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XFree86 4.4: List of Rejecting Distributors Grows

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the about-this-small-print dept.

X 682

Bootsy Collins writes "Yesterday, we discussed Mandrake's decision to revert their release-in-development from XFree86 version 4.4 back to version 4.3 because of issues with the new XFree86 license. To update this, the list of OS distributors opting out of XF86 Version 4.4, and future releases, based on licensing concerns continues to grow. While Fedora seems to be "preparing to support multiple X11 implementations", Red Hat has explicitly stated that they have no plans to ship XFree86 v4.4 under its current license. Also add to the growing list list Debian, Gentoo, and OpenBSD."

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682 comments

What is the issue? (4, Interesting)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315037)

Why is the new liscence being rejected?

Steve

Re:What is the issue? (4, Informative)

// (81289) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315057)

It is incompatible with GPL licensed code which links with it. It's actually the GPL'd bit which gets its licence broken.

They will have to revert or face a fork IMHO

Re:What is the issue? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315176)

Actually the OpenBSD people (who fight license battles more than just about any other OS/distro -- even Debian) don't think it is equivalent to a BSD license either (the original license was equivalent to the BSD licence in case anyone is wondering: XFree was never GPL'd). David Dawes thinks still thinks it is. If he believes that, I hope he will change the wording back so everyone else believes it too....

Re:What is the issue? (4, Informative)

bartjan (197895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315065)

Believed to be not compatible with the GPL.

The license itself is probably Open Source, but distributors would break the license of every GPL'ed program that links with XFree86.

Re:What is the issue? (5, Interesting)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315105)

The really interesting bit is that there is a lot of GPL-ed code in XFree. Chunks have been copied from the linux kernel, and people like Alan Cox submitted patches. As this code is GPL, XFree must also be GPL in order to use it, or the Xfree teasm must rewrite these parts. I understood Alan Cox opposes his contributions to be placed under the new licensing scheme.

Isn't this the end of the story, then? (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315191)

So doesn't this mean that whoever comingled GPL'ed source code with non-GPL'ed source code broke someone's copyright?

Because either he/they broke the GPL terms, OR they performed in unauthorized GPL'ing of the other, non-GPL-using contributors' source code.

Re:What is the issue? (-1, Flamebait)

fnj (64210) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315076)

"Why is the new liscence being rejected?"

From an exhaustive reading of the previous thread on this issue, well, er, because GPL zealots are throwing a hissy fit tantrum over nothing.

Re:What is the issue? (0)

linuxhack_utk (598860) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315077)

I can't figure it out, either. Apparently, this change only applies to binary distributions. I don't really know what developers can do with a binary version, anyway. I would think they would be more concerned with strengthening the licensing of the source.

Re:What is the issue? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315086)

Why is the new liscence being rejected?

Because David Dawes decided to be a dick and change the words in the BSD license for some idiotic reason.

Re:What is the issue? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315138)

Among other things, it is not compatible with the GPL. That means that would be a GPL violation if a distribution chooses to supply GPL software linked with xlibs.

Lots of desktop apps are affected.

See the incompatibility with the GNU GPL [gnu.org] and more practical problems [gnu.org]

Re:What is the issue? (4, Informative)

Vaakku (698260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315162)

Here [slashdot.org] is a thread where you can read about why distro makers think that new XFree license is evil.

Re:What is the issue? (5, Informative)

nickos (91443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315265)

Taken from a usenet post by Paul Cannon from linux.debian.legal on 2004-01-30:

The new license has a reworded disclaimer, and a numbered list of terms instead of the terms simply being stated. It goes farther than the old one in specifying that the conditions apply to binary distributions as well as source.

The change that causes problems is the addition of the third condition:

"3. The end-user documentation included with the redistribution, if any, must include the following acknowledgment: "This product includes software developed by The XFree86 Project, Inc (http://www.xfree86.org/) and its contributors", in the same place and form as other third-party acknowledgments. Alternately, this acknowledgment may appear in the software itself, in the same form and location as other such third-party acknowledgments."

Several posters on slashdot and elsewhere have mentioned the similarity between this and the old, obnoxious BSD "advertising clause":

"3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement:
This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.
"

The FSF is quite clear (see here [gnu.org] and here [gnu.org]) in that they do not consider licenses with the advertising clause to be compatible with the GPL. In addition, the same reasons they give appear to apply also to the clause added by the XFree86 folks. That is, one cannot distribute something under the GPL with added restrictions like the one above quoted.

What about it? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315040)

Is this going to be a good thing or a bad thing in the long run?

Or to put that another way... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315107)

What is that all about? Is it good, or is it whack?

