[cairo] Pango License

Travis Griggs travisgriggs at gmail.com
Wed Dec 15 14:17:21 PST 2010

On Dec 15, 2010, at 12:36 PM, Thomas Stover wrote:

>> From: Travis Griggs <travisgriggs at gmail.com>
>> Is there any hope of Pango every becoming dual licensed?
>> I just found out today, that because Pango is exclusively LGPL, we're
>> dead in the water using it for some of our customers. At least on
>> platforms such as OSX and Windows.
> wow, I'll bite. What reason do the suits have for saying yes to LGPL  
> on
> say Linux, but no on "platforms such as OSX and Windows"? Or did I
> misunderstand? Don't mean to divert into a tangent, but after  
> researching
> to heck out licenses, I was going with LGPL for some things I'm  
> releasing,
> and therefor particularly interested in what sort of non-logic is  
> going
> around in who knows what legal magazine this week.

As far as I understand it, IBM is fine distributing software that  
needs LGPL libraries, but will not distribute software, that requires  
them to distribute LGPL software themselves. Supposedly, they don't  
actually distribute Linux themselves, but will happily point you at 50  
vendors that do so.

So when they write their own software, if they write Linux software  
that links LGPL libraries, they're fine with that because those are  
presumed installed on the Linux box.

But when it comes to a piece of Windows software, if it were to use  
Pango, the would need to ship a windows build of Pango to support that  
software, since Pango isn't part of a standard Windows distro. Or they  
might distribute their software, with information about how to  
download and install Pango themselves, but that's not usually a very  
compelling piece of software.

The IDE we sell to a particular team at IBM was recently changed to  
use a piece of Smalltalk software that was under LGPL for part of its  
source management system. They were legally unable to upgrade to it,  
for fear of their lawyers, until we made a version that did not have  
the LGPL version in it.

That's the details as I understand them.

For me, it's a pragmatic thing. I know there's lots of opinions about  
what is or isn't the right license. But it's all moot. The FUD has  
unfortunately been effective. I honestly believe that it wouldn't  
matter at this point if someone came up with a license that was called  
AnythingButTheGPL. The mere fact that the sequence of letters G P L  
was embedded in the name, would be enough to cause it widespread  
summary rejection. People can insist on sanity and common sense,  
pedantically, or simply move on.

Travis Griggs
"Some people are like slinkies, not really good for much, but they can  
bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs."

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