ASTC Texture Compression License Turns Out To Be Restrictive Outside Of Khronos APIs

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 3 October 2019 at 06:44 AM EDT. 12 Comments
The lossy ASTC texture compression algorithm has been widely adopted in recent years with it being official extensions to both OpenGL and OpenGL ES. While it may not be as messy as the S3TC patent situation of the past, it turns out Arm's license on Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression actually is quite restrictive outside of the context of Khronos' APIs.

Texture compression expert Rich Geldreich wrote an interesting blog post on their dive reviewing the licensing situation for all GPU texture formats that are supported by Binomial's Basis Universal tech. It turns out the license covering the ASTC specification/documentation and reference encoder places a lot of restrictions on its use outside of the official use-cases of the Khronos OpenGL/GLES APIs. This could affect those working on ASTC compression support for engines or other software not targeting Khronos APIs.

See Rich's blog post for more details. Hopefully it's just an oversight by Arm's lawyers and can be promptly cleaned-up.
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