Frosty pissing? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315044)

I can't believe I'm trying for this.

heh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315045)

first post!

FISH! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315047)

I AM A FISH!

I agree. (-1, Interesting)

MooKore 2004 (737557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315051)

There are no compelling reasons why I should upgrade, I am happy with XFree86 4.3. NVidia's drivers work great on 4.3, so need to upgrade! KDE 3.2 and Gnome 2.4 both work well on it so they need not worry. What reasons do you need 4.4 for?

Re:I agree. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315248)

And since no one will ever want to buy a new computer with new hardware that requires new drivers we should be set forever. Dumbass troll.

I can understand but.. (5, Interesting)

Ymiris (733964) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315054)

Won't rejecting this actually hinder the linux desktop movement? Xfree is a huge factor in using linux, at least for a lot of the gamers, and we need the best support we can get.

Re:I can understand but.. (5, Interesting)

Ewan (5533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315109)

XFree 4.3 is not dramatically different from 4.4, and if the 4.3 fork were to gain momentum you'd find very quickly that people who had contributed code to 4.4 would simply resubmit it to the fork, on the basis that whoever wrote the original code can resubmit it to anyone they want unless they transferred the copyright to the Xfree project.

Ewan

Re:I can understand but.. (4, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315170)

The Linux desktop movement is based in an idea of Freedom. To accept a less than 'free' desktop for the 'free' desktop movement would not make sense.

(admittidly its not just any form of freedom the GPL is pushing)

Re:I can understand but.. (5, Insightful)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315262)

Well, XFree is pretty important, no doubt about that. But, as I see it, there are two different problems here that ultimatly will affect XFree86 more than the distros:

1) The version that falls under this new license in not very different from the previous one. There are improvements (and to some people they are big, e.g. support for they card) but it's not like it's a totally different codebase, most people with supported cards would probably not even notice the need. This is important because this makes things very easy to fork, and that is an option under consideration (read Theo's mail, for example). Couple that with freedesktop.org xlibs (see RedHat post) and you have the basis of a new X without this licencing problems (read Branden's (Debian) mail about more specific licencing issues).

2) I keep hearing reactions from X contributors that "XFree86 is not about Linux", basicaly asserting they would be fine or even better withour all this Linux distros bitching about their work. Well, if GNU/Linux and the BSD's drop the new X who exactly is going to use as a standard installed part of the system? Solaris x86 users? XFree86 importance and relevance is directly related to the widespread use of the Free Unices.

I would like to had that I'm quite happy about the rejection of the new licence being transversal across distributions and OS's; Mandrake, Debian, RedHat, Gentoo, OpenBSD, probably more will come once they reach a decision. This consensus is important because when it's just the FSF and Debian taking a position people dismiss it as "political rubish". Browse the previous discussions on this issue and you'll see people saying that this licence is only wrong for the FSF and Debian and that their will include the new XFree86 because they are pragmatics bla,bla,bla. This widespread agreement in rejecting the new licence shows that this issues *are* important and that in the long run *more* important that having a new graphic card supported.

I am, of course, very grateful to the XFree84 Project for their work. The fact that this licencing change was made in such an ungraceful mode does not affect that.

The Question (5, Insightful)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315055)

I suppose that the question here is: why? Is the new licence really that bad? Is this reaction warranted?

However, if this does become a serious dispute, I can see it being a good thing for the desktop. Development will have the branch from the last version of XFree86 4.3 into some new direction which, hopefully, will make for a better X in years to come.

Re:The Question (5, Informative)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315102)

On its face, the new license seems both reasonable and fair -- however, it also seems to create a lot of questions regarding how it should be interpreted [xfree86.org] and this is causing all the noise. My guess (and sincere hope) is that a clarification from, and possible minor re-write of the license by the XFree Project, Inc will clear this all up.

Re:The Question (5, Insightful)

JohnnyCannuk (19863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315253)

Thanks for that link.

I've been going through this story and the previous one looking for the exact reason everyone is pissed and the answer was on the XFree86 site.

After reading that, I would say the licence issue is a tempest in a teapot. The gang at XFree86 seems to be debating and willing to change the wording so the new licence is NOT incompatible with the GPL (as evidenced by some of the solutions in the above mentioned post).

