[SDL] SDL license change suggestion: wxWindows LPGL

mkee at gonzaga.edu mkee at gonzaga.edu
Tue Jan 7 12:06:01 PST 2003

   I would like to suggest that the SDL license be changed from LPGL to LPGL 
with an embedded use / static object code exception.  I know this sounds 
bizarre, so before you flame me, please see the wxWindows 
license: "www.wxwindows.org".  

To quote a wxWindows distribution:
 "Most files are distributed under the GNU Library General Public
  License, version 2, with the special exception that you may create and
  distribute object code versions built from the source code or modified
  versions of it (even if these modified versions include code under a
  different licence), and distribute such binaries under your own

   On the SDL licensing page, Sam Lantinga has personally stated that he does 
not care if individuals use SDL for embedded use, so why not make this legal?  
The wxWindows LPGL embedded license was recently sanctioned by the Open Source 
Initiative and should in no way stagnate the growth of SDL or allow 
development to be controlled by third parties.

   Many add-on libraries by disparate SDL developers exist and are in common 
use.  If the core library adopted an embedded license, others would surely 
follow and developers could avoid the "DLL bloat" that occurs when linkage 
must occur with seven or eight DLLs.  More importantly, an embedded license 
allows developers to implement proper security.

   For instance:  The game I am developing utilizes SoundFX created by a major 
corporation.  These SoundFX are distributed in encrypted format along with the 
binary of my game.  Under American law, I am required to protect these SoundFX 
from being unlawfully accessed by the end user.  If the end user streams 
SoundFX during gameplay I cannot be held liable because of American streaming 
laws. If however, the end user recompiles the SDL library my game dynamically 
links with to dump soundfx in unencrypted format to the users hard disk, I can 
reasonably be sued for damages.  The level of encryption I use is 
insignificant as the end user still has a backdoor through SDL.  While this 
remains conceivably possible with static linkage, it is much less likely and 
is certainly less obvious.

   Static linkage issues is the sole reason I am currently using Allegro.  I 
have reviewed Allego, SDL, Clanlib, CDX and several other game development 
enviroments and SDL is the cleanest I have seen yet.  If the DLL linkage issue 
was resolved I would become a complete convert.  As it stands right now, I 
cannot afford to.

   To the powers that be: Please look into the wxWindows license and let me 
know if you ever decide to allow embedded use.


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