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RE: [XaraXtreme-dev] Ping

I think the following is very interesting actually. There's no way Cairo
is going to be unusably slow. Xara's speed isn't all a result of CDraw
but the entire architecture is designed for speed, and so that benefit
applies to whatever rendering library is used.

And of course it tends only to be the really complicated drawings with
thousands of polygons that really require the speed, so I'd bet that for
most day to day drawings and graphic jobs Cairo is going to be fine and
more than usable in Xara Xtreme.

So I agree with Alex that, if the worst comes to the worst, and we do
not release CDraw, Cairo is a perfectly good fall back, and in some ways
a better solution (e.g. because it's using the platform's standard
rendering library instead). I know Inkscape have often mentioned a
desire to move to Cairo for similar reasons. And so the sentiment that
Xara Xtreme is useless without CDraw is plainly just not true.

And for someone that knew Cairo or studied the CDraw interface in Xara
Xtreme this is not really that difficult a job. I would bet who knew
what they were doing could have something operational in days (obviously
a lot longer to get it fully functional).


PS One of the obvious 'disastrous' scenarios for CDraw, and indeed the
whole project, is if were to be ported back to Windows and used to
compete against our commercial versions, so jeopardising the revenue and
jobs of the staff working on the product. i.e. exactly what that Mike
'tamlin' character is trying to achieve (as well as sprouting rubbish
about us going against GPL).

We can't stop the program being used in any way of course, but we've
said from day one were that to happen we'd regard that as very bad news
and probably withdraw form the project. We can't, obviously, jeopardise
the jobs of the staff who are working on the product, just because
self-interested individual wants to create Windows version of the
product to compete against us, and so go against the interests of the
vast majority - who care only about a Linux (or Mac) version of the

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-dev@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
> [mailto:owner-dev@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Carl Worth
> Sent: 16 February 2007 23:18
> To: dev@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: 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
>    community.
> 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
>    problems.
>    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
>    work?
> 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
>    CDraw.
>    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).
> -Carl