It seems to me the REAL issue here is a personality conflict between certain members of the XFree86 team (mostly David Dawes) and the rest of the community. So much so that we now have possible forks and alternatives springing up. Well guess what, this is nothing new in the open source world. Remember JBoss? It is well known in Java open source circles that Marc Fluery and a few others in the current JBoss organization are twats and thoroughly disliked by a large number of developers. So much so that a large chunk of the original JBoss team broke away and formed their own company and there are now real viable alternatives to JBoss springing up (Geronimo from Apache). But none of that means the code is bad, or the product is bad or the licence is wrong. Like it or not XFree86 is still the only real alternative to a commerial XServer right now, just as JBoss is the only real alternative to commercial J2EE servers.

I say, let them work it out like adults. If they can't, when XOuvert or freedesktop are mature enougth to be a real alternative, use one of them and move on.

Re:The Question (0, Informative)

spacecowboy420 (450426) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315116)

From what I understand - correct me if I am wrong - The license basically says "We're GPL, but some files included may not be - you better check those out for their specific licenses". Which means you have to deal with every single file associated with xf86 individually and there is a bunch. Most are saying that this is too big of a hassle and likely to be a great source of pain - and simply not worth it.

Re:The Question (2, Informative)

Asmodai (13932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315184)

The license says none of that kind. Did you even *read* the new license?

Labeling this as informative shows just how careful people read what they comment about.

Re:The Question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315130)

I suppose that the question here is: why?

Oh, come on. It's been extensively discussed in the previous Slashdot story linked to above. Do you really need to be spoon-fed your information like a little kid?

Re:The Question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315143)

Not everyone has time to go back and research everything ever talked about dumbass.

Re:The Question (5, Informative)

ogre57 (632144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315146)

Short answer, yes, for binary distribution it is that bad. For more [slashdot.org] than you want to know ..

Re:The Question (3, Informative)

Asmodai (13932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315147)

There are already some forks.

The license was changed on some files owned by the XFree86 Project.

One of the major nits, as can be seen on the mailing list, is that code flows from XFree86 to say the Linux framebuffer project, which can incorporate the code, but it can never flow back due to it being GPL (viral nature and such).

The license only requests proper attribution in software and/or documentation like other third parties are getting.

Nothing spectacular if you ask me. Only thing that's getting people in a knot is that it is incompatible with the GPL's 6th clause (funny how people actually rate a 3 clause license with the only requirement proper attribution to be more restrictive than the god knows how many clauses GPL, but that's another discussion).

I fail to see what people are making a fuss about.

Re:The Question (5, Interesting)

markbthomas (123470) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315203)

The license only requests proper attribution in software and/or documentation like other third parties are getting.

The license doesn't request attribution, it requires it. That is the problem. Can you see what would happen if every time I started my computer, it printed out the names of all the people and organisations that were involved in making it? It could take days to boot :)

It's just vanity.

Re:The Question (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315270)

its only required IN THE DOCUMENTATION or alternatively IN THE SOFTWARE WHERE OTHER THIRD PARTIES ARE LISTED! no where does it mention displaying it on bootup. does your pc currently list third party software devs on bootup? why would xfree suddenly appear there then? i also fail to see the problem with the new licence. seems like its just for the sake of kicking up a fuss to me

freedesktop? (5, Insightful)

peterprior (319967) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315058)

Looks like KeithP's freedesktop.org xserver is looking more attractive all the time..

Re:freedesktop? (4, Insightful)

Ianoo (711633) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315267)

If the worst comes to the worst, we can always stick around on XF4.3 for however long it takes him to make XServer production-ready code. With Red Hat, Debian, Gentoo and OpenBSD potentially looking for alterative solutions, it seems there might be sufficient clout to persuade nVidia and ATI to write new drivers for the new server, too.

Here's hoping. This will damage the Linux-on-the-desktop movement, but it's very good fortune that an alternative is nearly ready to step in to the fray.

Re:freedesktop? (-1)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315289)

One of the most interesting features of freedesktop is that it's lower level than XFree. You can implement (and there already is an implementation) X over freedesktop. And not as in a high level kludge like the X servers for Win32, but as in close knit to the underlying freedesktop core.

Forking hell? (4, Insightful)

byolinux (535260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315062)

What are the chances someone will take 4.3 and fork it, and carrying on development as free software?

Hopefully, eventually, XFree would realise how much they borked their userbase, and stop this sillyness.

I'd like to bet that a good proportion of their userbase comes from Distros, and if the distros drop 4.4, they're going to be hit rather badly.

I'm no XFree86 expert, but surely any changes committed by developers prior to the license change will be still under the previous license and therefore a good starting block for any forking.

