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Re: [XaraXtreme-dev] Ping

On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 17:43:05 -0000, "Charles Moir" wrote:
> And this focus on us releasing CDraw source implies that for some people
> at least, perhaps the 'use elsewhere' is their goal and forget about the
> Xara Xtreme product on Linux.

There's no doubt that a release of CDraw to the Free Software
community might lead to some interesting new applications of that
code. In my view, that's one of the fundamental aspects that makes
hacking on Free Software so rewarding---the knowledge that there
aren't limits on coming up with new things to do with code.

So here are three thoughts in response to the sentiment above:

1. Even if I couldn't fathom any interesting application of the
   code---that wouldn't change any of the analysis I provided
   before. Until it becomes a Free Software program, (meaning,
   something that doesn't depend on any non-free portions), Xara
   Xtreme will never really get picked up by the Free Software

2. Releasing the source code to CDraw is not a necessary part to Xara
   Xtreme becoming Free Software. If the current copyright holders are
   serious about wanting to engage the community, then making Xara
   Xtreme entirely free is essential. But CDraw doesn't have to be
   part of that. As discussed before, Xara Xtreme could be ported to
   use cairo and libCDraw.a could disappear along with all of its

   And Xara still could maintain the use of CDraw in its commercial,
   proprietary offerings as a differentiating factor. If you're
   interested in extracting value from the secret aspect of CDraw,
   then that's a strategy for a proprietary software release, not a
   free software release.

   Now, Xara Xtreme+cairo might be painfully slow (perhaps even
   unusable) but I would still predict it would be much more well
   accepted that way than the current situation. I for one, (along
   with the rest of the cairo community), are already very motivated
   to improving cairo's performance. So embarrassing us with an
   application that would be extremely compelling if it weren't for
   cairo's performance bugs would be an excellent thing to do. We're
   always interested in receiving more interesting performance cases
   for cairo, (and I don't think there could be much more interesting
   than some of the graphics I've seen in .xar files).

   If there's a fear of "nobody would touch it if it's unusably slow"
   then you should recognize that you're currently trying to attract
   free software developers based on the characteristics of the part
   of the application that's not free. Do you see why that doesn't

3. Releasing CDraw under the GPL likely won't have the disastrous "use
   elsewhere" consequences you are imagining.

   I have to speculate here a bit, because I don't know exactly what
   the disastrous consequences are that you imagine. Is it that CDraw
   might get sucked into cairo, and then applications like inkscape
   could quickly start benefitting from it, and then inkscape might
   take developer mindshare instead of Xara?

   First, I'll ignore the fact that inkscape is already acknowledged
   as winning that mindshare already, even without any benefit from

   Second, if CDraw were made available under the GPL, then it
   couldn't be immediately used in cairo, (not without cairo changing
   its license from LGPL/MPL to GPL, and that's quite unlikely to
   happen). For example, right now Zack Rusin at Trolltech is doing
   some really interesting things inside Qt with a vector-graphics
   library that's very much like cairo. It's available under the GPL,
   and the cairo community hasn't even looked at the code because of
   that, (in spite of the fact that Zack has recently added some stuff
   that we've been wanting in cairo for a while).

   Now, I actually don't love the fact that there's a bunch of
   duplicated effort in the community already between cairo and the
   Qt stuff. But I think the evidence is pretty good that GPL
   libraries do tend to maintain a sort of separate existence.

   (Interestingly, GPL applications wouldn't have any problem using
   GPL libraries, so maybe at some point GPL application authors will
   all start collaborating enough on GPL libraries that they start
   dominating, and things like LGPL libraries start disappearing.)

Anyway, that's all mostly just to say that there's another way to
provide what the community wants without necessarily changing the
license of CDraw, (you could just rip it out instead).


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