[Flac-dev] Should FLAC join Xiph?

Matt Zimmerman mdz at debian.org
Thu Nov 21 17:59:01 PST 2002

On Thu, Nov 21, 2002 at 01:39:40AM -0800, Josh Coalson wrote:

> 1. FLAC would benefit from the increased visibility from the association.
> Emmett can probably expound more upon this point.  Anyway, hopefully this
> will mean it's popularity will rise, not just with users but also with
> developers of other tools.

I agree that a relationship with Xiph.org would have a positive impact on
both communities, for both developers and users.

> 2. The core libraries would become BSD-licensed.  I've been really 50/50
> on this ever since I submitted the question to Slashdot (see
> http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/11/27/1650256 ).  Now that WMA
> lossless is out it seems like less of an issue but I will still need to
> get permission from some of you, those that have contributed
> legally-significant (in the U.S. I think that means >10 lines of) code to
> libFLAC.  Only the codec libraries need to be BSD; the command-line tools
> and plugins would remain GPL.

BSD licensing has been demonstrated to work in practice, for similar
applications, by a number of high-profile projects, including those
associated with Xiph.org.  I believe that in these situations, the freedom
and continued viability of the software is ensured not by legal
restrictions, but by recognized leadership in a community.  Xiph.org is a
strong ally in that area, with a thriving and well-recognized community.

In the end, this is, by and large, your personal decision, as the primary
copyright holder.  Either way, I have confidence in the continued viability
of FLAC.

> 3. Operations would move from Sourceforge to Xiph.  There are pluses and
> minuses, actually not so much minuses as unknowns.

I see this as a minor item; software projects move from place to place all
the time.  Assuming that sourceforge is willing to help to provide a smooth
transition, this should be painless.

> These are the main changes that would happen.  So I ask everyone,
> especially libFLAC contributors, what do you think?

I can foresee no obvious negative consequences, and a few tangible benefits.
Overall, I would say that it seems like a beneficial course of action,
though not to the extent that I would consider it a failure if it were not
taken due to other concerns.

 - mdz

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