[matroska-devel] Re: MPC SV8 framing sources

Steve Lhomme steve.lhomme at free.fr
Sat Jan 25 16:04:22 CET 2003

Christian HJ Wiesner wrote:

> >
> >Der robux4 kennt sich hier mittlerweile sehr gut aus. Es gibt eine
> >homepage die alle bekannten Lizenzen aufzählt und die Unterschiede
> >erklärt, muss mal gründlich nach der URL suchen.
> >
> >matroska, zumindest der sourcecode der libraries, wird wohl gleichzeitig
> >unter 3 verschiedenen Lizenzen erscheinen :
> >
> >GPL
> >QPL
> >Spezial-Lizenz für Firmen die libmatroska einsetzen wollen
> >
> Warum nicht LGPL? Oder soll das durch die QPL abgefangen werden?
> Schickt mal die Linzenzdateien zu, ich hänge sie bei mir mit dran ...
> Die GPL sollte ich haben. Gibt es da mittlerweile eine Jahr 2000 
> kompatible
> (das Beispiel fängt immer noch mit 19XX an)?
> ... muß mal schnell durch die Quellen gehen und 2002 durch 2003 
> ersetzen ...

Could anybody put the explanation I made on our licensing scheme on 
#matroska somewhere on the web ? (matroska.org/license/ ?). I think 
that's one of the primary question we'll have from developpers.

We did not chose LGPL because it can be used with closed-source 
softwares directly. We will be providing libraries that anybody can use 
with closed-source softwares on PCs. For hardware support, we want to 
keep a kind of control on the implementations. That means a kind of 
certification program with a large number of test files... So far the 
solution we have found is to trademark a logo that people could use. 
That logo doesn't exist so far... ;)

For the source, the original goal in MCF was to ensure everything was 
under control, ie every fork of the work. The same should be ensured 
with matroska, the format. Because of the EBML nature, anything can be 
added in our code or in other implementations and we would never know 
about it until it's wide spread. The problem is that these changes might 
not fit the "philosophy of matroska" and the additions might be 
technically bad. So we want to avoid that.

The idea is that most people will use libmatroska in one form or another 
(direct C++ sources, or C wrapper, DirectShow filter, etc). So that we 
keep control on the format through our library. Every changes to the 
code has to be available to us (even if we chose not to integrate it), 
that would be the case with the QPL. But since the QPL is not GPL 
compatible, and we need to be GPL compatible for use in a GPL software 
(virtualdub is GPL for example). That's where the dual licensing is 
needed. In both way it is a viral license, so the changes will be 
available to the public, including us (except when the source is only 
given to the person buying the software). So we can integrate them or 
advise to do differently... Anyway matroska is an open format, so even 
if we all die, anybody should have the legal right to use the format and 
our sources in the future.

For closed source softwares, none of the license can apply (otherwise 
it's not a closed source software anymore). So there should be another 
licensing plan, directly with "us" (a legal entity we should create) on 
how to use our code (as long as all the contributors agree, so our 
policy has to be clear from the start and public).

My ideas on our policy :
- a person/company getting the right to use libmatroska in a closed 
software should not be able to redistribute or sell that right.
- we should be able to charge for the source if we decide to, but also 
to give the right for free. (whoever ?) will decide on each particular 
case for the price (0 to infinite)
- the money should go in a non profit organisation/foundation that will 
help us promote matroska and creating that certification program.
- all changes to the source should be made available to us.

I have no idea on who could get the source for free and who should pay. 
I think it should be better to ask for a donation (like Xiph does) to 
whoever want to make business with matroska. Large software and hardware 
companies should pay anyway (only the definition of large need to be done).


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