Let it Rip, Let it Rip, Let it Rip

We take some pride in the GStreamer community about our policy of keeping a tidy ship when it comes to licensing. Even though we did most of the sorting based on common sense, mixed with a bit of hobbyist lawyering and a conservative reading of the GPL it looks like we have succeeded. Tons of organisations are now shipping GStreamer core, base and good with their products and often combine them with their own plugins and packages.

Yet, we recently realized that we had let something slip through the cracks, in the sense that both the cd ripping libraries we supported, cdparanoia and libcdio, where under the GPL. According to our policy that means those plugins should be in gst-plugins-ugly and not in base or good where they currently reside. Just moving them was seen as rather painful though as it would have left many linux distributions in a difficult situation, with applications like Sound Juicer depending on one of those plugins being available to work properly.

Luckily a quick talk to Monty Montgomery, creator of cdparanoia and Vorbis, resolved the issue. As of yesterday there is a new version of cdparanoia available which is LGPL instead of GPL. A big thanks to Monty for this. We will update GStreamer so that the next version of gst-plugins-base requires this new version and correctly reports it as LGPL through gst-inspect. As for libcdio we will move that over to gst-plugins-ugly as that library is still GPL.

So if you are a distribution maker grab cdparanoia 0.10 to decrease the amount of license checking you need to do :)

Update: Seems MikeS spotted something that I failed to notice. Monty choose the LGPLv3 for libcdparanoia which means the situation is a little different, as it would mean the plugin is not compatible with GPLv2-only applications. Luckily most GStreamer apps are GPLv2 or Higher or more liberally licensed. A lot of them also have a special clause allowing non-GPL compatible GStreamer plugins. Guess this proves that those exception clauses are now also valuable even if you are not targetting non-free plugins.


#1 Peter Lemenkov on 06.10.08 at 17:01

CDs are obsolete –> CD ripping apps are obsolete –> You shouldn’t worry about them at all.

BTW does someone still buy CDs?

#2 Bastien on 06.10.08 at 18:03

Does Monty not use his first name anymore? He’s like Duran Duran.

#3 Götz Waschk on 06.10.08 at 21:40

@Peter: sure, I’m buying CDs from my favourite bands, e.g. the latest CC-licensed Nine Inch Nails one or the new Sigur Rós. There are plenty of good artists to support by buying their CDs.