Our Licensing Model

We use the increasingly popular dual licensing model, in which both the open source and the traditional closed source software distribution models are combined.

The licensing information provided in this section pertains to our embedded software, such as the QP™ Real-Time Embedded Frameworks. The non-embedded, host-based software, such as the QM™ modeling tool, is offered under a simple click-through EULA license.
If your company has a policy forbidding open source in your product, all QP™ frameworks can be licensed commercially, in which case you don't use any open source license and you do not violate your policy.

Open Source

If you are developing and distributing open source applications under the GNU General Public License (GPL), as published by the Free Software Foundation, then you are free to use all our QP™ Real-Time Embedded Frameworks under the GPL version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. Please note that GPL requires that all modifications to the original code as well as your application code (Derivative Works as defined in the Copyright Law) must also be released under the terms of the GPL open source license.

Closed Source

If you are developing and distributing traditional closed source applications, you can purchase one of Quantum Leaps commercial licenses, which are specifically designed for users interested in retaining the proprietary status of their code. All Quantum Leaps commercial licenses expressly supersede the GPL open source license. This means that when you license our QP™ Real-Time Embedded Frameworks under a commercial license, you specifically do not use the software under the open source license and therefore you are not subject to any of its terms. Commercial licensing options are described below.

Frequently Asked Questions about Licensing

Absolutely, as long as your software is 100-percent GPL-compliant open source, Quantum Leaps is 100-percent GPL-compliant open source vendor that is indistinguishable from any other "pure" open source providers.

The commercial side of our business is a way of attracting new customers by offering them a choice to extend the use of our software beyond the limits of the GPL. Commercial licensing options reach out to customers that otherwise would not be able to use the QP™ frameworks at all.

The increasingly popular, strictly quality-controlled, dual-licensing business model combines the best of the open source and proprietary software worlds to make open source a safe choice for the embedded systems vendors. This includes the accountability for the licensed software, professional documentation and technical support expected of a traditional software vendor as well as transparent development, availability of source code and active community inherent in open source projects.

Other major benefits inclde sustainability, openess and fairness. The main guiding principle here is one of fair exchange or quid pro quo which means "something for something". If you choose the open-source model, you contribute your source code, which promotes the original software and provides valuable examples of its use. If you choose the commercial model, you contibute license fees, which keep Quantum Leaps in business and enable continuing innovation, improvement and refinement of the software.

Finally, studies show that using the single-vendor commercial open source business model, firms can get to market faster with a superior product at lower cost than possible for traditional competitors.

Absolutely. You can apply for a traditional, closed-source commercial license. All Quantum Leaps commercial licenses expressly supersede the open source GPL license. When you are using the software under a commercial license, your use has nothing to do with open source and you don't violate your no-open-source policy.

The legal requirement for dual licensing is the ownership of the copyrights to the licensed software. According to the copyright law, the owner of the copyright can license his or her intellectual property any number of times. Distributors of proprietary software do that all the time when they grant discounts to favored customers, issue blanket licenses for unlimited copies to large corporations, and apply shrink-wrap licenses to copies sold in stores [Rosen 04].

From the legal standpoint, GPL is no different from any other license and does not preclude other distribution strategies. The authors of the GPL recognize that fact through the following sentence in Section 7: "...it is up to the author/donor to decide if he or she is willing to distribute software through any other system..."

Yes, the dual licensing business model is becoming increasingly popular among open source companies as it paves the way for long-term financial viability. Other companies that offer dual licensing include MySQL, SugarCRM, Jaspersoft, and Alfresco. According to a recent Gartner report, by 2012 more than 50% of all revenue generated from open source software projects will come from projects under a single vendor's patronage, that is, from single-vendor open source.

Indeed, past accepted use demonstrates that in the case of Linux™, any application that runs in the User Space is not ordinarily considered a GPL derivative, (provided it uses standard system calls). However, statically linked binaries that run in the Kernel Space are presumed to be Linux™ derivatives. Moreover, binary-only distributions running in either the User Space or the Kernel Space could still be considered GPL derived works. (See the online article "Linux GPL Derivatives in a Nutshell")

In contrast to Linux™, applications based on the QP™ Real-Time Embedded Frameworks are always statically linked with QP™, as a library or just compiled object files. Therefore, QP™ itself must be considered an inseparable "part of a whole". GPL Section 2 clearly prescribes that in this case "the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this [GPL] License".

GPL instructs the licensees to contact the owner of the copyright to the software for guidance regarding the distribution of their programs that depend on the original code.

