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[XaraXtreme-dev] GDraw/CDraw [was: Ping]

Charles Moir wrote:

>> But the BIG question is still; what about CDRAW?
> But why is this the big question?

If you even have to ask, it seems to me you have completely
missed the point of Free Software.

> The source code of all the product is available with the
> exception of CDraw rendering core.

In other words "The source code of all the product is not
available". Stop playing word games, please.

>From my understanding it can not, however one tries to twist
words, be legally redistributed by anyone (with the possible
exception of Xara Ltd. itself), which makes it a GPL
violation in itself. Should that understanding be correct,
the source is as proprietary as ever, as it's then only covered
by international copyright agreement and local copyright laws.

> This doesn't stop the product working.

... on the limited number of platforms, CPU's and the single
C++ compiler implementation _you_ have decided for the world
to choose from - and currently actively attempting to prevent
the world from extending.

This limitation is artificial and political. There is no
technical limitation inherent in GDraw/CDraw that would
prevent it from working on many more such combinations,
had the src been available.

> We make the binary of this available for free to be
> distributed with Xara Xtreme.

... which only Xara Ltd. can (potentially legally) do, as it
would violate both spirit and word of the GPL should anyone
else attempt it, no?

> (And increasing numbers of distros are distributing completely
> closed source products such as Flash Player and Adobe Reader,
> and most Linux users have these installed even where they are
> not distributed as part of the OS).

As I have no numbers to back up my suspicion you are wrong on
the account of "most", I will limit myself to point out the
obvious: Flash Player and Adobe Reader also haven't got
partially released source code. They haven't claimed those
programs are licensed under the GPL. They haven't promised to
release all of the source code. They don't claim to be wanting
the help of the "community". They don't decieve by claiming
it's Free Software (which is not only implied, it's explicit
when using the GNU GPL) when it's not.

See a difference?

> The lack of CDraw source code certainly doesn't stop Xtreme
> being progressed and developed by any interested developers
> if they were interested in helping us progress the product.

Many are the motivations for FOSS developers to participate in
projects, but helping a company is likely not high on the list.

I'd also like to point out that you can't be further from the
truth, as this artificial limitation has certinaly prevented
me, and it seems I may not be alone, from any development that
would have improved and progressed "Xara LX"/"Xtreme".

> So isn't it a bit of red-herring to be focussed on this
> small part only?

Small? It may be small, but it's a _vital_ part that
"Xara LX"/"Xtreme" _depends_ on to even function. Without it,
the code so far released is effectively useless. No, I don't
think it's a red herring; it's a valid demand that the
source code is released (as promised) before (free software)
developers trust you enough to commit valuable time in
helping improve LX. Without it, you will always be met with
scepticism, suspicion and the same distrust you display by
not making good on your promise.

> We've held back on CDraw partly because it's simply not
> necessary to have the source code of this to develop,
> improve, fix bugs, add new features or all the other
> things that I'd imagine most users would be looking for.

*cough* bullshit *cough*

I had to expend *considerable* effort to make LX run on Win32
using my compiler of choice, effort and knowledge not held by
but probably just a handful of people on this planet.

Had I not ported the library from your chosen distribution
language to a language I could more easily modify, this
would have been impossible.

To be blunt: improvements and fixes to GDraw are impossible
for the vast majority (>99% I'd say) of potential developers.

> It's obvious this part is complete, and works perfectly
> well (as you can tell using the product), so why the
> fixation on CDraw?

As I haven seen the results of the code, to me it's equally
obvious that this statement is false. Who are we to believe;
someone claiming it's perfectly valid to distribute GPL'd
software that violates the very GPL itself and displays only
unwillingness to embrace Free Software values and actually
release the source, or someone that can display proof of his
statements re. this upon request?

I know where I'd put my money.

> The original plan and hope was, if you recall, that *together*
> the community and Xara would help create a world (and
> Microsoft and Adobe) beating product. Well Xara have put a
> huge amount of time, money and effort into the product so far,
> and we've got great result, but there's not much 'together' in
> this so far.

That, you can not blame anyone but Xara Ltd. for.

First and foremost, it could at best be called deceptive to
claim the software is licensed under the GPL, which means
"Free Software", when it in fact can not even function without
a binary "blob" that is inherently GPL-incompatible, and
therefore makes the works as a whole equally incompatible with
the GPL.

This single fact has raised suspicion against Xara, it has been
a source of many unproductive hours spent by developers
attempting to make you fix this, only to be strung along for a
ride. To even consider signing a physical contract with you
under these circumstances to even be allowed to participate...
I'm baffled someone could even attempt it. Snake-oil and
selling bridges comes to mind.

In addition to that, which only attempts to explain one potential
reason why you haven't got the 'together' in this so far, if your
goals have not been met it means your goals were set too high.

With the kind of restrictions, cooperation-unwillingness,
deception, vague statements and unfulfilled promises from Xara,
I must say I'd have by now found it far more surprising if your
goals had been met.

To rephrase this in possibly a more easily digestable form:
Perhaps it's got something to do with how you run the project?

> So we still hope and look forward to the time where the
> community can help us develop the product and achieve that
> original goal to create the best graphics product that has
> ever existed on the Linux (and other) platforms.  We're
> still working very hard to make that happen.

That may actually be your honest opinion. I on the other hand,
as a potential developer, have so far seen you only working
very hard to _prevent_ developers (that believe in software
freedom) to participate.

If our experiences are so completely in opposition, perhaps
you should reconsider your position, as that may actually be
one of the things preventing what you wanted to happen in the
first place? I sure won't move an inch. The choices are simple
to me; it's either softwareSoftware freedom or your irellevant.
It's as simple as that.

Please stop this charade and come clean now; have you ever even
intended to release the "small" GDraw code? So far it looks, to
me, only like it has all been a misfiring attempt to get media
attention (that is now proving to only prevent participation
and piss potential developers off)?