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Xara LX forked to replace rendering engine

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Software

The Xara LX vector graphics editor took a big step forward last week. After months of gridlock between open source contributors to the project and its corporate owners, one of the contributors published his own fork of the code base -- and the company approved, offering to host it in the official Subversion repository.

The stalemate stemmed from Xara's decision to exclude a single library from its GPL source code release. That library, CDraw, is the rendering engine responsible for rasterizing the workspace contents and drawing it to the screen during an editing session. Xara is very proud of the speed and quality of CDraw, to the point where it cites CDraw's speed as the chief advantage of the product over its competition. But the company feared that releasing the source code to CDraw would constitute giving up its competitive advantage. Thus when it launched the open source Xara LX project, Xara bundled it with a binary-only CDraw -- but one explicitly licensed as freely redistributable.

Outside contributors expressed reluctance to invest time in the Xara LX project, citing dependency on the non-free CDraw as the reason. The project languished, each of the two camps seemingly of the opinion that the other was not holding up its end of the deal -- the coders regarding Xara's partial source code release as insufficient and Xara finding the coders' contributions insignificant.

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