Sure, let's check the facts
Posted Jun 12, 2009 7:55 UTC (Fri) by khim
In reply to: Sorry, but no
Parent article: The LGPL and video codecs
Perhaps a little fact checking should come before you invoke
the bold text?
Google distributes ffmpeg, as a binary library in DLL form, as
part of the Chrome install bundle.
The LGPL governs that redistribution.
Why? Sure LGPL is involved with distribution - this is the license
Google had which gave them the right to craft their new license for Chrome,
but why the hell LGPL "governs this distribution"? This is not even close
to the reality. Their new license used for distribution of Chromium has
nothing to do with LGPL! But you are saying: what if I pull the FFmpeg
library from Chrome? Will I get LGPLed library? Sure! Absolutely! You will
get the library licensed under LGPL terms by FFmpeg authors. Not by
Google, but by LGPL authors! See clause 10 of LGPL: each time you
redistribute the Library (or any work based on the Library), the recipient
automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy,
distribute, link with or modify the Library subject to these terms and
Basically when you are getting Chromium from Google you are getting two
licenses: one - from Google - for the whole thing (with attached
patent license, but without right to modify the thing), another one -
from the original licensor - for the FFmpeg (this is LGPL with
clause 11 and everything). This second license gives you the right to
modify the thing (and many other rights) but sadly it does not include
patent license at all.
I don't believe anyone has suggested that the LGPL applies to
chrome itself, only to the ffmpeg binary that google is distributing with
Yes, but you and others claim that Google is distributing FFmpeg
using LGPL - and this is false. They are distributing
Chromium but they are not using LGPL. FFmpeg creators gave
them such right in statement 6: you may also combine or link a "work
that uses the Library" with the Library to produce a work containing
portions of the Library, and distribute that work under terms of your
choice. Google did right that: they are distributing "the work
containing portions of the Library" and they are NOT using LGPL. There are
some requirements in section 6, but there are no requirement for
Google to distribute FFmpeg under LGPL terms! Please read the damn thing!
LGPLv3 is different: it only gives you right to remove "section 3" from
GPLv3, LGPLv2.1 gives you right to use any license for the as long
as the library itself is unmodified.
You somehow think that if I got the work (FFmpeg in question) under some
terms I can only distrubte it using the same terms. This is not even
close to reality: think Microsoft. Microsoft sells bulk packs of Windows to
big manufacturers and then manufacturers sell Windows to end-users. These
licenses are VERY different. Manufacturer can distribute Windows with any
computer system it creates (but can not sell the license without computer)
while end-user can only use Windows with one fixed computer.
LGPLv2.1 is the same: if you are distributing the library - you
are bound by LGPL. If you are distributing "a work containing portions of
the Library" - you are not bound by LGPL. If your new license for "a
work containing portins of the Library" will "permit modification of the
work for the customer's own use and reverse engineering" and you are using
"uitable shared library mechanism" - you are good to go. The LGPL license
attached to the library exist as well, but it's "from the original
licensor" - not from you.
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