Clutter's Cogl Relicensed To Be More Permissive
Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 15 January 2014 at 03:48 AM EST. 19 Comments
An effort led by Intel Linux developers has resulted in Cogl being made availablw now under the MIT license instead of the LGPL. Cogl is the GNOME/Clutter project that provides a low-level OpenGL abstraction library.

Cogl is a low-layer to the Clutter tool-kit to abstract out OpenGL rendering so that the common rendering API can transparently target OpenGL, OpenGL ES 1.1, and OpenGL ES 2.0. Robert Bragg at Intel as one of the Cogl maintainers had proposed last month that this OpenGL library be made available under the permissive MIT license rather than the LGPLv2.1+ license.

The motive for moving to a more permissive license is due to investigations about using Cogl with EmScripten for enabling WebGL accelerated development of client-side web applications. Some of EmScripten's C/C++ ports to JavaScript using LLVM are of closed-source software, so if wanting Cogl, an MIT-licensed solution is more appropriate.

Cogl under the MIT is also useful for the related Rig project that is a UI technology for building/bundling complete applications on different operating systems. There's benefits here if Cogl is under a more permissive license than the LGPL.

Another reason used for pushing Cogl under the MIT license is also to facilitate better code sharing with projects like Wayland/Weston that are permissively licensed.

Bragg wrote in his re-licensing proposal, "Switching to the MIT license means we can no longer force Cogl changes to be kept open, but I think we gain simplicity and legal clarity for some awkward use cases that actually matter to us. Personally I think that these days a lot more people understand the real value you can get from collaborating on open source software that I'm less concerned about the possibility of developers taking and not giving back. I'm also inclined to think we're more likely to get valuable contributions anyway from developers that are genuinely interested in giving something back than from developers only reluctantly giving back because they are forced to. A bigger concern for me is that people simply avoid using my code at all because they're put off by a complex license."

The Cogl re-licensing happened today with this Git change.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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