OpenBSD Journal

XFree86 License

Contributed by jose on from the incompatability dept.

Asenchi writes: "Theo posted to the misc@ list on Monday concerning the changes in the XFree86 License. He wasn't to thrilled about it and in fact OpenBSD will not be incorporating any _new_ X code.

Read here for the actual email:

Seems this is becoming a fad: "

By the way, some of the latest XF4 imports have the commit line, "Import XFree86-current of 2004/02/13, minus files with new license."

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward () on

    From my understanding, OpenBSD, RedHat, Gentoo, Debian, Mandrake etc. are all doing the same.

    What's going to happen from here, OpenBSD forks XF4 and perhaps calls it OpenXF86? If so, I think this would be wasted work for OpenBSD if they do it and other OSS projects do their own thing(s).

    Couldn't/shouldn't the groups all come together and work on a common fork that's compatible with the previous XF86 license? ie, something like or whatever else is already out there?

    Sorry if these questions sound dumb. And no, I'm not trying to troll or start a flame war so please don't take this the wrong way.


    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Hopefully, the XFree86 group will decide changing the license was not worth the discord it has caused, and elect to change it back.

      If the worst comes to pass, I can't imagine that the OpenBSD project could hope to sustain and a update a project as broad as XFree86. It is very much a project in its own right. In a way this is too bad, since I think the OpenBSD project would be a pretty good custodian of the technology. Collaboration between all the dissatisfied groups is really what will be needed IMHO.

      I think the big danger here is that the Linux distros will go with a GPL'd xserver leaving the BSDs high and dry.

      1. By Chris Waters () on

        Speaking as a member of the Debian project[*], I can assure you that no one in any position of power or respect in the Linux community is interested in changing the X license *at all*! The potential for havoc and license conflict nightmares is just too high. Only The Hurd fanatics could possibly contemplate something so insane, and they, fortunately, are under our (Debian's) thumb as far as packaging goes, so they don't have much say in the matter.

        If any good comes out of this whole mess, it may well be an unprecedented degree of cooperation between the Linux and BSD communities. Forking XFree86 is going to be a monster task, and we'll probably need everyone.

        [*] Debian is best known for its community-based Linux systems, but is branching out into BSD and Hurd systems too.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          Actually I've always found that Debian and OpenBSD (in particular) seem to share a lot of commonalities philosophy-wise (I started my 'ix experience with Debian -- sometime ago now). They are both a bit more concerned with the legitimacy of licenses than average, and tend to be more conservative feature-wise due to security and stability concerns.

          Glad to hear there is no intention of changing license if it comes to a fork, since clearly the BSDs would be on the losing end of such a change. I'm still hoping it proves to be resolvable issue though -- such a waste in duplication of effort otherwise; and it is difficult enough getting driver info for *one* windowing system.

      2. By Anonymous Coward () on

        Because BSDs don't use GPL'd software?


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