Thursday, January 26, 2012

cl-cairo2: new maintainer, new license

cl-cairo2 was one of the first Common Lisp libraries I wrote, but I haven't been using it much for the last year or so (currently I am experimenting with cl-pdf as a backend for my new plotting library, which will be released soon). I have been pretty busy with research, so I didn't have time to merge (and test) patches, also, I didn't even contemplate updating the library to make use of the latest version of cairo. So when Ryan Pavlik contacted me about adding compatibility with cl-freetype2, I asked him whether he wants to take over as a maintaner. He kindly agreed, so I have transferred the repository to him, and he already merged a lot of patches.

One last thing that I wanted to fix before handing the repository over is the license. Originally, the library was licensed under the GPL — in retrospect, I think that

  1. I was very naive about software licenses, and didn't really understand what GPL means in the context if Common Lisp (I still don't claim that I do :-P), and
  2. I didn't realize that there are a lot of commercial applications in the Common Lisp world, whose authors are wary of depending on GPL'ed libraries.

Consequently, I received many complaints about the license of the library, and decided to change it. I picked the Boost Software License, and contacted all who contributed to the library for permission. All contributors approved the change, so now the library has a simple, permissive non-copyleft free software license. However, it is always possible that I missed someone, so if you contributed to cl-cairo2 in the past but didn't hear from me regarding the license change, please get in touch (eg via the Github issue tracker).

I would like to thank (in alphabetical order) Ala'a Mohammad Alawi, Jay Bromley, Pau Fern├índez, Johann Korndoerfer, Peter Mikula, and especially Kei Suzuki (who did the last major reorganization) for their contributions to the library (again, I apologize if I missed anyone). I would also like to thank Ryan for taking over — I am convinced that the library is in good hands.