Re:Forking hell? (5, Interesting)

kevin_ka (753643) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315093)

I'm no XFree86 expert, but surely any changes committed by developers prior to the license change will be still under the previous license and therefore a good starting block for any forking.

afaik your 100% right there. And the question isn't if someone will fork ist but when. (unless they change the license back in time)

Re:Forking hell? (4, Insightful)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315128)

You can even start from the 4.4 beta as that is the last GPL-ed version. All you then have to do is read the changelog / bug reports (not the code!) to get it into 'true' 4.4

Re:Forking hell? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315145)

Why do we even care about licensing?

At my company, we just take open source and do what we want with it. Who is going to complain? No one, open source has no monied interest behind it to enforce licensing terms.

We just compile it in as our own and then don't tell anybody.

The GPL and other licenses like it are just paper tigers.

Guess what (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315066)

I guess they don't get the advantage of the new versions. This Open Source Cognitive Dissonance will not stand!

Will we be stuck behind the times? (4, Interesting)

Larry David (738420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315067)

With this shift back a version, does it mean we'll lose a bunch of features, stability, etc? It seems like this is petty squabbling for squabbling's sake. This reminds me of the PHP fiasco with MySQL. Hardcore PHPers are sticking with the sluggish MySQL 3 family because of the licensing on MySQL 4.

Reading their 'diff' of the new and old licenses is a waste of time, as it's pretty much:

- all the old license
+ all the new license

So could someone break down the basic point of the changes? As far as I make it out, it's a simple case of 'we want to have everyone who contributed be credited with every copy', or is it somewhat deeper than that?

Perhaps distros should distribute XFree86 4.4 as source only and have it compile in a 'firsttime' sort of system when you boot Linux up after installation. From what I read in the XFree86 license, this would work. Could this turn into a BSD-like 'build all' for Linux?

Re:Will we be stuck behind the times? (1)

notamac (750472) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315156)

It seems to me that if Gentoo isn't supporting it then maybe that's not an option?
Can anyone clarify this?
Portage is just a build all for linux

Re:Will we be stuck behind the times? (5, Informative)

thelasttemptation (703311) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315157)

except if you notice that openbsd and gentoo, both source only compiles won't include it. The problem is the licence is simlar to bsd's but requires extra credit to be placed all over the distro. Anything that links to the xfree code that is gpled or uses a bsd licence is breaking the gpl/bsd licence because of the extra stuff they need to do in order to link to the libarys. In order to make a distro with 4.4 included, you would need to rewrite every app that links to X to the X licence, else you are breaking the gpl and as a distro maintainer, you'd be responcable for the breaks.

NVIDIA? (5, Insightful)

pyr0 (120990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315079)

This brings up a concern about NVIDIA drivers to me. Say NVIDIA only continues to release new drivers compatible with xfree86 4.4 and up. That's *really* going to put pressure on the linux distributions to include 4.4. I wonder how hard it would be for the recent X forks to maintain NVIDIA driver compatibility?

Re:NVIDIA? (2, Insightful)

byolinux (535260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315096)

Aren't the NVIDIA drivers non-free anyway?

Re:NVIDIA? (2, Informative)

pyr0 (120990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315121)

You are right, they are non-free. That's not the issue here. The issue is that NVIDIA cards are currently the best you can use for 3d acceleration in linux. Yeah, ATI has binary drivers now too, but from what I understand they tend to be unstable and games don't run so well. It would be a hard pill for me to swallow if I couldn't play some games in X anymore.

Re:NVIDIA? (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315164)

From what I can see of the license, all it would require would be for NVIDIA to include 4.4 sources and do a .configure && make && make install as part of their install, if they want to be so stupid.

As ever, the current drivers would continue to work, and if they work well... you wouldn't *have* to upgrade.

Re:NVIDIA? (1)

pyr0 (120990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315210)

Ok, let's say a year down the line I buy NVIDIA's latest and greatest 3d card. It will probably only be supported with their latest drivers. If those drivers only work with xfree86 4.4.x, and my distribution of choice refuses to provide a package for xfree86 4.4.x, that puts it upon me to download the source code and build it myself.

Now this doesn't bother me too much because I'm kind of a build-from-source guy anyway, but let's say Joe Sixpack got a bug in his ear and decided to give linux a try. He heard his l33t NVIDIA card will play 3d games in linux, but doesn't have a clue about this whole licensing mess. He then can't figure out why UT2010 or whatever it's currently on won't play, and decides this linux thing is crap and goes back to something that works.

Re:NVIDIA? (1)

VargrX (104404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315223)

From what I can see of the license, all it would require would be for NVIDIA to include 4.4 sources and do a .configure && make && make install as part of their install

if only building XFree from source where that simple.

