Re: GNOME following a non-free standard

On Mon, 2005-05-23 at 17:52 +0200, Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller
> Hi, 
> A practical issue I was wondering about. As you might know there are a
> lot of standards out there while not covered by royalties due to
> patents etc, but the standard specification have a license on it making
> it not possible to share it freely.
> Do we have a de-facto policy on such stuff? Is it ok to base core GNOME
> libraries on implementations of such standards? Lets say as an example
> that I write a library called libstandard which is an implementation of
> such a standard and put it under the LGPL and then I get gtk to depend
> on that library. The code is under a free license, but if anyone but me
> wants to hack on the library they might have a problem doing so due to
> not being able/willing to buy the standard specification and due to that
> not being able to judge easily wether their changes will break anything
> in regards to that specification.
> I guess historically such things have been accepted at some level
> although often in layers under GNOME, but I thought I ask here what
> people think as some of my proposals for GNOME 3 might run into issues
> like this.

Hard to answer in complete absence of details. The ISO C standard is not
freely available, we rely on C in GNOME.

But in general, I think if the non-availability of the standard would
inhibit people hacking on GNOME, that would be a pretty big
discouragement to such a dependency.

If it's very well encapsulated (a media format, say), then probably
nobody will much care as long as the use of the standard isn't


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