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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.

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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