[cairo] Pango License

Bill Spitzak spitzak at gmail.com
Thu Dec 16 14:43:38 PST 2010

Thomas Stover wrote:

> To try to reel this thread back to the original post, apparently certain
> outfits do not want to bundle Pango and other LGPL code with an
> installation package for windows or osx. (not bothered by it on
> environments it already exists & embedded/image distribution of doz/osx
> unlikely). This conceptually stemming from working with the interpretation
> that installation packages with bundled libraries are a form of static
> linking, and that distribution of a "repackage" kit would circumvent
> license key enforcement schemes.

I suspect it is entirely legal to package an LGPL library with the 
program and install it all at once. As long as the user can physically 
go in there and substitute a new version of the library then the LGPL is 
satisfied. If licensing is in the main program and does not call the 
library I don't see how this could be used to circumvent it.

But there is a practical consideration. The company does not want to 
support the program if the user replaces the library. They don't want 
people complaining that your software is relying on a bug in the version 
of the library and it blew up when they replaced it. And they want to 
avoid dll-hell, and make sure "installation" is painless and reliable. 
All of this is solved with static linking.

Another problem is the must-allow-reverse-engineering clause. I thought 
I could keep this with my version of the FLTK linking exception, but was 
pretty clearly told that it would be a show stopper as well. Even GNU 
seems to skip it for the linking exception.

At TheFoundry we distributed .so versions of all the Linux libraries it 
uses (these were installed in the same directory as the executable and 
did not break the system). The user could "LGPL replace" them, typically 
by removing them so that the installed one was used. Note we did this 
even though we were under no LGPL requirement! On Windows and OS/X 
however, all these libraries were static-linked into the program. 
Because of this, use of LGPL libraries was out of the question.

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