Re:NVIDIA? (5, Insightful)

gukin (14148) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315238)

It is _VERY_ unlikely nVidia will cut off support at 4.4 and above. nVidia makes very nice chipsets but more importantly makes excellent drivers that work with M$, Linux, FreeBSD etc. They are out to make money, they make money by selling products people want AND PRODUCTS RECOMMENDED BY OTHERS; this is where Linux support is important. Linux users are geeks, people ask geeks what kind of HW to get. I enjoy gaming (especially under Linux) so when someone asks me what kind of video card to get, I recommend nVidia. If nVidia told the Linux base to "stuff it", they would lose sales. They've done an excellent job of keeping the drivers for their products up to date, easy to use , fast and stable. I doubt they are going to change.

Sorry if I sound like a fanboy but video _is_ important and nVidia cards are the best supported and work the best under Linux for just about everything; I will continue to purchase and recommend their products.

Re:NVIDIA? (2, Insightful)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315241)

nVidia's drivers run on any XFree86 version >= 4.1.0, so this is not an issue. The real problem is with ATI, which for some reason seems to be unable to provide drivers that work for more than one version.

Re:NVIDIA? (1)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315279)

It's not like one version of XFree86 of another will fall off the face of the earth. If the distributions dont package version 4.4, instead putting in version 4.3, there is nothing preventing the end user from going and getting 4.4 for themselves.

Someone will even come up with clever packaging schemes that let you drop a 4.4 package directly into a clean (or not so clean) new install of most of the major distributors. I wouldn't be surprised if the distributors themselves don't put up some help info on how to better integrate the 4.4 install with their system, should you go get it yourself. Their only problem with it is actually distributing it themselves. It's not as as if they don't want you to use it.

If gaming in Linux is that important, then it will happen. Just because RedHat or others don't package 4.4 by default doesn't mean the end user can't use it. It's just a little less convenient.

I Love the smell of Lawyers.... (1, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315080)

in the morning.

I mean, come on folks how much does this smack of the one thing everyone in the FSF/OSF movement dreads ? Namely a few developers getting too big for their boots and wanting to turn their free-software into the next Microsoft. Thus missing two key points

1) They haven't been given a monopoly by IBM

2) The reason anyone uses it is because it isn't a monopoly given by IBM.

Somebody somewhere wants to build an empire, and has applied .com maths to their business plan. Namely "If 100,000 people pay us just $1 a year that will pay for everything, and a new car" missing the fact that 100,000 people can bugger off elsewhere.

Ummm I wonder if IBM or Sun have ever had to write an XServer...

Re:I Love the smell of Lawyers.... (-1, Troll)

youngerpants (255314) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315123)

"Ummm I wonder if IBM or Sun have ever had to write an XServer..."

Or SCO for that matter

Sorry, couldnt resist it, mod me troll if you have to

This is what I can't stand about the open source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315088)

community. They try and use these strong-arm tactics to force developers into using the GPL. Well guess what? The X11 programmers are writing FREE SOFTWARE. Free as in they-are-not-being-paid. They could care less if the distributions choose to not use their software. Linux will be in an interesting position w/o a grphical desktop.

No. (1)

Anonytroll (751214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315195)

This is a question of legality, not community. We are facing an incompatibility of licenses, not just some petty squabble.

Re:This is what I can't stand about the open sourc (0, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315202)

They're changing their license, even though XFree contains GPL code.

They might well be writing FREEWARE (don't confuse gratis with freedom, there) but I think they probably would care if their code wasn't being used by anywhere near as many people as it was previously.

GNU/Linux wouldn't be without a graphical desktop, there's a wealth of projects out there.

Please take a look at http://www.freedesktop.org/ [freedesktop.org]

Re:This is what I can't stand about the open sourc (2, Insightful)

hatrisc (555862) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315245)

what's the point of giving away your software if no one wants to use it? i could release a script that adds two numbers together and prints it out and release it under some say.. Y license, which happens to be free as in beer and as in freedom. now, does it matter if i give this away or make it free (i.e. freedom) if no one bothers to use it? how does the software evolve without a userbase? if joe sickspack (i hate saying sixpack) can't compile it, and distro-Z doesn't provide packages, and joe GNU won't compile it because it's not a true free license... then how does it become better? why bother?

Every cloud has a silver lining (5, Interesting)

kinnell (607819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315089)

This could be a good thing. If this continues to be a problem, it could drive a lot of people to the freedesktop.org XServer implementation [freedesktop.org]. This looks like it will come to be a much better implementation anyway, and will almost certainly develop faster in the future, given the same resources as XFree86. If a considerable number of developers/distributions worked on getting the XServer up to speed, with proper driver support, it would probably be better for everyone.

