I have some VHDL design that I plan to release as open source.

I like MIT License for its simplicity and would like to use it for my code. However, I am not sure if it is OK to use it with hardware design, as it says "software" pretty much in every sentence.

Are there any particular things I should consider when releasing VHDL under MIT license? And can I do it at all?

1 Answer 1


VHDL is in a grey area between software and hardware. Some people classify it as hardware, because ultimately the VHDL design gets translated into an actual IC and it doesn't get executed on a microprocessor. Others classify it as software, because a single FPGA can be given different behaviour by programming it with different VHDL designs.

For licensing your VHDL design, this difference isn't really relevant.
The relevant commonality between "pure" software source and a VHDL design is that both are textual files specifying the behaviour of a system and both have to be processed by some tooling to realize the described behaviour.
This makes VHDL to be close enough to be covered by the term "Software" as it is used by the MIT license. Thus you can use the MIT license without further consideration for your VHDL designs.

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