[cairo] Atomic reference counting [and an aside on using the GPL for libraries]

Carl Worth cworth at cworth.org
Thu Apr 5 09:36:02 PDT 2007

On Thu, 5 Apr 2007 09:00:26 +0100, Chris Wilson wrote:
> Sorry, that was my naivety wrt the licensing.

Well, it's our fault for getting into this situation where it makes it
harder to just take code from LGPL libraries[*].

> My plan for the next iteration:
> 1) typedef struct _cairo_ref { unsigned int ref_count; } cairo_ref_t
> 2) implement a minimal cairo-atomic.[ch] (using gcc + mutex fallback)
> 3) introduce struct _cairo_object { ref_count, status, user_data};

That sounds very good---I'll look forward ti it.


[*] If I had it to do over again, I'd honestly be quite tempted to
just choose the GPL, which really does give the best opportunities to
accept as much existing Free Software code as possible into the
library. For example, people have proposed adding sha1 code to cairo,
(exists as GPL code in git), and blur code, (exists as GPL code in
inkscape), etc. It's obnoxious to me that in such situations our
current license choice means having to look for similar code under
other licenses, ask authors to relicense, or implement the code
ourselves---particularly since I really do love the GPL, (so I would
feel awkward asking the author of any GPL code to change its license).

So maybe if I invent some other library in the future, I'll choose to
just use the GPL for it. And if that means some people don't use it
that might have used it if it were available under a non-GPL license,
I don't see how that would have any negative impact on me.

Though, clearly, I'm not currently proposing any change of cairo's
license---that would definitely have negative impact on many people
who are already relying on being able to use it under the LGPL or MPL
rather than the GPL.
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