Re:Every cloud has a silver lining (3, Insightful)

cozziewozzie (344246) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315190)

The fdo xserver looks truly mouthwatering, but I believe that all the drivers will have to be rewritten to truly take advantage of it. If that is the case, not only will all the great free XFree DRI drivers have to be ported over, but ATI and nVidia would have to be convinced to rewrite their drivers to this new architecture.

Yeah, let's all start holding our breaths. At the moment, the fdo xserver is completely hardware unaccelerated and until the drivers are written, it will stay that way, negating any of its advantages. I really hope this project succeeds, but things like these make me worry.

Why do they have a problem? (3, Interesting)

pacsman (629749) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315091)

Comparing the old and new license it appears all they added was the requirement to place the copyright in the documentation of binary releases, include an acknowledgement of the XFree86 project, and forbid the use of "he name of The XFree86 Project, Inc" in advertising. It's not like they're closing the source, so what exactly is the problem the distros have with the new license? The only thing I can think of is a general resistance to cahnging licenses mid-stream, regardless of the nature of the change.

Re:Why do they have a problem? (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315189)

so what exactly is the problem the distros have with the new license?

For one thing, any additional restrictions make a license incompatible with the GPL... That's enough to stop most everyone right there.

Re:Why do they have a problem? (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315213)

I don't see any problem either, even with linking GPLd stuff against it. After all the additions needed to make XFree compliant with it's license and the GPL have nothing to do with sourcecode but with copyright notices. I see no big deal in mixing both licenses and complying with both. No?

Re:Why do they have a problem? (5, Insightful)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315217)

The new license requires you to place acknowledgement "This product includes software developed by The XFree86 Project, Inc (http://www.xfree86.org/) and its contributors", and requires for it to be "in the same place and form as other third-party acknowledgments". Innocent as it sounds, it's actually a helluva loophole for lawyers that could sue your pants off for simply advertising, say, "with full iTunes DRM compatibility" on the cover of a boxed edition of your distro. Unless you really want to write "with full iTunes DRM compatibility and this product includes software developed by The XFree86 Project, Inc (http://www.xfree86.org/) and its contributors".

Version Changes (3, Insightful)

loserbert (697119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315094)

Why the hell did they pick 4.4 to make this change on?

Don't major changes usually happen on whole numbers? Shouldn't they at least wait until 5.0 to change the license.?

Use Xouvert or FreeDesktop (4, Insightful)

julie-h (530222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315115)

Use Xouvert or FreeDesktop and it is the end of the story.

If I remember correct then is Xouvert an early fork of X 4.4.

FreeDesktop is of course a long term better choice, but I don't think there is a working version yet.

Re:Use Xouvert or FreeDesktop (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315175)

But the FreeDesktop libraries will be LGPL whish is much much worse, because then we will have ZERO comertial applications.

Free software faggots probably wont mind, but for those of us who work for a living the FreeDesktop initiative is really worrysome.

Re:Use Xouvert or FreeDesktop (3, Informative)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315274)

"But the FreeDesktop libraries will be LGPL whish is much much worse, because then we will have ZERO comertial applications." No. GTK and GNOME's libs are all LGPL, yet we see plenty commertial (sic) apps. The problem is with GPL libs, ie. Qt. "Free software faggots probably wont mind, but for those of us who work for a living the FreeDesktop initiative is really worrysome." Plenty of people make a living on Free Software, you know.

Re:Use Xouvert or FreeDesktop (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315200)

Given that Xouvert [xouvert.org] is practically dead, this really leaves FreeDesktop [freedesktop.org] as the only other alternative.

If you think this is flamebait, visit the projects' websites and take a convince yourself of the facts.

Mercatur dot net (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315119)

Mercatur... was there ever a sexier babe with a webcam?

Mercatur - my boner aches for thee.

www.mercatur.net

This sucks... (3, Interesting)

jarich (733129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315122)

The card in my laptop had support coming in 4.4!

I haven't been keeping up... what's wrong with the new license?

If the new license is bad, what's gonna replace it? Another type of X?

Doesn't seem as ugly as TeX's license (2, Informative)

niminimi (541436) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315127)

IIRC, you're not allowed to
distribute modified versions of TeX,
only patches alongside "pure" TeX.

So how can this be worse?

Re:Doesn't seem as ugly as TeX's license (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315211)

Well, the major difference is that TeX is as close to bug free as I expect I'll ever see a major piece of software to be.

And Don Knuth is a nice man, where as David Dawes went to the "Theo de Raadt Scholl Of Charm."

Re:Doesn't seem as ugly as TeX's license (2, Informative)

Satai (111172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315252)

You're thinking of qmail [cr.yp.to]. TeX was put into the public domain; it's even been included in many commercial products. See TUG [tug.org] for more information.

