Linked by Adam S on Fri 18th Mar 2005 04:01 UTC, submitted by J@F
X11, Window Managers The XFree86 4.5.0 windowing system has been released. Says the website, "It is on our website and ready to download. 4.5.0 was born yesterday and the delivery I hear wa [sic] smooth. Get a copy now. It's just terrific....details to follow."
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I forget
by Charles on Fri 18th Mar 2005 04:24 UTC

What was the reason we were supposed to not like them, again? I forget. Some clause changed in the 4.4 Final license agreement, but I forget what it was. That and because they were not developing what people wanted. Please, someone remind me. I remember being put off by them, but I can't remember why now.

P.S. I'm honestly not trying to troll. I can't recall what happened.

by Jack on Fri 18th Mar 2005 04:46 UTC

Any major distro, besides Debian, still using Xfree86? I know most distros have already jumped ships to

Xfree 4.5
by Mario Vazquez on Fri 18th Mar 2005 04:57 UTC

A bit of competition is always good, but unless they return to their original licence and/or provide an out of this world experience, I don't think many people will return to them.

by Lumbergh on Fri 18th Mar 2005 05:00 UTC

What was the reason we were supposed to not like them, again? I forget

What's scary is that you're not trolling with that comment.

Details to follow?
by Devon on Fri 18th Mar 2005 05:03 UTC

What, they want us to download and install it before they will even tell us why we might want to bother? I'll look again when the have those 'details' available. ;)

by Haplo on Fri 18th Mar 2005 05:09 UTC


For about as long as I can remember people had been complaining X was bloated and had crappy adn not enough features

Since XOrg started I haven't heard a peep in that vein.

Basically XOrg has awesome and talented people working for it (One of the most talented was origionally with xfree but they booted him much to the out cry of most anyone who had any hope for anything cool coming out of xfree)
It's also much more open, and this includes but is not limteded to the licence
The whole development process is more open.
XFree had burocracies who werent even sure what their purpose was anymore.

Now its still putting out stagnant releases that have no new features because they fired anyone who was good at writing anything cool

And Xorg has all the cool people who are unrestrained

Thats why we have things like composite, xdamage, etc all coming out, plus the new more modular server etc etc.
Real double buffering with real transparency. It took xorg no time to start and get these working and now they are runnig ahead with all sorts of new things.

Who would want to use old xfree (if they could) when it is old and crufty and has none of the good new features

IMHO composite makes X *faster* due to the fact that now when a window is "damaged" by another window moving over it, it doesn't have to redraw it self. X just blits it.
So it not only gives us ,ore and cool features, it makes things faster by design

I am so the xorg fan boy ;)

XFree, does anybody care?
by TheDude on Fri 18th Mar 2005 05:11 UTC

They were too good for the GPL or BSD license, is anybody using XFree besides NetBSD?

OpenBSD explains the XFree86 controversy
by TheDude on Fri 18th Mar 2005 05:16 UTC

The project leader of XFree86 had a "credit where credit is due" problem with current licensing. The OpenBSD project exposed these problems.

Dumbest License Change Ever
by Bernard on Fri 18th Mar 2005 05:18 UTC

I fully believe in the right of anyone to choose any licence they want for software they write. That said, however, the licence change with XFree86 4.4 has to go down in history as the dumbest ever, even in terms of the stated goal of the change. XFree86 was not developing very quickly but it was definitely still the most popular free X implementation. Then, in order for the developers to get the credit they felt they were due, they added the advertsising clause. This provided just the nudge that people needed to move to Well, you don't get a lot of credit for working on a project that no one uses. It's almost like they wanted to sabotage their own project.

Too late....
by Archangel on Fri 18th Mar 2005 06:16 UTC

Interesting that they're still going, but frankly nobody is going to use it any more. The license debacle was such an obviously bad idea I can't believe they didn't think of it - sure, they can choose whatever license they want, but if it's not free software any more then distros with a social contract like Debian and Gentoo aren't going to ship it.
Not _totally_ surprising that it got forked after that.

V4.5 may be wonderful and all, but it won't be available for my distribution, or practically any others. Hence it's pretty much useless...

Is it they?
by Chris on Fri 18th Mar 2005 06:32 UTC

Or is it just the maintainer now?