Our guidelines for distributing any third-party software dependent on QP™ frameworks are that all such third-party software must also be distributed under the terms of the GPL.

Such a policy is the cornerstone of the quid pro quo ("something for something") guiding principle behind the dual-licensing business model practiced by Quantum Leaps and most other second-generation open source companies. The policy ensures that the users of the software must either contribute application code to the community (GPL licensees), or contribute licensing revenue to the original software vendor by purchasing commercial licenses (commercial licensees).

Please note that Quantum Leaps has no rights, and does not claim any rights, to the application software developed by third parties, regardless if QP™ frameworks used in these applications is licensed under the GPL or commercial licenses.

Yes, you can use the GPL version for evaluation as long as you don't distribute Quantum Leaps software or any derivative works based upon it. In this respect, evaluating dual-licensed software delivers a large advantage over highly supervised trial licensing practices still so common in the embedded systems marketplace.

Obviously, when you decide to distribute any portion of our software or any derivative works based on it, you go beyond the GPL limits and therefore you should purchase one of our commercial licenses.

Yes. All Quantum Leaps products are identical under either the GPL license or the commercial licenses. This is the only way compatible with the open source mission, as described by Richard Stallman in his article On Selling Exceptions to the GNU GPL. Specifically to this question, Richard Stallman explains:

We must distinguish the practice of selling exceptions from something crucially different: proprietary extensions or proprietary versions of a free program. These two activities, even if practiced simultaneously by one company, are different issues. In selling exceptions, the same code that the exception applies to is available to the general public as free software. An extension or a modified version that is only available under a proprietary license is proprietary software, pure and simple, and no better than any other proprietary software.

At Quantum Leaps we are as open with pricing as we are open with respect to our source code and we believe that everyone is entitled to the best price we can offer. Our prices are open and transparent, published right on this web-page.

Even though QP™ frameworks are open source, no third-party contributions are accepted into the QP source code. This is necessary to maintain the ownership of the code and to be able to offer the "warranty of provenance" to the commercial customers, which is central for practicing the dual-licensing business model. The open source community contributes by performing "massive parallel testing" and then reporting bugs, usability issues, new insights, and feature requests. Please see the Free Support Forum, QP/QM bug Tracker, and QP/QM Feature Requests.

The simple answer is no. Even if circumstances beyond our control prevent Quantum Leaps from producing new open source editions of our software, any versions released under the GPL belong forever to the open source community.

The Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) of all QP framework types (QP/C and QP/C++) is EAR99. In other words, these products are not listed on the Commerce Control List (CCL).

Commercial Licenses

Quantum Leaps commercial licenses are designed for users, who cannot open their application code and therefore cannot use Quantum Leaps software under the terms of the GPL. We offer the following commercial license types:

Single Product License allows you to embed a given type of the QP™ Real-Time Embedded Framework into one end-product which can be manufactured in any quantity, for the life of the end-product. In other words, this is a royalty-free license but a different license is required for each different end product (i.e. model) even if the end product is in the same family as a previously licensed end product. This license is specific to the name and model of the end product. The general rule we apply is:

If you consider it a separate product...so do we!

Examples of Single Products include any single model of an HDTV, DVD player, network switch, washing machine, thermostat, patient monitor, etc. Volume discounts are offered if Several Single Product Licenses are acquired with one license contract (see Quantum Leaps Price List).

Product Line License allows you to embed a given type of the QP™ Real-Time Embedded Framework into any number of end-products within a family of related products. You can manufacture an unlimited number of units of each of those products, for the life of the end-products within the product family. In other words, this is a royalty-free license applicable to all end-products that do similar functions within the same product family. Examples of Product Lines are: HDTVs, VCRs, DVD Players, MP3 Players, Washing Machines, GSM Cell Phones, Pacemakers, etc.

Any-Product License allows you to embed a given type of the QP™ framework into any end-product of your company. You can manufacture and sell an unlimited number of the products containing the licensed QP framework type. In other words, this is a royalty-free license applicable to all end-products of a given company.

Site-License allows you to embed a given type of the QP™ Real-Time Embedded Framework into any end-customer product, as long as the products are designed at a given physical location (site), which must be defined in the license. This license gives you also limited sublicensing rights for your clients and is specifically designed for development contractors and consultants, who develop embedded software for other companies.

OEM License allows you to embed a given type of the QP™ Real-Time Embedded Framework in any product of your company (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and gives limited sublicensing rights to system integrators, subsystem vendors, and subcontractors. OEM licenses are customizable to match exactly the specific licensing needs of a given customer.

