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DWARF code License

The license for libdwarf is the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 2.1 as published by the Free Software Foundation. The license for dwarfdump is GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 as published by the Free Software Foundation.

A few source files created after 2007 ( therefore with no relationship to SGI) have the FreeBSD License (also known as the 2-clause BSD license).

Before 2007 the copyright owner is SGI. Code added beginning 2007 adds a copyright by David Anderson. Some files have code from other contributors. See the source files.


While SGI had a web site for open source it distributed (oss.sgi.com) the oss.sgi.com website no longer exists. And anyway libdwarf and dwarfdump preceded the existence of oss.sgi.com and were never on that site. The (not acknowledged publicly) contribution mechanism is a simple form prepared by SGI's legal department which would be signed by the contributor and SGI. Now the simple form must be signed by the contributor and myself.


The following follows open source practices with specific means adapted from SGI-provided legal wording. While I am quite interested in improvements to libdwarf/dwarfdump I reserve the right to apply (or not apply) contributed code in any way I see fit. I'm the gatekeeper, so to speak. All changes will be released to this web site on a timely basis.

How to contribute a trivial change

If you notice a trivial mistake simply email me a simple statement of what is wrong and words about your suggestion to fix it (if you have a suggestion). Don't email a 'diff'. If the change is truly trivial I will put it into the code base and issue a new release in a timely fashion.

How to contribute a larger change

Fill out the form generic_takebacklite.txt and fax/mail it to me (contact me before doing so, you will need contact information to do this). I'll mail/fax back the form with my signature. The point of the form is that you promise that you have the right to contribute the code. This form is identical to the SGI oss form except that it involves me not SGI. SGI is no longer involved.

Object Files for testing

Contributions of object files for libdwarf/dwarfdump testing are always welcome. The test harness with all the binary test files is available on sourceforge. See dwarf.html for the 'git clone' command to clone the test system.

Don't send proprietary object files unless you have discussed the submission with me. Note that you may choose to zero out the executable code in a test submission as libdwarf does not look at the actual instructions. Don't go changing the Elf headers unless you really know what you are doing: those Elf headers are used by libdwarf and libelf.

Contact me before sending object files, I will discard and ignore object files I don't expect to receive.

Ancient History

The original libdwarf copyright terms (in the early 1990's) were unique to SGI and required organizations to put certain acknowledgements in the documentation.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.