|License||GNU General Public License v3|
GNU LibreDWG is a software library programmed in C to manage DWG computer files, native proprietary format of computer-aided design software AutoCAD. It aims to be a free software replacement for the OpenDWG libraries. The project is managed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).
The proprietary format DWG is currently the most used file format in CAD, becoming a de facto standard, without other alternative extended, forcing many users to use this software in a dominant position on the part of the owner company Autodesk.
There exists the OpenDWG library (later named "Teigha"), to access and manipulate data stored in DWG format, which is developed by reverse engineering by an association of manufacturers of CAD software with the intention of supporting their products. As OpenDWG's license does not allow the usage in free software projects, the FSF wants to create an alternative to OpenDWG.
GNU LibreDWG is based on the LibDWG library, originally written by Rodrigo Rodrigues da Silva and Felipe Correa da Silva Sanches and licensed as GPLv2 around 2005. In July 2010 the FSF noted the creation of an alternative to the OpenDWG library as one of 13 "high priority projects".
Many projects voiced their unhappiness about the GPLv3 license selection for LibreDWG, as FreeCAD, LibreCAD, Assimp, and Blender. Some suggested the selection of a license with a broader license compatibility, for instance the MIT, BSD, or LGPL 2.1.
The project has stalled since 2011 for various reasons, including lack of volunteers, license issues and programmer motivation. In September 2013, the original project on which LibreDWG is based, LibDWG, announced that it was reactivating, re-forking its code from LibreDWG. A GPLv2 licensed alternative is the libdxfrw project, which can read simple DWGs.
Both LibreCAD and FreeCAD both want to use LibreDWG and have patches available for supporting the DWG file format library, but can't integrate them. The programs have dependencies on the popular GPLv2 license while the Free Software Foundation will only let LibreDWG be licensed for GPLv3 use, not GPLv2.
[Assimp's Alexander Gessler:] "Personally, I'm extremely unhappy with their [LibreDWG's -- LGW] GPL licensing. It prohibits its use in Assimp and for many other applications as well. I don't like dogmatic ideologies, and freeing software by force (as GPL/GNU does) is something I dislike in particular. It's fine for applications, because it doesn't hurt at this point, but, in my opinion, not for libraries that are designed to be used as freely as possible." [Blender's Toni Roosendaal:] "Blender is also still "GPLv2 or later". For the time being we stick to that, moving to GPL 3 has no evident benefits I know of. My advice for LibreDWG: if you make a library, choosing a widely compatible license (MIT, BSD, or LGPL) is a very positive choice."
[...]the unfortunate situation with support for DWG files in free CAD software via LibreDWG. We feel, by now it ought to be closed. We have the final answer from FSF. [...] "We are not going to change the license."
GPLv3 license. It doesn't work for end-user software, because they tend to use 3rd party components under different licenses that impose restrictions. FSF who are sole copyright holders of LibreDWG objected to relicensing. With regards to FreeCAD project and Yorik van Havre, its contributor, Richard Stallman stated:" You should not change the license of your library. Rather, it is best to make it clear to him what the conditions are." [...] Personally, I'm extremely unhappy with their [LibreDWG's -- LGW] GPL licensing. It prohibits its use in Assimp and for many other applications as well. I don't like dogmatic ideologies, and freeing software by force (as GPL/GNU does) is something I dislike in particular. It's fine for applications, because it doesn't hurt at this point, but, in my opinion, not for libraries that are designed to be used as freely as possible.
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