Our Licensing Model

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

  The licensing information provided in this section pertains to our embedded code, such as the QP™ active object frameworks. The non-embedded 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™ 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™ 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.

Commercial Licensing

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 open source license. We offer the following commercial license types:

Single Product License

Single Product License allows you to embed a given type of the QP™ 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

Product Line License allows you to embed a given type of the QP™ 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

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.

OEM License

OEM License allows you to embed a given type of the QP™ 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.

Commercial Technical Support

Every commercial license includes one year of technical support, which can be 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.

The technical support service covers only QP versions that have been released within the past 4 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.

Evaluating the Software

The open character of the QP/C™, QP/C++™, and QP-nano™ frameworks allows anybody to evaluate the software under the GPL open-source license. In this respect, evaluating dual-licensed software delivers a large advantage over the highly supervised trial licensing practices still so common in the embedded system marketplace. However, when you are past the evaluation stage and start developing a commercial QP application you need to purchase one of the QP commercial licenses.

Acquiring a commercial license early in the development process not only protects your closed-source software, but also gives you the Commercial Technical Support when you most need it. On the other hand, any form of distribution of the QP™ software without providing the full source code of the whole application represents a violation of the GPL and is illegal.

When in Doubt...

If you are unsure about your use of our software, we recommend that you buy a royalty-free commercial license. That is the safest solution and is never wrong. Thanks to our cost-effective way of producing software, we are able to sell our commercial licenses at prices below the industry average.

The best way to submit a licensing question is by means of our no-obligation License Request Form. We encourage you to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions section or an IP lawyer as appropriate. We recommend the commercial licensing option to all private-sector and government organizations, because only commercial licensing frees you from the broad and strict requirements of the GPL license.

To all open source enthusiasts we recommend our products under the GPL license. We believe that Quantum Leaps open source contribution brings unique benefits to the embedded software community.

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
Product Line
Any Product
 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
 QP-nano $ 795 2,3 $ 1,495 3 $ 4,480 2 $ 8,970 $ 5,980 2 $11,950 ask for pricing
1 Small Business means a business that is privately owned and operated, with annual revenue not exceeding $1 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

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 $1,000 + 10%
of the total License Fee
2 Small Business licenses are not eligible for the License Upgrade offer

License Request

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.

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annual revenue below $1 million USD
What You Need

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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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Licensing

QP™ frameworks are licensed with the popular dual licensing strategy. Duality means here that both the open software distribution mechanism and traditional software product business are combined.

The licenses we use for the QP™ frameworks are: GNU General Public License version 3 (GPL) and a set of Quantum Leaps proprietary commercial licenses.

Dual licensing of the QP™ frameworks provides open access to our technology both for the GPL community and for other developers or companies that cannot use the GPL.

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..."

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.

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, Trolltech, Sleepycat, RealNetworks' Helix project, OpenOffice.org, Digium, OSAF, MandrakeSoft, Technical Pursuit Transvirtual Technologies, and others.

The overall guiding principle of dual licensing is one of fair exchange or quid pro quo which means "something for something". So if your software is 100 percent open source and GPL-compatible, we encourage you to use the GPL-version of Quantum Leaps software. For all other users, we recommend that you purchase one of our commercial licenses.

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™ 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. 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. The complete price list for our commercial licenses and support contracts is available from the "Commercial Licensing" section of this web site.

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.

Even though QP™ frameworks are open source, no third-party contributions are accepted into the QP source code. This is necessary to be sure about the provenance 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 the QP™ frameworks once released under the GPL, they belong forever to the open source community.

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