If an XFree falls...
by Anonymous on Fri 18th Mar 2005 07:43 UTC

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody's around, does it make a sound?

by Buck on Fri 18th Mar 2005 07:56 UTC

BTW, anyone looked at that change log? Georgina O. Economou sounds so much like the computer-generated 'persons' that spam your mailbox!

xorg works well with netbsd
by tech_user on Fri 18th Mar 2005 08:04 UTC

in case people are put off netbsd by the previous post, i've installed xorg on netbsd many times and with sucess. pkgsrc works very well.

To Xorg fanboys
by ulib on Fri 18th Mar 2005 08:41 UTC

Even if Xorg is now the way to go for FreeBSD and for many linux distros, it's nice to have some competition. I'm sure that if XFree achieves some brilliant technical results, and maybe if it switches back to a non-ambiguous MIT or BSD license (not that the present license is very far from those, but whatever), it will find again the interest of major BSDs and major Linux distros.
Competition is good.

if a tree
by ssam on Fri 18th Mar 2005 09:56 UTC

if a tree falls and no one blogs about it...

Xfree and xorg
by Tyr on Fri 18th Mar 2005 10:28 UTC

So do the XFree people backport the xorg enhancements at all ?
I think it's nice they're still going despite the schism by the way.

Xfree is irrelevant
by Israel Thomas on Fri 18th Mar 2005 10:41 UTC

Moving from Xfree to Xorg was one of the best decisions I made.
Xorg is faster and more stable.

All the major distributions have shifted to XOrg.
The best developers are now working on cutting edge features for Xorg.

Why use a product that has very few developers left and is stagant ?

Xfree made itself irrelevant.
The idiotic licensing row made everyone drop it.

BTW , under Gentoo, you can still use Xfree if you are mad, but
Xorg is what is supported.

not XFree86 nor Xorg is irrelevant
by samiky on Fri 18th Mar 2005 11:02 UTC

i use them both and while Xorg seems to provide some nice extensions, Xfree was definitively more more stable. think about one issue: Xorg is taking some Xfree code from version 4.4 rc2 and incorporate into 6.7 . after that, xfree switches off from the old licence to a new one, and continues to bring more releases: 4.4 final and now 4.5 final.

i like both projects and find them open source totally and good. personally i don't care if my favorite distrib(linux or bsd) use xorg or xfree, but i have more confidence in xfree.

don't want to troll, but speak for my favorite X.

by verbat on Fri 18th Mar 2005 12:02 UTC

Does XOrg do double buffering? it does not seem to me.
And, *what* should we look for in release 4.5 of xfree?
And, the comment "not XFree86 nor Xorg is irrelevant", samiki do you have the feeling XOrg stopped fixing bugs since they stopped taking code from xfree?

by skamp on Fri 18th Mar 2005 12:11 UTC
by d on Fri 18th Mar 2005 12:22 UTC

Has anyone done a thorough comparison of DirectFB vs XOrg vs XFREE86?

v Completely illiterate webmaster
by Chris Howells on Fri 18th Mar 2005 12:50 UTC
oh for the memories....
by karl on Fri 18th Mar 2005 13:05 UTC

I just went to the xfree86 site. I quickly found the release notes by simply bumping the RELNOTES URL version (s/4.4/4.5/g). I looked through the notes and saw absolutely nothing remarkable....bug fixes and what not..probably important for some specific hardware..but nothing really worth mentioning.

I then went and did a tour through the mailing lists. I followd the developments around the fork at the time it occurred but I wanted to go back and look at it with the advantage of time perspetive. Man how depressing. The forum list was opened in march 2003. If you look at the forum mailing lists you quickly noticed that for all practical purposes the forum list died in June 2004-*if mailing lists participation is any indication of liveliness*, which I would argue is the case. In fact I found about 10 substantial posts to the forum mailing list from June/2004-March/2005-99% percent of all posts are pure spam.

And although the devel list still shows some activity ('I'm not dead yet') it is clear that there *is no* xfree86 community anymore. *to clarify* it seems to me as if the forum list was the place where xfree86 interconnected with the rest of the community concerning the future of xfree86-this list simply died-which in my book clearly illustrates this. Is it not symbolic that the list created for community discussion of the future of xfree86 died? What can we deduce from this ? a) the community died-whatever 'community' once existed is now focused on xorg, b) the future of xfree86 died-obviously with no community support tthere cannot be any future of xfree86 worth talking about.

It is obvious from the devel list that some are still working actively on xfree86-but that project has become utterly irrelevant to the community of developers, distributors and users which originally constituted whatever community there once was. I would be really surprised if 5% of previous xfree86 users still use xfree86. Proof of what Waldo Bastien recently flippantly(and with tongue in cheek) stated about KDE not needing 'users'....

NetBSD is now switching to xorg and slackware already switched, although still hosts a page listing distros which still use xfree86 I seriously doubt that it current (nov. 2004, ie. almost 6 months old).

I am glad the fork took place, no regrets whatsoever, but it is simply sad to see how a once great project just committed suicide like it did. Luckily the vast majority of former xfree86 devs followed the fork-I imagine that only a tiny handful stayed with xfree86.It was painful, in re-reading the forum list, to see how paranoid and defensive the loyal xfree86 devs became. Time also played a large role in the whole process- by the time the license change took place it was only a nail on the coffin.

The actual fork took place in 2003 whereas the license change came almost exactly one year later. Up until the bitter end many were actively trying to get David Dawes to reconsider the licensing change-but undoing the negative consequences of the license change would not have mended the damage already done. In hindsight it is very clear that David Dawes had already grokked what had transpired and his licensing change was just making clear what already had become evident-the community had abandoned xfree86 and consequently xfree86 owed nothing to the community.

Perhaps my take is a bit too sentimental. Obviously with the rapid improvements we have seen from xorg this whole fiasco has been overall positive-but positive from the point of view of a user who embraces xorg-there is no 'we' that consists of xfree86/xorg/distributors/vendors/users-so the question for whom this effect has been 'overall positive' is glaringly open and unanswerable-or put differently is only answerable in a totally non-commensurable discourse(ie. non-discourse).

'Die Skeptiker meinen, daß das Nichts, von dem Sie ausgehen, nicht dasjenige Nichts ist, woraus es resultiert.'
(Einleitung, Phänomelogie des Geistes)

Still no driver for my card
by xfs on Fri 18th Mar 2005 14:27 UTC

Still no driver for my card I have in my laptop (Aspire 1362). It is a Via K8M800-card, and it is not supported by Xorg or XFree86. Why not get people to add support for new hardware instead of updating things that is not important?

Xfree86 had serious problems
by peragrin on Fri 18th Mar 2005 14:45 UTC

People have been complaining about xfree86 for years. patches not being allowed. Feature requests being completely ignored, etc.

Xfree86 4.5 is nothing but a minor update when compared to It is a bit more stable, no major linux distribution uses it anymore though. Mostly just compile your own setups.

The license change was just the final straw.

by foljs on Fri 18th Mar 2005 14:47 UTC

BTW, anyone looked at that change log? Georgina O. Economou sounds so much like the computer-generated 'persons' that spam your mailbox!

Actually it is a perfectly valid greek name!

I should know, I am greek myself.

Not all programmers are anglo-saxon!

re: Dumbest License Change Ever
by Dracula's dead star attorney on Fri 18th Mar 2005 15:37 UTC

The XFree guys deserve credit - for the license change. ;)

by Morgan on Fri 18th Mar 2005 17:47 UTC

I'm running Ubuntu Warty Final right now, which uses XFree86. I've tried the Hoary preview, which uses XOrg, and I love it except for one thing (unrelated to X): My sound card is curiously not supported under Hoary yet, although it works fine with Warty. It's a VIA 8235 onboard chip, btw. I am sure that Hoary Final will work fine with it, and I'm looking forward to finally being able to get away from XFree86.

XFree isn't worth the time.
by Mike on Fri 18th Mar 2005 17:48 UTC

There's nothing particularly glamorous in the ChangeLog. Then again, the XFree86 team was hardly known for groundbreaking releases. I'm very pleased with Xorg's work, and I intend to stick with their product. Yes competition is good, but I don't see XFree as being competitive. (You can polish a turd, but it's still a turd in the end.)

With Longhorn and Tiger around the corner, X11 has been really falling behind. Maintaining stability is important, but at the moment, we're facing gaping feature parity issue. The Linux/Free *nix GUI needs some heavy modernization and advancement to compete with other desktop OS's. Xorg developers are doing an excellent job at recognizing and following through on that end.

by Haplo on Fri 18th Mar 2005 17:55 UTC

Does XOrg do double buffering? it does not seem to me.

Thats probably because you don't have it on. The composite manager isn't on by default because it's not yet 100% stable.
Although it's usually stable enough

in your xorg.conf :

Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "Enable"
Option "RENDER" "Enable"

and in your video card section:

Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"

that should get you up and going ;)

Re: Still no driver for my card...
by Shawn on Fri 18th Mar 2005 19:30 UTC

@xfs: "Still no driver for my card."

Ahem. Due to licensing problems (thanks to VIA) the support for your card cannot be included directly. Blame VIA, not Xorg or XFree86. However, you can find a driver here:

RE: Mike:
by Anonymous on Fri 18th Mar 2005 19:34 UTC

3 years is not just around the corner...

Re: Still no driver for my card...
by nobody on Fri 18th Mar 2005 19:59 UTC

From mail in dri-user:
Subject: Re: [Dri-users] Unichrome 3D driver

>Any idea of when it will be included in xorg? In order to get 3D to work
> will I have to rebuild all of xorg or just one part of it?

It will be part of xorg 6.9/7.0. In the mean time you can use nightly
binary snapshots if you don't want to build from source:

Re: Re: Still no driver for my card...
by xfs on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:34 UTC

That driver that is included in that binary, and the driver that provides is just making my screen go blank. I hope they will fix this in some near future becouse I want the 3d to work.

Re: still no driver @xfs
by Flav on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:49 UTC

I don't know if you're totally against using binary drivers - according to the viaarena page there is a binary driver provided here:

For something integrated and uncommon like VIA chipsets this is probably your best bet (binary driver problems aside)

Update committed
by mirabile on Mon 21st Mar 2005 09:14 UTC

The MirOS Project - - proudly announces
that we have updated to XFree86™ 4.5.0 (plus local patches),
with only very minor problems having shown up so far.

The "licence change" mentioned was no change by the way,
since there have been enough advertising clauses in before.

The _full_ list (for the X11 module) is now:

This product includes software developed by Christopher G. Demetriou.
This product includes software developed by the NetBSD Foundation,
Inc. and its contributors.
This product includes software developed by the University of
California, Berkeley and its contributors.
This product includes software developed by the University of
California, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.
This product includes software developed by The XFree86 Project,
Inc ( and its contributors.
This product includes software developed by X-Oz Technologies
This product includes software that is based in part of the work
of the FreeType Team (

and the trademark list (which I haven't proven to be full
and complete, in contrast to the list of advertising
clauses) is

XFree86 is a registered trademark of The XFree86 Project, Inc.
X Window System is a trademark of X Consortium, Inc.
TekColor is a trademark of Tektronix, Inc.
Adobe, PostScript, and Display PostScript are trademarks of Adobe
Systems Incorporated which may be registered in certain jurisdictions.
Luxi is a registered trademark of Bigelow & Holmes Inc.
Vera is a trademark of Bitstream, Inc.

I doubt that "" thingie comes without them.

To Israel Thomas
by mirabile on Mon 21st Mar 2005 09:19 UTC

While it's true that "" contains bleeding edge
features, none of them they have deloped themselves.

DMX was an independent project (and is part of XFree86™
4.5 as well), while all the other extensions have been
developed by Keith Packard at and for ""
(and I've seen him present it at FOSDEM).

Some operating system vendors do prefer stability over
bleeding-edge features though, mind you. Although NetBSD™
is shifting away, we will continue to support XFree86™
and probably offer "" as an optional port
via the MirPorts Framework. No support for "" though
as I don't see they have a reason to exist.

XF86 Bashing??
by NyteReider on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:25 UTC

Hmmm...It seems those people bashing XF86 4.5 never bothered to try it before giving it tons of criticism...

I'm not saying XF86 sucks nor Xorg sucks...but I'm just saying "let's be neutral & fair" No bashing...please.