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LibreDWG one-line small-head.png
Developer(s) GNU Project
Development status Active
Written in C
Type library
License GNU General Public License v3

GNU LibreDWG is a software library programmed in C to manage DWG computer files, native proprietary format of computer-aided design software AutoCAD. It aims to be a free software replacement for the OpenDWG libraries. The project is managed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).


The proprietary format DWG is currently the most used file format in CAD, becoming a de facto standard, without other alternative extended, forcing many users to use this software in a dominant position on the part of the owner company Autodesk.

There exists the OpenDWG library, to access and manipulate data stored in DWG format, which is developed by reverse engineering by an association of manufacturers of CAD software with the intention of supporting their products. As OpenDWG's license does not allow the usage in free software projects, the FSF wants to create an alternative to OpenDWG.


GNU LibreDWG is based on the LibDWG library, originally written by Rodrigo Rodrigues da Silva and Felipe Correa da Silva Sanches around 2005.[1] In July 2010 the FSF noted the creation of an alternative to the OpenDWG library as a high priority project.[2]

GPLv3 controversies[edit]

But, a license update of LibreDWG to the version 3 of the GNU GPL, made it impossible for the free software projects LibreCAD and FreeCAD to use LibreDWG legally, too.[3] A request went to the FSF to relicense GNU LibreDWG as GPLv2, which was rejected in 2012.[4]


The project has stalled since 2011 for various reasons, including lack of volunteers, license issues and programmer motivation.[5] In September 2013, the original project on which LibreDWG is based, LibDWG, announced that it was reactivating, re-forking its code from LibreDWG.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ John Sullivan (2010). "High Priority Free Software Projects". Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  3. ^ Larabel, Michael (2013-01-24). "FSF Wastes Away Another "High Priority" Project". Phoronix. Retrieved 2013-08-22. Both LibreCAD and FreeCAD both want to use LibreDWG and have patches available for supporting the DWG file format library, but can't integrate them. The programs have dependencies on the popular GPLv2 license while the Free Software Foundation will only let LibreDWG be licensed for GPLv3 use, not GPLv2. 
  4. ^ Prokoudine, Alexandre (2012-12-27). "LibreDWG drama: the end or the new beginning?". Retrieved 2013-08-23. [...]the unfortunate situation with support for DWG files in free CAD software via LibreDWG. We feel, by now it ought to be closed. We have the final answer from FSF. [...] "We are not going to change the license." 
  5. ^ Prokoudine, Alexandre (26 January 2012). "What's up with DWG adoption in free software?". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "LibDWG - free access to DWG". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 

External links[edit]