Re: XFree86 is changing their license
On Sat, Feb 14, 2004 at 07:30:24PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 29, 2004 at 03:05:04PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> A quick followup to this issue, which i have been following upstream as
> i said i would.
> Only today (well maybe yesterday already) was the licence change applied
> to the XFree86 CVS repository, so the first announcement could indeed
> be seen as a start of discussion announcement and such.
> It seems the intentions of the XFree86 project is to not apply the new
> licence to the client-side libraries, thus stoping any fear of GPL
> compatibility problems with client applications linking with those
> libraries. Thus the most urgent concern seems to be waived. I have urged
> David Dawes to make an official announcement of it though or something,
> so let's see if there will be a official confirmation about this.
> This still is not as neat as it would have been, but i think the
> catastrophic consequences that could have been have been avoided, and
> RMS is currently in discussion with David on the email@example.com
> mailing list, so let's see what will happen.
Ok, another (and probably last) followup on the licence problem. The
XFree86 project has released a FAQ accompanying the licence at :
The important points being :
o The licence is said to be free, probably DFSG free, not sure though.
The sole restriction is that : if there are ackonwledgement for third
party software (as opposed to artwork and other non software, probably
documentation and other text data), then xfree86 should also be
acknowlegded in the same way.
o The licence is GPL incompatible due to the above restriction.
o The licence will not be applied to client-side libraries :
"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."
So, i guess the only remaining problems are :
1) Is the above restriction compatible with the DFSG. I think it will
be for debian-legal to tell.
2) Are there other GPLed projects which reuse the relicenced code ? If so,
they can either fork it, or obtain another agreement with the
corresponding copyright holder of the project. I doubt this really is
3) Well, all the other licencing problems Branden noticed, but this is
not related to the licence change, and often go back to before the 4.0
XFree86 release. Hopefully they can be fixed.
Ok, i am ccing this to debian-legal, in order to have their opinion,
please CC me in replies if you drop debian-private, since i am not
subscribed to debian-legal.
All in all, i believe that this change didn't warrant the whole
excitment that was made with the announcement of the licence change,
altough i think it was salutable as it allowed us to find the other
licencing issues, thanks go to Branden for that (and for the 4.3.0
release to unstable, well to Branden and the rest of the X Strike
Force), i think, contrary to others, that the discussion with X upstream
i have followed was rather civil, and if there still are problems, they
can be easily solved. All the remaining huge problems are, i think, of
political and project leadership power struggle nature, which i think is
a sad thing.