[cairo] Re: License for cairo changed to LGPL

James Henstridge james at jamesh.id.au
Thu Aug 5 21:46:26 PDT 2004

On 06/08/04 05:06, Bill Spitzak wrote:

>On Wednesday 04 August 2004 06:31 pm, James Henstridge wrote:
>>If the user makes a change to the library that breaks its ABI, then that
>>is the user's problem.  This is mentioned in section 6 (a):
>>    (It is understood that the user who changes the contents of
>>    definitions files in the Library will not necessarily be able to
>>    recompile the application to use the modified definitions.)
>>Or do you interpret this differently?
>No you are right, it sounds like they avoided this problem.
>I think the main objection to the LGPL is that it requires the library to be 
>a shared library. Technically this is bad as it tends to freeze the library 
>API, it also makes a new library unpopular as it has to be "installed" before 
>programs using it work, while static-linked libraries work instantly.
It doesn't require the code to be linked into the program as a shared 
library (in fact, the wording about shared libraries was only added in 
LGPL 2.1).  One of the other alternatives is to provide object files 
that the user can statically link with their modified version of the 

Rather than providing all the object files (which might give away 
information about the structure of the app), the app author is free to 
perform an incremental link to produce a single object file which the 
user can link with the library.  They might choose to do this anyway to 
simplify distribution.

>Certainly there is a lot of precedence for allowing static linking, as people 
>have found a dozen or so versions of these "exception clauses" so far.
Well, the LGPL does allow for static linking, although it requires that 
the app author provide the user a way to relink the app if they want.  
If providing the object file(s) with the executable isn't possible, they 
have the option of providing a written offer for the same as listed in 
section 6(b).

If the embedded product comes with a CD-ROM (eg. containing 
documentation or other material), it shouldn't be much of a burden to 
include a copy of the Cairo source and the appropriate object files, 
which would satisfy their obligations.


Email: james at jamesh.id.au
WWW:   http://www.jamesh.id.au/

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