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Re: LGPLv3 for xalloc?

From: Christian Egli
Subject: Re: LGPLv3 for xalloc?
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2013 17:30:18 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.1 (gnu/linux)

Eric Blake <address@hidden> writes:

> On 02/21/2013 02:11 AM, Christian Egli wrote:
>> Hi all
>> I would like to use xalloc in liblouis[1] a library (and a couple of
>> programs) for braille transcription. The main author just sprinkled the
>> library code with stuff like
>> foo = malloc(FOO_SIZE);
>> if (!foo)
>>    outOfMemory();
>> I would like to replace this with xmalloc. However it appears that
>> xalloc is GPL. Would it be possible to relicense this under LGPLv3?
> The point of xalloc is generally to exit on error; but libraries should
> never exit.  The choice of GPL is intentional, to discourage libraries
> from using an interface that is not appropriate in library design.  You
> really ought to be fixing liblouis so that it returns a clean error
> indication to the user, instead of aborting their program.

Ah, I wasn't aware of that. The current outOfMemory function provided by
liblouis just exits anyway[1], so I thought we might as well replace it
with xalloc.
> I suppose that you could provide your own alternative xalloc_die() that
> doesn't die, but merely longjmp()s out of your allocation attempt and
> back to the entry point of your library; at which point xalloc() calling
> into your xalloc_die() might be able to be made library-safe; but it
> just feels like a lot of work, especially if your outOfMemory() call
> already in your code can do the same longjmp unwinding without using xalloc.

I wish it could do that. Most of the mallocs did not even check the
result previous to the recent changes[2]. I guess some problems with the
java bindings and actually bringing the jvm down triggered these recent
changes in the code to check the results of malloc.


[2]  http://code.google.com/p/liblouis/source/detail?r=922
Christian Egli
Swiss Library for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Print Disabled
Grubenstrasse 12, CH-8045 Z├╝rich, Switzerland

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