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2004 Feb 29 22:13

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[vox-tech] XFree86 4.4.0 non-GPL compatible
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[vox-tech] XFree86 4.4.0 non-GPL compatible



On Sun, Feb 29, 2004 at 07:35:23PM -0800, Ken Bloom wrote:
> On 2004.02.29 18:32, Mike Simons wrote:
> >On Fri, Feb 27, 2004 at 07:18:38PM -0800, Jim Lowman wrote:
> >Xfree86 4.4.0 does have support for the Radeon 9800 video card...
> >however it seems that XFree86 recently (Jan 29) decided to change the
> >license on the X server to be GPL incompatible.  Depending on how
> >the various distributions deal with with this it may take a while for
> >that card to work in most distros.
> >
> >http://xfree86.org/legal/licenses.html
> >===
> >What about GPL-compatibility?
> >
> >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.
> >===
> 
> How exactly does GPL incompatibility cause a problem for the distros?

Well the old license was GPL compatible.

If there are any parts of the distribution that the non-GPL X server portions
run time link with GPL'd code then distributions would not be able to continue 
shipping both the new X server and that GPL'd thing.  They could chose
one other the other but not both.

People are upset about this, and a fork of the XFree86 code is possible... 
which will delay progress.

If you search on google for "xfree86 gpl license change" you should get 
plenty of material to read.

http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html
===
There's also some recent evidence that GPL compatibility is important
from one project that's tried to go from GPL-compatible to
GPL-incompatible: XFree86. The XFree86 project has historically led
development of a popular X server, and traditionally the vast majority
of its code used the simple "MIT/X" open source license that is
GPL-compatible. The XFree86 president, David Dawes, decided to change
the XFree86 license to one that isn't GPL-compatible, primarily to give
developers more credit. This proposed license change caused a serious
uproar. Jim Gettys, a well-respected developer, strongly opposed this
change to the XFree86 license, even though he's not a strong advocate of
the GPL. Richard Stallman asked that something be worked out. An article
at Linux Today and a discussion at Freedesktop.org show that Red Hat,
Debian, SuSE, Gentoo, Mandrake, and OpenBSD plan to drop XFree86 if they
switch to this new license. [...]
At this point it's not clear what will happen, but I think it's very
likely that the license will change (again) or the project will be forked
(with most users switching to the fork).
===
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