Education License allows you to use and embed a given type of the QP™ Real-Time Embedded Framework in any project completed at a given educational institution. The Education Licenses are free and will be granted liberally upon request.

Common for All Commercial Licenses

All our commercial licenses are perpetual for the life of the customer's product, are royalty free (you can build unlimited quantities of your product) and include one year of support term.

Commercial Technical Support

Every commercial license includes one year of technical support, which can be extended annually. The scope of the technical support includes:

  • Assistance with QP installation, usage and functionality
  • Unlimited e-mail support and resolution of any problems found in QP
  • Upgrading the licensed software to newer versions of that software
  • Upgrading the license for the difference in the license fees
  • E-mail notification of new releases, if elected by the Licensee

Business Model: To minimize our support load and expenses, we are highly motivated to keep our software free of bugs, easy to use, and clearly documented with easy to follow examples. This is in contrast to many first-generation open-source vendors, where such strategy would actually lower their revenue and profit from support contracts.

In case the Support Term is discontinued for any reason, the Support Term can be renewed only by back paying the Support Term fees for all skipped years.

Software Upgrades

During the Support Term the Licensee can upgrade the licensed software to any newer version that Quantum Leaps might release before the end of the Support Term.

License Upgrades

Also, as long as the Licensee maintains the active Support Term, the Licensee can upgrade the license to any broader license for the same QP framework type (e.g., Single Product license for QP/C to Product Line license for QP/C) for just the price difference between the two license types. In other words, during the active Support Term Licensee is entitled to a price discount equal to the total license fee of the narrower QP license for the same QP framework type. This discount offer pertains only to the regular ("Big Business") licenses and expires at the expiration of the Support Term.

License Price List

Quantum Leaps reserves the right to change the prices at any time and without notice. Please submit a no-obligation License Request form to receive a binding price quote. All prices are in U.S. dollars (USD).
Single Product License Product Line License Any-Product License /
OEM License
 QP/C $ 1,495 2,3 $ 2,995 3 $ 8,980 2 $17,970 $11,980 2 $23,950 ask for pricing
 QP/C++ $ 1,995 2,3 $ 3,995 3 $11,980 2 $23,970 $15,980 2 $31,950 ask for pricing
1 Small Business means a business that is privately owned and operated, with the total annual revenue not exceeding $10 million US dollars
2 Small Business licenses are not eligible for the License Upgrade discount
3 See volume discounts for multiple Single Product Licenses purchased with one License Agreement

Volume Discounts for Single Product Licenses

The following volume discounts will apply when multiple Single Products are licensed with a single license agreement and on the same effective date.

Number of Single Products 1 2 3 4 5 or more
  Volume Discount 0% 5% 10% 15% 20%
Example: Three (3) Single Product Licenses for QP/C. License fee before the volume discount: 3*$2,995 = $8,985. Volume discount for 3 Single Product Licenses = 10% * $8,985 = $898. Total price after the volume discount = $8,985 - $898 = $8,087.

Commercial Support and Upgrade Term Extensions

Support Type First Year Subsequent Year
Unlimited e-mail support, free software upgrades and a license upgrade 2 option Included in the License Fee $500 + 10%
of the total License Fee
2 Small Business licenses are not eligible for the License Upgrade offer

License Request Form

The following form is just a request for information and does not represent any obligation to purchase a license. The information you provide will be handled with confidentiality. Required fields are marked with boldface.

Your Contact Information
Your Company Information
annual revenue below $10 million USD
Which License You Need (check all that apply)
Which QP Framework Type You Need (check all that apply)
Additional Information

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License Purchasing Procedure

The steps for obtaining a Quantum Leaps commercial license are as follows:

  1. Customer fills out and submits the License Request Form.
  2. For one of our standard licenses, Quantum Leaps will reply via e-mail with the attached License Agreement to be filled out and signed by the Licensee.
  3. For a Custom License, Quantum Leaps negotiates a custom-tailored License Agreement and pricing.
  4. The Customer sends filled out and signed License Agreement to Quantum Leaps electronically (by e-mail), by fax, or via regular mail. Along with the signed license, the Customer may also provide a Purchase Order (PO) for license fee.
  5. After receiving the signed license agreement, Quantum Leaps counter-signs the agreement, assigns a unique License Number, and sends the fully-exercised license agreement in PDF back to the Customer via e-mail, and (upon request) via regular mail. At this time also, Quantum Leaps issues an invoice to the Customer for the license fee.
  6. Upon receiving the payment from the Customer, Quantum Leaps generates the QM License Certificate file and sends it via e-mail to the Customer.