anything under the name of "a bunch of
people out there on the net who came together to do this project". Much has been written elsewhere about the legal structure trying to come to terms with the open source world.

5. As far as commercial advantage is concerned, I hope that some day we can offer fee-based support for a highly successful PuffinPLC, along with many
other companies. Far from being exploitation, this form of support is *necessary* for any open source software product to be viable. RedHat,
SuSe, et al, have made it possible for companies like us to base economically-important servers on Linux, after all. So, yes, we hope to make a bunch of money off the project, but in a way that is harmonious with the project's goals. (Um, I think that was "World Domination", according to
Mario's recent article &lt;g>.)

Regards,
Ken Crater
Control.com Inc.
[email protected]

C

#### Curt Wuollet

Hi Mark

Not too much confusion, the only person who can confer rights to a copyrightable work is the author. Our authors, by agreement, GPL the code
in the source file. That's before it hits the cvs or any other site. From that point on it's free. This means that Ken etal. and you and everyone else have equal and carefully specified rights, The author can also license his work in other ways but the rights guaranteed under the GPL cannot be revoked. Since I have a copy of the CVS and it's all GPL'd code, no one can prevent me from freely distributing my copy as long as I comply with the GPL. The same holds for all the copies out there in the world. There is no
question who owns our code, everyone. And the GPL is carefully crafted to prevent the abuses and conspiracy you are wondering about. control.com can distribute it and Modicon can distribute it, even Bill Gates can distribute it. But, they can't prevent anyone else from distributing or using it.

That is precisely the reason I've insisted on the GPL from the start. No one can hijack the project for commercial purposes unless every author agrees
and then only going forward. The solutions you build on the LPLC are yours and you can GPL them or not as you wish. No one can force you to release them in any way you don't want to. IFF you include our code does yours fall under the GPL. We will structure things so that it is not included in user applications.

These are FUD issues that are being lied about by MS and its shills and minions. The ownership of GPL'd OSS projects is crystal clear. We have
public ownership. The intellectual property of LPLC users is unequivocably theirs. We wouldn't want it any other way. We're the good guys.

Regards

cww

J

#### Jiri Baum

Ken:
> Secondly, the legal notice on our Control.com website is what happens
> when you tell a corporate attorney (yes, we have one) that you want to be
> able to post people's comments on a website/archive/maillist without
> getting sued.

Hmm, maybe your attorney should read the GPL and modify the notice appropriately...

> 4. Yes, Control.com registered the PuffinPLC.org domain because someone
> had to do it, and we also are registering the Puffin trademark with the
> intent of contributing it to the project.

It'd be good to clarify this on the webpage...

> the project's goals. (Um, I think that was "World Domination", according
> to Mario's recent article <g>.)

(I think that particular line came from me... and I got it from the Linus jokes.)

Jiri
--
Jiri Baum <[email protected]>
"In my opinion, the GPL is optimized to build a strong software community
at the expense of a strong commercial software business model."
--Craig Mundie, Senior VP, Microsoft; 17 May 2001