Re:Doesn't seem as ugly as TeX's license (1)

como-genic (732225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315269)

Thats because TeX has had its features frozen, and the originator does not want disperate (potentially incompatible) versions flying about.

I don't mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315129)

I don't mind the new license, mainly because I don't care about the GPL and the FSF in general.

I'm not fond of X at all, but XF86 works pretty well considering using such an arcane architecture.

I hope NetBSD and FreeBSD use the new XF86, so I don't have to incorperate it myself; and if the others, like Linux distros, don't I don't really care as I don't use them.

XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315141)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they would make games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Text of License (4, Informative)

Bouncings (55215) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315148)

Announcement: Modification to the base XFree86(TM) license.

After a thorough re-examination of the XFree86(TM) license and reviewing
how it fits in with the Project's long-stated licensing philosophy ("You
can do what you like with the code except claim that you wrote it."),
The XFree86 Project, Inc. has made some changes to its base license.
This license review was prompted by a desire to ensure that XFree86 and
its contributors are receiving due credit for their work. The text of
the modified license can be found at
http://www.xfree86.org/legal/licenses.html.

The purpose of these changes is to strengthen the "except claim you
wrote it" clause of the Project's licensing philosophy regarding binary
distributions of XFree86. While the original license covered this
adequately for source code redistribution, it has always been lacking
where binary redistribution was concerned.

This modified license falls easily within the long-standing XFree86
licensing policy, and so there has been no change to the classes of
licenses acceptable for code contributed to XFree86. In fact, some
contributions to XFree86 were covered by a similar license already.
Contributors to XFree86 remain free to retain copyright on the code they
contribute, and can also choose the license for their code within the
long-standing XFree86 licensing policy.

The license change applies to the base XFree86 license, and to source
files that explicitly carry a copyright notice in the name of The XFree86
Project, Inc. Copyrights and licenses in the names of others will not
be affected by this change. Furthermore, only a subset of such files
with an explicit copyright notice in the Project's name will initially
carry the modified license, which is the core XFree86 components, and
the source files where there is no explicit author list. The license
in the remaining files with an XFree86 copyright will only be changed
with permission from the listed authors.

The license change will be fully effective as of the 4.4.0 release.
The initial draft of the changes will be included in 4.4.0 RC3
(4.3.99.903). A source diff showing the initial draft of the changes
is being made available for review with this announcement, and can be
found at . All XFree86
contributors are invited to review the changes, and notify us of errors
and omissions so that they can be corrected before the 4.4.0 release.
Such notifications, as well as comments about the licensing changes
should be directed to the Forum@XFree86.org list. XFree86 contributors
are also encouraged to review the license change, and let us know if
they wish to make similar changes to licenses in their name.

* XFree86 is a trademark of The XFree86 Project, Inc., and is pending
registration.

Xfree86 -- Dustbin? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315155)

Looking at the list of distributions who say they are not going to entertain using Xfree86 with the v1.1 license, it would seem that all of the major distros are represented (except Suse?).

If that's the case, usage of XFree86 will simply stop at rev 4.3.mumble or go away entirely. I'd be pretty surprised if the XFree guys didn't back down. The alternative is a slow spiral into obscurity.

Gnome and KDE.. (1)

alexc (37361) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315165)

How will this effect the future of Gnome and KDE?

Re:Gnome and KDE.. (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315275)

It won't. They can use whatever X server you happen to be running. Worst case scenario is 4.3 is what's used until a suitable fork is up and running with OpenGL layering and whatever other whizzbang features some future Gnome 3.x wants.

Kudos to the XFree86 project!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315169)

Finally, they figured out how they can give us a decent/better/faster/nicer/stronger/cooler/less bloated X-Windows.

By ceasing to exist (practically)!

Anyone? (2, Interesting)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315183)

So, is *anyone* going to use it?

I guess they have no choice but to change the licence back with very red faces all round!

Mind you, X is an integral portion of desktop *nix - could someone have set this up on purpose?

So let me get this straight... (1, Insightful)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315198)

They're having a hissy fit over a license that requires you to acknowledge if/when you use xfree86 and that tells you to incluse that acknowledgement in the same place you include other acknowledgements about your software?

Oh great, here we go... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315206)

Although this license issue is a pain, we'll see all sorts of people claiming that "XFree86 sucks anyway" and "freedesktop.org's X server will be much better". What problems do people have with XFree86, that transparency and other superficial redundancies are going to solve?

