It’s good to be ubiquitous

So, while trying to discover the minor version of the Android 2.2 running on my G-2, I touched the tab labeled “Open source licenses”. Scrolled down, and “Eric S. Raymond” popped out at me.

Seems the phone uses libpng 1.2.6., of which I am a contributing author.

So of course I looked on my Nexus One. If libpng is there the license is buried pretty deep – but it uses libgif, and my name’s on that for even better reasons.

Ah, there’s libpng, about 25% of the way through a huge pile of licenses. Suggests libgif is on the G-2 as well, deeper than I’ve looked in that pile, though it’s a bit of a puzzle why the licenses are in different orders.

This is my happy for the day. Android phones are about the only smartphones I thought didn’t carry those – I assumed they’d been replaced by some blob of Java.

It’s good to be ubiquitous. And your little dog Toto basement router, too!


  1. Would a basement router have libpng/libgif? The only thing mine uses images for is putting them on the web interface, which I doubt needs either, just data-sending. Or is there some other major bit of infrastructure that you have your fingerprints on?

  2. Or the PC speaker driver if your router runs *BSD. I learned about Eric’s authorship of this when my speaker started going inexplicably insane and was digging through manpages trying to shut the damn thing up :-)

    1. >libpng 1.2.6 has several known security vulns

      I think you didn’t read closely enough. The latest version fingered by any of those is 1.21.

  3. > Would a basement router have libpng/libgif? Some people interpret the concept of “not reinventing the wheel” as “use every tool available.”

    > It’s good to be ubiquitous.
    It’s also creepy. I make every effort to rely only on open-source software (for the usual jumble of reasons), and yet I still get freaked out by the way certain pieces of OSS just won’t go away, no matter where you go. No wonder some people (who make a living off of close-source) are so scared of the GPL. (Heh. Let’s keep ’em scared… :)

  4. >No wonder some people (who make a living off of close-source) are so scared of the GPL.

    None of the stuff I’ve written that’s all over the place (including non-Unix systems) is under GPL. Because the GPL scares people, it tends to prevent maximum ubiquity.

  5. @esr:

    Your name appears on the open source licenses screen on the EVO 4G as well, for libpng 1.2.6, though I’ve known that for several months. :)

    @Tom Dickson-Hunt:

    My WRT54G, which has DD-WRT 2.4sp2 Micro does not use libpng or libgif unless they static-linked it in to one of the binaries; that’s a possibility because the router has only 4 MB of RAM, but I’m not sure how they generate graphs. Just never bothered to look.

  6. You’ve gotten into some interesting places, Eric. I saw you mentioned by name in the copyright screen of the firmware to my PSP.

    You’re not alone either: There’s a Lua copyright notice in Street Fighter IV and a copyright notice in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Just think: it’s possible that every hadouken is now a Lua script…

  7. Huh. No, Marshall’s right. Those advisories refer to versions of libpng through 1.2.21; a little math reveals that 1.2.6 is earlier than 1.2.21. The available Android source uses 1.2.44 as of this comment, which is good, and that repo shows 1.2.29 as the earliest libpng ever used. I wonder where 1.2.6 came from? Someone not as smart as the core Android engineers, I imagine.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *