Home > X11 > XFree86 4.4 Released XFree86 4.4 Released Eugenia Loli 2004-02-29 X11 99 Comments The XFree86 Project released XFree86 4.4.0 for seventeen platforms. Release notes here. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 99 Comments 2004-02-29 7:01 pm Didn’t XFree adopt a new license which isn’t GPL friendly, hence Mandrake-Linux isn’t going to use it? 2004-02-29 7:02 pm Yes, now let’s wait for the fork announcement. 🙂 2004-02-29 7:06 pm All illegal They really need to revert to the old license if they wish to remain relevant. 2004-02-29 7:06 pm This is useless now that no Linux or BSD distribution will include it. So much for the XFree86 Project. I hope Mr. Dawes is happy, as he has completed his vendeta with everybody now. Sorry for the contributors who made all the contributions for nada. Long live XFree86, or is it over? 2004-02-29 7:12 pm Whooopee, who cares. No Linux distribution is going to touch it and at least one BSD distribution isn’t either. Goodbye irrelevant project. 2004-02-29 7:14 pm It’s useless if none of the distros (linux/bsd) are going to include it. If they (dawes & company) want to pull license shenanigans and piss everyone off then I can’t help but feel they will be the only ones losing. Maybe they _want_ to shoot themselves in the foot. All I can hope for is that the OSS community chooses to go in the same direction on this — because I can’t imagine the kind of chaos that would result from numerous and ‘sort of’ compatible forks. 2004-02-29 7:17 pm Ah, it’d be fun. It’d encourage some competition for once. And maybe there will be a good fork off Xfree, one that will compete with Apple and what will EVENTUALLY be Microsoft’s new desktop graphics. I’d like a hardware enhanced desktop, they work so smooth and snappy. Often times I can actually see the draw on large GTK apps like evolution; that’s just unnacceptible . 2004-02-29 7:17 pm > Sorry for the contributors who made all the contributions for nada. Wrong, they can contribute their patches to a XFree86 4.4rc2 fork under the old license. 2004-02-29 7:20 pm I heard IBM is developing their own distro that’s already being used inside IBM. This is a good opportunity for them to take the lead here. I don’t mind if the next XFree is created mainly by a corporation as long as it works, it’s a standard and they release the code. 2004-02-29 7:22 pm I hope my namesake comes to his senses. It would have been nice to have a public consultation before a license change. 2004-02-29 7:26 pm Any pointers to that? Don’t be fooled by IBM having some X implementation of their own, it might be AIX specific. Most (all?) proprietary Unixes have their own X server, for example XSun for Solaris/Sparc. (After all, the important thing about X is just the X protocol, there are several implementations for both the client and the server part.) That doesn’t mean they could be easily ported to Linux/*BSD, let alone open-sourced. 2004-02-29 7:26 pm I dont see anything wrong with the license, i think its just fine, I have read both licenses 1.0 and 1.1, and i dont see any reason why anyone should drop the use of this software, its rediculous, I think someone is just causing havok here, its like the y2k issue. Heres how that worked, some dude or a group of dudes, started spitting out rumors and somehow everyone believed em, to me i think it was just a marketing scheme, so techs would make mad money reprogramming software. Well thats what i think is going on with this xfree, its still free, just use it! 2004-02-29 7:26 pm From what Theo De Raadt and others have been saying, the problem boils down to one man: David Dawes. Why can’t the rest of the XFree team just eliminate him from the project? The guy obviously has some kind of problem if he’s willing to kill the project just to make a point about licensing that no one will listen to. If he thinks that he’s going to change the FSF’s licensing policies with this stunt, he’s horribly wrong. The thing is, this is such a trivial licensing matter for him to be up in arms about. We’re not talking about rights or money, we’re talking about whose names go into advertising and documentation for products that include XF86. Years from now we’ll look back on how the immaturity of David Dawes changed the industry by encouraging development of better GPL or GPL-compatible alternatives, but for right now we’re stuck with 4.3 and no official support for newer video cards. -Jem 2004-02-29 7:28 pm * XFree86 220.127.116.113 introduced an automatic configuration mechanism for the XFree86 server which makes it now possible to start XFree86 without first creating a configuration file Wow, does this really mean no XF86Config file? Also, the nv driver was rewritten. But I couldn’t find any info on how much better it is now… 2004-02-29 7:33 pm Or just.18.104.22.1683? 2004-02-29 7:37 pm Ignorance is bliss, but it isnt corectness. The license has an additional advertising clause simmilar to the old BSD license that nobody uses anymore. This advertisment clause is somewhat unclear so people (like redhat) arn’t sure how they need to advertise it. The worse problem is that for a license to be GPL compatible, it has to be more lenient then the GPL and cant be more restrictive. Since this licensing clause makes it more restrictive, that means that programs using the GPL cannot link against the XFree86 libraries. Wether you like the GPL or not, fact is that most of the programs out there use the (L)GPL (GNOME/KDE/XFCE/Openbox/etc…), and this means you can’t use those program with this new license. How can they solve it? Make the licenses apply only on the server and not on the libraries. This gives them abetter chance for inclusion in distros, and makes it leagel to use Xfree86 with your favorite DE. 2004-02-29 7:37 pm There’s the X-Server from freedesktop.org, which is getting better and better it was started by Keith Packard it’s name used to be KDrive. Another interesting thing is the Y-Window-System. So I think there are or there will be enough good or better alternatives to XFree86. 2004-02-29 7:39 pm Yes, they just have not changed the release notes that is used in the link… Here you can read the new one: http://cvsweb.xfree86.org/cvsweb/xc/RELNOTES?rev=1.38&content-type=… 2004-02-29 7:40 pm Y Windows is no alternatives but wants to be a successor for X. KDrive is an experimental XServer to test X extension prototypes. X.org/freedesktop.org will for XFree86. 2004-02-29 7:44 pm actually. “X.org/freedesktop.org” is kdrive 2004-02-29 7:44 pm “From what Theo De Raadt and others have been saying, the problem boils down to one man: David Dawes. Why can’t the rest of the XFree team just eliminate him from the project?” NO! Please don’t. I am anxiously awaiting the X fork. Look at how fast the latest KDE 3.2.0 is. Combine that with the speed of the latest Linux 2.6.3. There is only one missing ingredient, an X server that has been forked, rewritten and optimized. Please keep Mr. Dawes right where he is. 2004-02-29 7:51 pm I agree…I think this is nothing but good news for the future of X. 2004-02-29 7:59 pm >Y Windows is no alternatives but wants to be a successor for X. Well, it is an alternative regardless of if it aims at being a successor. It will feature compatibility to X11. >KDrive is an experimental XServer to test X extension prototypes. X.org/freedesktop.org will for XFree86. I think this is a misunderstanding. I’m talking about the X-Server from freedesktop.org, which IIRC is based upon KDrive. X.org’s X-Server is another project too. Hhmm, at least it has different CVS than freedesktop.org’s XServer… Of course I could be wrong, I haven’t found any definitive info on the base of fdo’s XServer. 2004-02-29 8:03 pm > actually. “X.org/freedesktop.org” is kdrive That’s your wrong thinking. freedesktop.org hosts projects. And it will soon host more than one X Server. Got the hint? 2004-02-29 8:16 pm The old BSD license’s advertising clause was somewhat of an annoyance. When BSD was just at Berkeley, and there was only one copyright holder it wasn’t such a big deal. All you had to do was acknowledge the University. But the problem starts when lots of different people start adding things to which they are the copyright holder. Suddenly you have to mention x-many people and it turns into a big nuisance. Which is why the new BSDL does not have this clause. 2004-02-29 8:20 pm No, x.org is x.org. xserver is kdrive. x.org is the contination of the original/definitive X implementation. The problems with the XFree86 project have added new impetus to x.org – which had been moribund for a while. x.org is a complete reference implementation xserver a.k.a. kdrive is an experimental X implementation which is driving innovation and change in X (Composite manager etc). 2004-02-29 8:33 pm >Y Windows is no alternatives but wants to be a successor for X. Well, it is an alternative regardless of if it aims at being a successor. It will feature compatibility to X11. True but the Y Windows implementation is far from done. It will probably be years before a stable release, if at all. Many X replacements have come and gone. In addition to that Y Windows aims to be completely different than X, using a standard widget set on the server side that will not at all be compatible with current applications. It is supposed to include a compatiblity layer that will support X but that fixes none of the problems with X. Code will have to be completely re-written to use the Y Windows features. I would prefer to see Xserver become the X implementation used by Linux distributions, as it is an entire X implementation, not just a compatibility layer. 2004-02-29 8:34 pm I take it xserver’s goal is not to reach a state where it can replace Xfree86 in production environments? It’s only for experimenting with new features? That’s sad somehow, I was hoping for a bold new project taking Xfree86’s place. 2004-02-29 8:38 pm Wow what a mess. 2004-02-29 8:39 pm It’s unfortunate that the new XFree license does not make it practical to use XFree 4.4. However, I do hope that whatever X implementation that replaces this has good policies regrading the licensing of video card drivers. I haven’t looked into the license of kdrive much, but I do like the modular driver interface it has. I only hope that the driver modules themselves are free to choose their own license. If kdrive is GPL and does not make an exception for this, then all video drivers will have to be GPL. This will put an end to vendor supplied binary drivers. While I’m sure most people here think that’s good, I for one don’t. I quite like the NVIDIA drivers, and I also think that companies should be free to release drivers for their hardware without GPLing or otherwise open sourcing them. An open driver module policiy would also allow people to release drivers under other licenses, such as BSD, GPL, or licenses such as APSL (not that apple makes video drivers). Licensing aside, if this promotes kdrive, then that’s good. Hardware compositing is just cool. 2004-02-29 8:41 pm >I take it xserver’s goal is not to reach a state where it can replace Xfree86 in production environments? That’s not the case as far as I know. Between, you can relatively easy build fdo’s Xserver from source with the available scripts. It will be installed in /opt/fdo/ For some people it’s already able to replace XFree86. But if you need accelerated 3D drivers e.g. from ATI or nVidia you need to wait. 2004-02-29 8:47 pm Imagine that, we have yet another compatibility problem with the most incompatible license in the world. Did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps the problem isn’t with recent versions of the XFree86 and Apache licenses, but perhaps the problem is with the GPL itself! Why is the GPL such a holier than thou license that everyone has to be compatible with? Why can’t the FSF modify their ivory tower license for a change? Just a thought. Also, isn’t the new license really just a problem for the libraries which probably haven’t changed much since 4.3 anyway. Library version shouldn’t really matter much in theory due to the client-server nature of the X Window System protocol, right? Maybe I’m just missing something here. 2004-02-29 8:49 pm How can they solve it? Make the licenses apply only on the server and not on the libraries. This gives them abetter chance for inclusion in distros, and makes it leagel to use Xfree86 with your favorite DE. Which is exactly what they’ve done. Adam 2004-02-29 8:58 pm Which hobby distributions do you have in mind? I’ve run 2.6 under both Gentoo and Slackware without any problems, since late in the 2.5 release cycle. Keep in mind that for the ‘hobbyist’ distributions, there’s less need to do explicit releases of a new kernel, since the users are generally willing to get things working on their own — especially with 2.6, which in my experience has been nearly a drop-in on stripped down distributions. 2004-02-29 9:01 pm For anyone interested in the licensing issues surrounding 4.4, the mailing list archive linked to from slashdot is *very* interesting: http://www.xfree86.org/pipermail/forum/2004-February/003974.html I’m surprised to see Dawes sounding so reasonable, from what I’ve read so far anyway. 2004-02-29 9:12 pm I’ve never looked at the X11 code, but from what I’ve heard it is very big and messy and not easily refactored. Am I wrong here? What I’m getting at is what is the biggest problem with X11 as we have it today? My experience is that X is fast enough. It seems to be the toolkits that have the problems….gtk2.x comes to mind. So, is the real problem that there is a lot of cruft and its not really modular? What will Y bring to the desktop that a refined X will not? I’d like to see some opengl goodness doing the rendering at some point in time. It seems to be a natural for all those heavy duty accelerators out there today. How will Y hook into proprietary drivers(Nvidia) for 3d acceleration? Is there some kind of faq for long-term goals of various X implementors? 2004-02-29 9:17 pm “Imagine that, we have yet another compatibility problem with the most incompatible license in the world. Did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps the problem isn’t with recent versions of the XFree86 and Apache licenses, but perhaps the problem is with the GPL itself!” Well said. The GPL is far from perfect. 2004-02-29 9:19 pm is it possible to ‘fullscreen’ gaming on linux ? Yes. is it possible to watch dvd’s in full screen Yes. 2004-02-29 9:32 pm Does this effect the end user or the distributor. Or both? My impression about the new licence is that it only effects the distributor and not the end-user. Is that true? 2004-02-29 9:50 pm XFree86 sucks anyway. So why bother if anyone will adopt it? 2004-02-29 10:03 pm This is all a giant waste of time. Licenses only mean something to those that care to let them mean anything. I think we need a reality check here — they are just words on paper. I’m really starting to get tired of ‘paper’ telling me what to do. Enough with the lawyers, laws, rules, policies, patents, trademarks, and such trivial nonsense. These things are only hindering progress and evolution. If I want to use code from now on the first thing I’m going to do is remove the license. 2004-02-29 10:05 pm Well Keith Packard himself told us during his FOSDEM 2004 talk in Brussels that they are planning to fork the last not-license-changed version (was it XFree86 4.4 rc2?), import it to freedesktop.org and maintain it there. 2004-02-29 10:13 pm “Enough with the lawyers, laws, rules, policies, patents, trademarks, and such trivial nonsense. These things are only hindering progress and evolution.” Those who don’t live by politics will die by politics. 2004-02-29 10:15 pm I guess I will have to make my own RPM’s agian. shrug… To all those people who think X is bad let me remind you. 1. How old the code base is. 2. How stable the code base is. Yes I wish they would have a development branch with a faster toy count but damn , it is a solid tool. Donaldson 2004-02-29 10:20 pm While I may be wrong, if in fact there was a fork, would the end result be parallel to Netscape releasing the source to their browser, and stripping it of the code that was not allowed to be released? When I compare it to Netscape releasing its source, I compare it only to the consequences, and not the actual action of an originally proprietary software company releasing its source. Anotherwards, we are looking at the possibility of “cleaning house” in the XFree86 tree in order to make the fork fully compatible to the license of choice. After looking through the mailing list, David Dawes states: (excerpt from http://www.xfree86.org/pipermail/forum/2004-February/003978.html ) “I could see a potential case for arguing that our library licensing policy be tightened, i.e. become more restrictive in what licences it will accept, and reduce the licensing choices available to contributors to XFree86 libraries. This is analogous to the FSF’s use of the LGPL for libraries instead of the GPL for practical and pragmatic reasons. Anything beyond this modification would represent an unprecedented change to XFree86’s licensing policy, and I believe that there would be situations in which some code would have to be removed to satisfy it.” While Mozilla eventually became a much superior product over time, it was certainly not easy and took much time. We would likely have to see a similar, large movement that was organized and would produce a similar group like the Mozilla Foundation that we see today. The real question now is since there are now two camps, one completely open, while the other only somewhat, is it be possible to have a unified movement like that of the Mozilla foundation? I’d like to think so but only the future could say. While freedesktop.org is a great idea, the original intention that I know of is to just set up a collabaration point; not to actually be in charge of a specific standard. Therefore some group would have to organize at some point to get the ball rolling at least. I may be completely wrong here so feel free to tear my thoughts into pieces, but if you do please be respectful and bring a better idea to the table in place of it. 2004-02-29 10:20 pm Hi ” Well said. The GPL is far from perfect.” nobody is arguing about the perfectness of the license. btw if you have a list of gpl problems with your solutions and your perfect license that would be nice to see. the problem here is that a whole world of free software has been developed with the gpl license and it is very practical and reasonable to have a gpl compatible licenses. bsd,old xfree86, mit, python,perl,qt,gtk and several important software is gpl compatible for these purposes. if you have to bring license changes that breaks that compatibility there should be a good reason to do it. the new xfree86 breaks incompatibility for no reason at all other than one man’s whimps. the end result is no distribution can include this software and even openbsd will not for idealogical reasons. somebody is going to fork a rc before the license change and use that fork. thats it regards Jess 2004-02-29 10:37 pm It’s at http://www.freedesktop.org/Software/xorg , forked from 4.4 RC2. 2004-02-29 11:36 pm Great, but do the licenses agree with it? Are there any issues with the original rc2 tree or is everything fine and dandy? Is there a possibility in the future for something that would cause the same problems that are bringing about this fork in the first place? Thats all I’m asking. We need to think long term. 2004-03-01 12:49 am From a quick glance at the thread it seems like most of the reactions here are unjustified. It seems as if the XFree project has complex licence issues that can probably be ironed out with discussion. The fork approach may not be necessary, assuming that everyone can agree to work on it. It looks like its not just XFree that needs to look at licenses either but also FreeType. They may be GPL but their less/more restrictive license carries the advertising clause as well. XFree and David Dawes are the only avertising clause “villains” here. That said I think everybody, always ought to take a deep breath before posting lest they propogate misinformation. (I know I always should). 2004-03-01 12:53 am that should read.. XFree and David Dawes AREN’T the only avertising clause “villains” here. sorry… 2004-03-01 1:06 am This is the best possible things that could happen to linux. This will cause a division which will lead to multiple projects that will all borrow from each other. True innovation is likely to result. As for Microsofts new display system in Longhorn, it has not changed since XP. I’ve seen the Longhorn beta and I am not impressed. OS X, on the other hand, has a display system that I would love to see in Linux. 2004-03-01 1:21 am Yes every thing is fine. They took the snapshot before the license change which is not retroactive. Don’t get your knickers in too much of a twist. 2004-03-01 1:48 am So why is giving credit where credit is due such a bad thing? Why does RMS and his cult followers throw such a fit over this? It’s because RMS has major problems. Once again Open Source loses because of wacky ideologies. XFree86 is the best thing out there. The other 2 candidates aren’t ready for prime time yet and so development stalls while MS continues to work on 3d acceleration on the Longhorn desktop. Just because something is forked and open source doesn’t mean there are going to be hordes of expert graphics programmers pouring major effort into either of these other two X11s. 2004-03-01 1:58 am Version 1.1 of XFree86 Project License. Copyright (C) 1994-2004 The XFree86 Project, Inc. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicence, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions: 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions, and the following disclaimer. 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. 4. Except as contained in this notice, the name of The XFree86 Project, Inc shall not be used in advertising or otherwise to promote the sale, use or other dealings in this Software without prior written authorization from The XFree86 Project, Inc. THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE XFREE86 PROJECT, INC OR ITS CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE. God forbid that the XFree86 project gets a little credit for the work they’re doing. But, according to Stalin(oops, I meant Stallman), it’s not free enough for the holier than thou GPL. As John Stossel says – Give me a break. 2004-03-01 2:15 am The question isn’t whether or not RMS is throwing a fit. The issue isn’t whether or not his ‘cult followers’ (I assume you mean Red Hat and Mandrake executives, Theo de Raadt, and many others, right?) are throwing fits. The question is whether or not it will be *legal* to distribute and use the software in various ways under the new license. And if you take a look at the xfree forum I linked to above, you might see that RMS isn’t throwing a fit — he’s trying to resolve legal issues so that this doesn’t have to go any farther than it already has. The fact is, open source and free software developers *have chosen* — past tense — to use the GPL for many things, and continue to do so. At this point, for *this issue*, people’s feelings about the GPL and its merits and lack thereof are completely irrelevant. If the new license causes incompatibility with that widely-used license, there are going to be problems. This has nothing to do with people throwing fits. It’s a factual and legal problem. Ranting about it won’t make that go away. 2004-03-01 2:23 am Here are some real world comments about LGPL v. GPL from the Open Graphics Rendering Engine homepage. “Previously OGRE was licensed under the GPL which required you to release the source code to all of your project (not just the modifications you made to OGRE) which put some people off using it. We had intended to release OGRE under a commercial license in parallel with the GPL for closed-source projects (to give people an incentive to try to use the GPL) but the reality of dealing with all the contractual / legal issues, coupled with the fact that we’re all doing this in our spare time eventually convinced us to just license under the LGPL instead. 2004-03-01 2:23 am Nope, it’s all about RMS and his political/ideological problems. In his little FSF kindgdom it makes him feel powerful. There is nothing wrong with the XFree86 license. It’s an RMS problem. This software license is “free” in any common sense definition of the word. The GPL is just a bad license if giving credit where credit is due is now frowned upon. 2004-03-01 2:23 am I would trust the word of Alan Cox. According to him, the X.org server is already a replacement for XFree86 http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=98741&cid=8424390 “There are two X servers on freedesktop.org. One is Keiths experimental server the other is the X.org tree which is XFree 4.4 without the license change bits and with other stuff, and most of the people Dave Dawes fired working on it. The x.org server is very much ready for prime time” 2004-03-01 2:31 am Hi “So why is giving credit where credit is due such a bad thing? Why does RMS and his cult followers throw such a fit over this? It’s because RMS has major problems. ” no. you are entirely wrong. the bsd license also had a similar advertising claus. it seemed innocent enough to ask the people advertising such software to display the copyright notice. in practise it created several problem and was scrapped. RMS has said that the new xfree86 license is free software. it is incompatible with gpl because it throws additional restrictions over gpl. this is a legal thing more than someone’s opinion. please understand the issue you talk about regards Jess 2004-03-01 2:37 am […]The x.org server is very much ready for prime time” Except it’s pretty much useless if there’s no decent video driver for it. Like it or not, the binary ones from nVidia and ATI are the only viable ones right now… and they’re made for XFree86. 2004-03-01 2:38 am Hi “> All the source code and source patches that X-Oz Technologies provides > in our download section are licensed under the following terms, which is > a derivation of the XFree86™ license and the Apache License, version > 1.1: > > By downloading, copying or using this software you have agreed to this > license. Copyright law doesn’t work that way.” “Theo de Raadt made a similar observation. I’ve tried to negotiate with David Dawes, and show him that his new license is not acceptable, and he has been hostile and it has gone nowhere. He keeps insisting that his license is a standard BSD licenses, yet, he won’t use the same words that Berkeley used; if his words were intended to be compatible to the Berkeley spirit then he would be happy to use the same words; but he is not, and insists on different words which a lot of the community has trouble with. (David Dawes is, as far as I know, the founder sole employee of X-Oz Technologies, Inc, and the author of the X-Oz license, which he has since re-introduced as the new XFree86 license.) > 4. Except as contained in this notice, the name of X-Oz Technologies > shall not be used in advertising or otherwise to promote the sale, > use or other dealings in this Software without prior written > authorization from X-Oz Technologies. Note how the above clause differs from the traditional BSD wording: 3. Neither the name of the University nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission. First, we should note that this traditional BSD clause is not necessary, at least under U.S. law. Possession of a copyrighted work does not automatically grant the possessor a right to use the name(s) or likeness(es) of the copyright holder(s). The liberality of the BSD software license, or any other copyright license, simply *cannot* grant such a permission. Any such grant of license to a copyright holder’s name or likeness would have to be spelled out. Placing such a clause in a copyright license is gratuitous and may be unenforceable, as copyright law has nothing to do with this sort of thing. False usage of a person’s name or likeness in promotional or endorsement efforts is a civil tort in the U.S., a matter that is handled by the states. Copyright law is federal. It is not clear to me that any federal court would entertain a copyright infringement suit on the grounds of the BSD license’s non-endorsement clause, when the copyright holder can easily seek relief for the same grievance in state court under well-established tort theory. I think the NetBSD Foundation is cognizant of the same thing, which is why they use a 2-clause version of the BSD license, omitting both the “advertising clause” and the above “non-endorsement clause”. Returning to the X-Oz license, we see that it is worded much more strongly. Not only are promotion and endorsement forbidden, but even the “use” of X-Oz Technologies name in advertising is forbidden. Given the broadness of “the name of X-Oz Technologies shall not be used…to promote the…use or other dealings in this Software without prior written authorization”, it seems to forbid publishing a magazine review of works so covered without prior written permission — at least if one wants to name the copyright holder of the work one is using. Such a broad restriction is probably not legal, and certainly violative of the principles of free speech which inform and underlie our concept of Free Software. Consequently, because it contaminates works of a wholly independent nature, this clause fails DFSG 9, and renders the license non-DFSG-free even if clause 3 doesn’t. > THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED > WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES > OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. > IN NO EVENT SHALL X-OZ TECHNOLOGIES OR ITS CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR > ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL > DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS > OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) > HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, > STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING > IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE > POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE. This warranty disclaimer appears to match the BSD warranty disclaimer, and does not appear to be objectionable. My opinion: this license fails DFSG 9 in both clauses 3 and 4, overreaches in terms of the conditions under which it binds the licensee (“By downloading, copying or using this software you have agreed to this license.” — of these, copyright law regulates only the act of copying).” 2004-03-01 2:40 am I dont see anything wrong with the license either and the problem here is not with the license but ome of the user base. The distributions are killing themselves because I have already heard from numerous clients of mine that they will pull Linux if the infighting continues because certain components are necessary and too much work has been done on XFree86. Also, you cannot use a fork if the copyright owner of XFree components tells you that you cannot distribute it. 2004-03-01 2:44 am Does this effect the end user or the distributor. Or both? My impression about the new licence is that it only effects the distributor and not the end-user. Is that true? Yes, that is true. It only affect the distributor and the developer… However, who are developing open-source software? Personally, I couldn’t care less if it is GPL incompatible. However, I understand that it makes the distribution of this code pratically impossible. That said, who is the least flexible between Dawes and RMS? Which is the least flexible between the GPL and the new XPL? Which should be changed? That is hard to say, especially when there’s no viable alternative yet… Well, there are some, as long as you can live with pure software rendering. 2004-03-01 2:57 am If you think that someone with the attitude and history of Theo de Raadt is rolling over to make Stallman feel powerful, you need to do some research. If you think that the lawyers of major corporations with publically traded stock are advising their executives not to ship a new software product in order to make Stallman feel powerful, you’re just plain paranoid. That’s not how it works. It doesn’t matter how much Stallman or the GPL infuriate you — what you’re saying just doesn’t make sense. Companies like Red Hat don’t refuse to ship a product because Richard Stallman tells them not to. The Debian developers, *as has been seen time and time again with their maintainance of non-free*, do not refuse to distribute software because Richard Stallman tells them not to. These are *legal* issues that can result in lawsuits. Do you have *any* evidence to the contrary, given the history of software distribution by these people, which speaks against *everything* you’re saying? Can you point out a single instance in which Theo de Raadt has simply jumped on a bandwagon to please Stallman? Go look at the OpenBSD changelogs. Notice lines like: Remove GNU grep and (most of) GNU gzip from the tree. BSD-licensed alternatives do the same jobs. These are the people who are pandering to Stallman in order to stoke his ego? Give me a break. Try backing up what you’re saying, because on its face, it’s nothing but absurd. 2004-03-01 3:00 am > Also, you cannot use a fork if the copyright owner of XFree components tells you that you cannot distribute it. Well, I have a XFree86 copy from before the change under the terms of the old license which gives me “without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so”. Tell me how some (one?) braindead persons can retroactively change that. 2004-03-01 3:01 am Which should be changed is a matter of practicality. How much code is released under the GPL, rather than under the new xfree license? There are other questions to be asked as well: will Linus be willing to release the kernel under a modified GPL that brings back the problem of advertizing clauses? I’m not suggesting an answer to that question — all I’m saying is that it’s more complicated than ‘if one should have to change so should the other.’ 2004-03-01 3:01 am @Wrawrat: The X.org X server *is* XFree86, the 4.4-RC2 version released prior to the license change. It is compatible with the binary NVIDIA/ATI drivers, just as every version of XFree since 4.0.1 has been. @Roberto J. Donhert: Like you, I think your clients have no idea what’s going on. There is no point in them worrying about the infighting unless it actually affects them. No user-visible problems have even happened yet! XFree86 4.3 is still available, and development is continuing on the RC2 fork. Distros will continue to ship X, just as they always have, though perhaps advancements will be delayed somewhat. However, its not like XFree86 improves in leaps and bounds anyway! And contrary to what you seem to think, the fork can continue to use the RC2 codebase. License changes are not retroactive. The 4.4-RC2 codebase was released under the old license. The users of that codebase have done nothing to violate the terms of the license. Thus, they can continue to use the 4.4-RC2 code under the old license. Please try and understand before spouting off, okay? 2004-03-01 3:03 am Have real lawyers even looked at this? Or is this just amateur hour with Stallman and his cohorts deciding it’s incompatible? Stallman probably can’t enforce crap. I would just go ahead and distribute it and see what that scruff tries to do. 2004-03-01 3:06 am What’s your personal view of what will happen if the license isn’t changed, and distributions won’t ship any new software from xfree? I mean this from a technical standpoint. Will we see a slowdown in development in the long-term, or a new and better X with a faster development cycle? Do you think this is likely to help or harm users in the long term? And how long is the long term going to be? 2004-03-01 3:09 am I could care less what Theo De Raadt says. This is about the GPL not being a very free license and RMS and cohorts feeling like they have power. They love this stuff. People just laugh at this open source licensing pissing matches. As if the XFree86 license isn’t free enough. Give me a break. Oh well, graphics on Linux/BSD will continue to suffer because of Stalin’s defintion of what is free. If I was a distro I would just ship it. Fsck Stallman. He can’t enforce squat. 2004-03-01 3:14 am First of all, I’m assuming (yes, assuming – I’m not privy to the discussions of Red Hat’s legal team) that lawyers of the corporations affected by the licensing change are looking at the issue and informing corporate policy. That’s generally how it’s done. Second, Stallman can’t enforce a damn thing. The FSF, on the other hand, can, has, and continues to enforce the GPL through threats of lawsuits. As Moglen said recently in his speech for the Harvard journal of law and technology, there’s a reason the GPL has never been challenged in court. People who violate it don’t think they can win. The FSF has been threatening lawsuits on GPL violations for years, and they’ve been successful. The most recent case I can remember was Linksys’s refusal to release the source for the linux they were shipping on their wireless-g routers; they folded like everyone else before them. And the companies in violation often give the FSF money. Check out the semi-recent Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/2003/10/14/cz_dl_1014linksys.html 2004-03-01 3:22 am Although I disagree with you on the ‘free enough’ issue, that’s neither here nor there. I’m not arguing that. This isn’t about whether it’s free enough; the FSF definition of free software defines licenses like the new xfree license as being free. It’s a free license. The point is that the lisence isn’t GPL compatible. That’s a legal point, plain and simple. The licenses say certain things. If they’re both valid licenses — and even in light of SCO FUD, there’s no reason to think that they aren’t — they are incompatible. That’s it. Stallman could die tomorrow and this would still be as much of an issue as it is today. The lawyers aren’t going to re-interpret the GPL if Stallman goes away. The licenses aren’t going to become different. That’s just the way it is. 2004-03-01 3:32 am The X.org X server *is* XFree86, the 4.4-RC2 version released prior to the license change. It is compatible with the binary NVIDIA/ATI drivers, just as every version of XFree since 4.0.1 has been. Oh. Sorry, my mistake. I thought it was a completely new project. That said, it doesn’t mean that nVidia/ATI will support it, esp. if X.org makes major changes to the codebase. That said, this initiative might have a brighter future than Kdrive/FD.o or Y. Oh, and whoever said that we should make as many forks as possible is completely wrong. If it’s a pain to develop software/drivers for an architecture, developers won’t. It’s that simple. 2004-03-01 3:48 am Which should be changed is a matter of practicality. How much code is released under the GPL, rather than under the new xfree license? There’s more code for XFree that is using the GPL than the XPL but some might argue that XFree86 is a more vital component than these programs. Note that I don’t really want to pronounce which is the best: I’m just observing both sides of the medal. There are other questions to be asked as well: will Linus be willing to release the kernel under a modified GPL that brings back the problem of advertizing clauses? According to the file COPYING in the kernel sources… “Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.” …so he doesn’t have to worry of that clause (if the GPL ever allow it someday or another). Moreover, the kernel isn’t linked directly to XFree. I don’t think the new licence affect it at all. I believe the I’m not suggesting an answer to that question — all I’m saying is that it’s more complicated than ‘if one should have to change so should the other.’ Oh yes it is… I don’t really like the new XPL. Then again, I don’t really like the power that the GPL have on other competing licences either. That’s why I’m wondering what we should do. 2004-03-01 3:49 am Everyone keeps saying that it is a GPL problem, but have you noticed that at least one BSD is avoiding this too? So far, I’ve heard problems with GPL, problems with BSD and even the possiblility that this license isn’t even enforcable legally. Between all these issues, the disbanding of the XFree core team, developers flocking to fork the project, etc, why hasn’t Dawes been kicked out of his position? 2004-03-01 4:59 am @chazwuth: Personally, I really don’t care what happens to XFree. As far as I’m concerned, FD.O is the future. If FD.O doesn’t come through, Longhorn will wipe the floor with Linux, technologically. The way I see it, the X.org fork is there mainly to tide us over until the FD.O X server is ready. Development might slow down a little bit, but then again, development on XFree86 isn’t exactly very fast to begin with. If distributers stop packaging XFree86, there is a very strong possibility that people will just pick up the X.org fork. There is very little cost to making that transition — the codebases are nearly identical. @wrawrat: Why would the X.org people change the driver API? It wouldn’t make any sense. The X DDX and DIX are pretty well abstracted, and you can do a lot without changing the API. The main reason KDrive is changing the driver API is because they are making such fundemental changes to the capabilities of the server. 2004-03-01 6:47 am >”Wether you like the GPL or not, fact is that most of the programs out there use the (L)GPL (GNOME/KDE/XFCE/Openbox/etc…), and this means you can’t use those program with this new license. How can they solve it? Make the licenses apply only on the server and not on the libraries. This gives them abetter chance for inclusion in distros, and makes it leagel to use Xfree86 with your favorite DE.” It appears that this is exactly what they have done. According to the FAQ (http://xfree86.org/legal/licenses.html): “The 1.1 license is not GPL-compatible. To avoid new issues with application programs that may be licensed under the GPL, the 1.1 licence is not being applied to client side libraries.” However this doesn’t solve the problems with (L)GPL drivers or server extensions. 2004-03-01 8:17 am Everyone keeps saying that it is a GPL problem, but have you noticed that at least one BSD is avoiding this too? OpenBSD (and probably the rest) are avoiding this because they include quite a bit of GPL software and XFree86. For example, they provide packages for KDE and Gnome among other things. In this way, legally they are in the exact same boat as nearly every Linux distribution. So to sum it up, it IS a GPL problem still. This is my biggest pet peave with the GPL, almost nothing is compatible with the GPL except the (L)GPL, and new BSD/MIT-equivalent licenses. This incompatibility is designed right into it to force people to either cave in to Stallman’s wishes or force the needless duplication of code just so that there is even more GPLed software in the world. Nano is an excellent example of this. It is a clone of good ‘ol Pico with the only major distinguishing feature being the license. Gnome was originally started with the sole purpose of being “Not-KDE” because the Qt toolkit that forms the basis for KDE was not yet under the GPL. 2004-03-01 8:41 am Why would the X.org people change the driver API? It wouldn’t make any sense. Well, I’m not saying they will or should. I’m saying they could. They did somewhat change it between 3.3 and 4.0… and I suppose the same thing could happen between 4.x and 5.0. 2004-03-01 9:47 am Both of you say that this is a GPL problem. What you are really saying is that each of the developers who have released their work under the GPL and those who have released their work under GPL-compatbile licenses have a problem because David Dawes suddenly decided that XFree86 in it’s entirerty should no longer be GPL compatbile. And because David Dawes made this decision each and every one of these developers should re-license all of their code with some kind of alternative to make it XFree86 compatible. Have you, collectively, lost your minds ? I can understand many people not wanting to choose the GPL for licensing their code. This is the reason why different options exist. Yet what you are in effect asking for is above and beyond the bounds of reason. You may personally hate the GPL and have a strong personal grudge against Richard M. Stallman who crafted it. But in so doing you extend your hate to all of the developers who have written GPL licensed code and those who licensed their code to be GPL compatible- and that is roughly 2/3 of all open source developers. Without these developers Linux would not exist and the BSD’s would be console-only machines with no support GUI desktop even worth mentioning. I don’t know if you use Linux or BSD-but if you do you should be dogmatic with your own installation. Start by eliminating all “non-free” software, ie. software tainted by the GPL and GPL compatiblity-let me then see your system and the bills you had to pay for the replacement of that which is given to you freely. Go ahead purchase Metro-X, ICC, Star Office, -now go to Adobe and purchase their PDF and TTF licenses and then buy the individual fonts you wish to use, then go to microsoft and purchase their media codecs and then to Apple, and then to Real Audio. Now start contacting Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Epson and Lexmark- you might wish to use a printer some day. But don’t forget you need stuff from Creatvie Labs or whomever produces your sound card. Go ahead- do so -I dare you, and if you are not willing to be consequent about your Anti-GPL stance then stuff it. I just looked at X-oz, David Dawes one man company. If you look at this site you will see where this licensing issue comes from-and you will see the difference between X-4.3.99.03(rc3)/4.4 and .02(rc2) and supposedly 4.5 vs. 4.4. All I can say of Mr. Dawes and his latest stance and that of his company is “My, that’s mighty white of him”(ie. “white” men are really good at stabbing each other in the back with friendly smiles on their faces being oh so condescendingly benevolent). It is trully sad that such gifted people become so poisoned that they begin to poison what they have freely given. David Dawes is pissed. He is pissed at Keith Packard. He is is pissed at other ex-XFree86 developers. He is pissed off at Redhat and very pissed off at freedesktop.org. Whether or not he has a right to be pissed is another question- a question which none of us can suffciently answer. But this license change is David Dawes’ payback- his revenge on the renegade rebellion in the X Windows community which started almost exactly a year ago. When Keith Packard got kicked tensions which had been around for a long time surfaced. There was a lot of talk about forking XFree86. The folks at freedesktop.org and xouvert.org totally downplayed this talk- attempting to soothe now open wounds. freedesktop.org released a) Keith Packards new Xserver and b) their very own release of xlibs. This got Dawes very, very pissed. (rhetoric) just who do these guys think they are? now they have the chutzpah to claim that they themselves are now responsible for XFree86….. In the meantime Dawes acts as if there is nothing wrong with his new license-‘if anything needs to be changed its the GPL….’. He is being so unbelievably dishonest. He knows damn well that his changes cause problems with nearly every program which is linked against the xlibs-which is almost everything you see on your X Windows display. But Dawes failed to grasp what was really going on. He failed to understand that people were not mad at him and XFree86 about the slow pace of development-they were upset because the XFree86 core-group(which no longer exists) was engaging in heavy-handed politics(outsting outstanding contributors) and that a new wlesspring of demand for genuine community participation had arisen which confronted and challenged the old tradition which had dominated XFree86 for years- that they were alone, that no one helped them, that everyone complained but did nothing- that they had to go their own way because no one really supported them. Now Dawes has his revenge. He simply could not see the demand for a community- the demand from those who had hitherto played only a trivial role in the development process saying that they wanted to see things happen now. Pent-up desire, demand to see changes. Dawes could have endorsed this, he chose to dis it. OF course Dawes is not alone in this-but he is the only one left after the core-group dissolved at whom one can direct their anger. Dawes used to be the more level-headed of the core-group, far mor fair than some of the other members. I think it’s time for David Dawes to move on. The time has come for the old-guard to relinquish their death grip on things which are no longer in their control and to let new fresh blood, fresh ideas pick up where they have left off. Thanks David for all of your contributions which you openly, freely made in a spirit of trust and cooperation. No thanks for your poisoned contributions. 2004-03-01 9:53 am Apparently the GLX code in XFree86 has always incompatible with the GPL. It uses SGI’s “Free Software Licence B”, which the FSF points out on their list of licenses page isn’t even Free Software, let alone GPL-compatible. So what’s the difference this time. The advertising clause. So now Stallman and cohorts decide to have a problem with XFree86. 2004-03-01 10:44 am Over the next couple of years, expect more license changes as ppl and/or corp.’s test the GPL. Each test will only strengthen the GPL. XFree86 made changes to the license, all the power to them. It may kill them, it may not. Things like this happen. Daily. The GPL won’t change, nor will it suffer. We may all be held back a bit until we get a choice that complies with the GPL, but nothing is being stopped. Not the end of the world. Things may slow down for a bit is all. 2004-03-01 11:09 am This is not really a problem. If XFree86 is more comfortable with getting credit than being the most broadly usable (or used) X implementation that should be and is rightfully is their choice. However, since the new license is legally incompatible with the GPL and most widely used FOSS solutions are heavily dependend on GPL software, this means a large group will have to look for an alternative if the XFree86 project is not willing to revert to a GPL compatible license. We can safely assume that the FSF will not trade in the “perpetual right of access, distribution and usage” granted by the GPL for some short term alleviation of a burdonsome situation. Talk about modifying the GPL is most likely equivalent with barking up the wrong tree. The most likely result will be a LGPLed Xserver project. For all practical purposes the (L)GPL ecosphere has become too big and too important to rely on external projects, that are free to withdraw support by choosing an incompatible license. If this is a good thing or not, the present situation will cause the popularity of XFree86 under the new 1.1 license to drop considerably. 2004-03-01 12:56 pm What you are really saying is that each of the developers who have released their work under the GPL and those who have released their work under GPL-compatbile licenses have a problem because David Dawes suddenly decided that XFree86 in it’s entirerty should no longer be GPL compatbile. Except, as has been said time and time again, the client libraries are still under the old license and therefore GPL compatible. Adam 2004-03-01 1:40 pm man i’m looking forward to the first x implementation that is called, yet another x server… hm so that would be yaxs… this actually makes sense, given the phonetical resemblence to words like: yucks, bugs, … 🙂 2004-03-01 2:03 pm Now YOU are being ridiculous! Yes, it’s true, I don’t like the GPL very much. However, I certainly don’t hate it. Yes there are several very important pieces of GPLed software out there, many of which I use every single day, like Gnome and GCC. However, I just think its a bit ridiculous that every license that is not compatible with the GPL is automatically made out to be evil and the project that spawns it is made out to be in bed with Satan. Also, I think it is very unfair to insinuate that this license change intentionally broke GPL compatibility. I think like many people have said here, the XFree86 project just wants a little more credit, since when it works it is a fairly invisible layer at this point in time. My question, which has yet to be answered satisfactorily, is why must people always bend to the GPL? Just because it is popular? Just because it is more strict? Python had to change their license Apache had to change their license and now XFree86 has to change their license or else they’ll be forever chastized by the community. Despite the fact that they’ve already agreed to leave the libraries under the old license which solves the problem. I’ll say it again, it IS a GPL problem. This is exactly what the GPL is intended for. I’m not saying anyone should change their license, but I do think that Stallman could for once back off of this and say that they’ve made a significant concession. If they make a written statement excusing XFree86 specifically from any legal action this would solve the situation quite handily. That’s all they need to do. A license only has teeth when it is enforced. Just like NMAP’s author can exclude SCO from distributing it, the FSF can allow the XFree86 code to mix with GPLed code. Another rant: Why is it that when people like Dawes and deRadt stick to their guns, they’re standoffish pricks, but when Stallman does it, he’s worshipped for it? It’s a ridiculous double standard. Just my two cents. Remember, I don’t hate the GPL, I just don’t like it very much. I respect everyone’s right to choose whatever license they want for their works, be it free, public domain, GPL, *gasp* proprietary, or whatever else works for them. Can’t we all just get along and stop this stupid Catholic vs. Protestant style infighting? 2004-03-01 2:43 pm The XFree so called team was just fine with accepting contributions from GPL friendly companies such as Redhat, Suse, etc, a year ago. How can this change be explained as simple license issue on the XFree teams part? It sounds like the lines were added so that X.org, FD.org and X-of-the-week are not able to build upon official XFree work without breaking the license. Once again, Dawes seems to be saying publicly that he wants a community project while blocking the community with his actions. 2004-03-01 3:23 pm You hit it right on the head. This is *precisely* what the GPL is intended to do. But you can’t blame the GPL for this. People who code GPL’ed programs choose the license of their own volition. That’s their prerogative. The fact that other projects have had to change their licenses to be GPL-compatible is simply a testament to how popular the GPL has become among open source developers. Nobody is forcing these other projects to be GPL-compatible. The fact that they choose to change their licenses simply means they consider the GPL-using community important enough to warrent working with. 2004-03-01 3:33 pm Well, you and I are exactly right and everybody else is wrong ;-), but I’d like to add on a couple more things to what you’ve already said. If you look at this from a more generalized perspective then you see that it’s always the GPL that has problems with other licenses. You never seem to hear about other FOSS licenses having problems with each other. For someone looking in at this from the outside(e.g someone who isn’t always reading Slashdork or OSNews) it doesn’t look good. X Servers and the desktop in general has issues to contend with without having these insignificant pissing matches that invariably come up with the GPL. How does Nvidia or ATI look at this? Do you think they give a crap about Stallman and his holy license. They think it’s ridiculous because they just want to be able to target a stable driver API. When you look at the missing part of linux invariably it seems to be the desktop that always comes up and these issues just further stall advancement of it. To me, it’s always just about the GPL, Stallman’s ego, and everybody else can take a hike. There is nothing in this new XFree license that isn’t “free”. It’s just that Stallman continues to try and redefine what free really is. This license, the BSD, the MIT licenses are all freerer than the GPL, so once again either people cave to some bizarro world FSF interpretation of free or things get forked and generally screwed up for everybody. 2004-03-01 4:02 pm I see your point about how other people might look at this, but honestly, if the OSS community cared that much about how corporations saw things, they never would have come as far as they have. And so far, NVIDIA and ATI are in no trouble. XFree86 is still there, and even if the X.org server takes over, the driver API is the same. And its not just the same because it happens to turn out that way — its the same because XFree 4.x was designed from the beginning to have a stable binary driver API. As for freedesktop.org, they’re changing the API, but doing so for technical rather than political reasons. From the mailing lists, I don’t get the impression that the NVIDIA folks are all that annoyed by the change. Certainly, they’re used to having to change the driver every year or so when a new DirectX release comes out! And as for whether the GPL is freer than BSD: only in the sense that an anarchy is freer than a republic. Sometimes, you give up rights to gain other rights. 2004-03-01 4:12 pm The GPL comes up more often due to the fact that there is a vast amount of software using the GPL and the fact that right now it is the “in” thing to use. You say that Stallman “continues to redefine what free is” but Stallman didn’t change his license, XFree did. Stallman has been saying the exact same thing for years and the XFree guys knew this. Even if Stallman is a little bit of a zealot, he does respect the rights of others to use what ever license they choose. There have been many meetings over the years about how to make the two licenses work together without GPL’ing XFree. Bringing in the “GPL is evil” argument is totally irrevelant to the fact that XFree has taken community help for years in good faith that the work would be usable to all and then turned around and changed the license in such a way that it conflicts. All this seems to be sour grapes that someone else might do a better job. The advertising clause isn’t even needed, since the name XFree can’t even be used by anyone else. What GOOD does it do? Mismanagement of XFree denied patches that could improve the software for everyone (ATI was TRYING to submit patches as one example), denied interested developers access, drove off many good programmers (Keith Packard and Alan Cox to name a few) and now is driving off users. Does any of this seem to be a GPL problem? 2004-03-01 4:43 pm You are both right, in almost every count. The GPL was designed to twist the arm of the other licenses. It’s the grunt hit man of the license world. And this is good. I would risk to say, it’s the reason why free software is not an academic excercise today. See, Free Software is about the user’s freedom, not the developers’/distributors’ freedom. You receive the code, derive from it, and — if and only if you distribute it — you pass along the derived code. Simple. Your user has the option of doing the same. But — again if he does modifications and want to pass along those — he can not take the freedom of his mods’ users away. Now, RMS is a self-proclaimed saint. And, mind you, he’s good at it. Saints tend to make no compromises. They state their goals (more free software) and they go about it. Even RMS is not a perfect saint (GFDL invariant sections). But he is a good one. The problem with the XFree license is that Dawes has a problem. Not Stallman, Eben Moglen, not Theo. Dawes has a problem. It’s not attribution he wants (attribution is a part of the oldX/MIT/BSD2or3clause licenses); it’s advertising he wants. Well, Mandrake won’t give him that (advertising). Neither will Gentoo or OpenBSD or Debian or even RedHat. It costs them, they ain’t gonna pay when they have cheaper options. It’s philosofically wrong to some of them (Debian at least). It hinders their abilities to combine pieces of free software (some licensed by GPL and some by newXlicense) and keep themselves and their users from doing illegal stuff. It has no good reasoning behind it. Simple as that. Now, we could discuss if RMS is a PITA or not; I think he is, but with good reason, and I thank him for it. Repeating what Hayshem said above: “People who code GPL’ed programs choose the license of their own volition. That’s their prerogative. The fact that other projects have had to change their licenses to be GPL-compatible is simply a testament to how popular the GPL has become among open source developers. Nobody is forcing these other projects to be GPL-compatible. The fact that they choose to change their licenses simply means they consider the GPL-using community important enough to warrent working with.” The GPL isn’t popular for no particular reason. It is popular because I (and many, many other FS developers) don’t mind everyone using the fruits of my work, but we would not like to see derived works become closed. It’s our option, to begin with. I like to discuss these issues with such combative people like the two of you. Kudos. 2004-03-01 6:06 pm “…but for right now we’re stuck with 4.3 and no official support for newer video cards.” Jem, Not sure I agree with this statement;) SciTech is offering support for newer graphics cards with fully certified and tested drivers. Cheers, Andrew 2004-03-01 7:36 pm One single person would not be able to hijack such an important project ? In theory it’s good to be free to change the rules for your own creation, but we talk about a project. Who vote for this new licence (before what’s look like a putsch) ? What acknowledgement you hope if all licence include an advertisement clause ? Isn’t it a short term view unless you expect other effects ? 2004-03-01 7:48 pm Y2k was not just a rumor. it ammounted to nothing because i big deal was made of it. and a lot of engineers worked their asses off in order to fix it. the cold didnt result in nuclear winter, but that doesnt mean it couldnt have happened, its the fact that a lot of people worked to make sure it didnt. 2004-03-01 8:27 pm No, it’s YaXS due to the relation to GNU and such 2004-03-01 11:47 pm Bad, bad idea. The GPL would be way too restrictive for a project like that. People wouldn’t be able to develop closed-source software for it as every program linking against its libraries would need to be GPL’d. That’s why Microsoft calls the GPL “a cancer/virus”. You might see it as good if you’re a disciple of RMS but I’m pretty sure it would stop the commercial expansion and the adoption of Linux. It could be LGPL’d… but even RMS doesn’t really want you to use it: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html 2004-03-01 11:48 pm And so the community moved on towards another alternative and no one battered an eyelid. 2004-03-04 2:14 pm After reading the first posts of this jihad or should i say gnuzealotery i want to congrat David Dawes, all XFree86 founders and XFree86 Foundation for the new license and the new 4.4 release.