[cairo] Re: License for cairo changed to LGPL

Turner, David DTurner at nds.com
Mon Aug 9 02:00:10 PDT 2004

> -----Message d'origine-----
> De : Jost Boekemeier [mailto:jost2345 at yahoo.de]
> Envoyé : vendredi 6 août 2004 20:46
> À : Turner, David
> Cc : cairo at cairographics.org
> Objet : [cairo] Re: License for cairo changed to LGPL
> > In both cases, the user's freedom to use the 
> > relinked version of the program isn't guaranteed 
> > at all. Would a judge decide that I
> > obey the LGPL nevertheless ? 
> Except for B/2 and C/2 I think it is clear what is
> allowed and what not.

The problem is that we're not speaking about what _we_
think, but what a lawyer _might_ think. Remember that
his/her paycheck depends on its ability to perform 
corporate "damage control".

E.g., unlike you, I don't think that B/1 is clear at
all, depending on the platform being used. If we can't
agree on technical definitions, expect the worse.

> B2 depends on the license, but
> C2 is indeed interesting because the "work that uses
> the library" is now a hardware device.
Technically, the "work" is in this case a combination
of hardware and software.

> In practice I think that such a hardware device does
> not exist, hardware is usually generic and programmed
> in a "high level language" such as VHDL or schematic
> drawing for which source or object code exists.
They do exist.

For example, the XBox is such a device. More precisely,
its bios hardware will only recognize signed binaries, so
even if you can re-generate programs for it, you won't be
able to upload them to the box.

That is, unless you happen to use a security bug (which
is purely incidental, and only in the first generation of
the console), or modify the hardware itself (which may or
may not be legal depending on your country).

Some of the hardware boxes we work on have the same
restrictions, and they're not game consoles.

> Customers always invent strange strategies to
> circumvent license terms, so that I think it is
> important for the author as well as for the customer
> that the author's intention is clearly expressed by
> the license.
Do you really think that the LGPL is clear and 
unambiguous ?

> Here in munich the netfilter project was able to stop
> a german company from distributing their router
> product.  I don't think this would have happened if
> they used one of those unclear licenses that add a
> chain of special cases to a base license.
Good point for you, but you're expressing opinion, not
giving any detail about the case, so we can hardly
generalize on that.


- David Turner
- The FreeType Project  (www.freetype.org)

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