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Re: FWD from XFree86 forum: GPL-incompatible license

Around 15 o'clock on Feb 11, mcnichol@austin.ibm.com wrote:

> In general I have some difficulty with the argument
> XFree doesn't use ABC, we have been using XYZ for years.
> Therefore ABC doesn't matter to anyone anymore.

Sure, in general that argument is quite weak.  However, it's also the case
that many (most?) Linux distributions have never shipped the utility
necessary to create these files (compress) because of patent issues.
Hence, any .Z font files must be local additions copied from Unix systems.

The question for me is what freedesktop.org will ship in it's release, and
for that, I'm going to limit it to strictly DFSG-free software.  Of course,
the hooks necessary to call out to the decompress.c code won't disappear, 
so vendors can build custom versions if they like.

> (from a later message)...
> I'm not real up to date on compression algorithms, but does zlib
> provide compatible compression/decompression?

Not as far as I could tell from the header and manual; zlib appears to
support only 'deflate' compression and decompression.  The X font library
uses zlib where available to support .gz files.

The license includes the dread BSD advertising clause as it was abstracted 
from Berkeley code before the great relicensing; I believe I did that in 
1989 or 1990.  If you can find a copy of the original code with the new 
Berkeley license, we can easily replace decompress.c with that.  I'll 
volunteer to re-edit the code to fit the Xfont library interfaces.

> I think the license is ok.

It conflicts with the GPL as it includes an advertising clause.  One result
is that the X-based VNC server cannot be legally distributed.  There are 
probably other conflicting uses as well.


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