God forbid we have a windowing system that:

1) Puts out well-tested, stable releases
2) Generally sticks to a solid release schedule
3) Doesn't depend on a zillion other libraries
4) Will still work happily on 486s

XFree86 has been a very good project. The freedesktop.org X server, though, will be very difference once the GNOME and KDE folks get involved. The nice, clean config file will be replaced by some arcane XML format. Features will be piled in on a whim, without long-term planning. It'll require libfoo-1.6.1pl3 but not any earlier or later. It'll take twice as long to start up, and need 64MB RAM to work.

Look at what's happening to GNOME and KDE (overengineering, bloat, chasing Moore's law). Now imagine what'll happen when these same developers start working on an X server. Aaargh.

Note: this is NOT flamebait; it's a serious issue. XFree86 has been a flagship open source project, and still values elegance, efficiency and sane releases.

How exactly... (5, Insightful)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315207)

is the advertising clause incompatible with the GPL?

Yes, I know the FSF say it is, but it is a simple assertion that I have been unable to find explicit justification for. The only justification given in their statement is that it is awkward and impractical when in common use, this does not make it incompatible, it just means they don't like it.
Not the same thing.

I can see their point about not liking it, and not wanting to use it, I just don't see an explicit incompatibility.

It's the advertising clause stupid! (5, Informative)

bsdnazz (114881) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315220)

The xfree86 V4.4 license adds

2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution, and in the same place and form as other copyright, license and disclaimer information.

3. The end-user documentation included with the redistribution, if any, must include the following acknowledgment: "This product includes software developed by The XFree86 Project, Inc (http://www.xfree86.org/) and its contributors", in the same place and form as other third-party acknowledgments. Alternately, this acknowledgment may appear in the software itself, in the same form and location as other such third-party acknowledgments.

vs.

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html

License already been changed/fixed?? (1, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315226)

So I take a look at the new license [xfree86.org]. I'm thinking "What the hell is the problem?"

So I read some comments and see this [xfree86.org] reference to a mailing list post about some of the licensing issues. In there I see things that don't exist in the license on the XFree86 site (like a reference to clause 6 even though the XF86 license only has 4 clauses).

So what's up?

WTF... (3, Interesting)

perly-king-69 (580000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315240)

WTF is wrong with the XFree86 guys? At a time when the project's existence is at its most debatable, they change their license (why?) to enable most disties to drop the latest version. They may be technically smart, but they seem politically naieve.

Debian rejects 4.4? Ha! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8315242)

Why don't we first concentrate on getting 4.3 into unstable, hmmm?

Doesn't the GPL say... (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315251)

...that you can't add additional restrictions to it? Let's face it, this one is pretty benign and I'm guessing it's in response to SCO. You can't claim this work as yours. Hard to argue that's unreasonable.

The kicker is not this reasonable little change or the next one or the next, until the day when someone wants to add something that is a problem. So I can see why it's drawing a lot of reaction. It's not the nature of the change, it's the fact of the addition. I can kind of see where both sides are coming from.

Just fork 4.3 and get it over with. It's not worth everyone getting their knickers in a wad. My laptop can wait another year.

The new licence hurts us all! (-1)

MooKore 2004 (737557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315261)

To all of you that wonder what the problem is, the fact is that it hurts everyone! The licence is incompatible with the GPL! Any program that is licenced under the GPL will be illegal to run on XFree86 4.4! Since the majority of Software for Linux is GPL, this is a big problem. It also hurts other operating systems thats why OpenBSD is refusing it too because a lot of BSD software is GPL! It is not a "hissy fit" (sic) like This asshat put it [slashdot.org], mod him down!

Strange behaviour... (5, Interesting)

phrasebook (740834) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315276)

What's with the people making these announcements? I read the comments by XFree86's David Dawes a while back - he only wrote about 2 lines or so, and hardly replied when people started asking for clarification.

Then Theo of OpenBSD in this thread [theaimsgroup.com] writes a quick response rejecting the whole thing, again with absolutely no explaintation as to why, and what the specific problems are.

Then check out the posts in that thread from Darren Reed, getting shot down as a troll straight away for inquiring what the problem with it actually is!

This kind of discussion and attitude floating around turns me off OSS a little. The last thing I want to see is multiple implementations of X servers in wide use, different ones on different distributions, some doing some things, others doing things a little differently. And of course yet more duplication of effort, re-writing code, etc. Seems a shame. Seems like we just have more fragmentation to look forward to.

Maybe they could put all the credits into .. (1)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8315278)

Maybe they could put all the credits into a separate file which states who did what ?
I'm sure this is more easy to handle than having to read all files for hidden gotchas.
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