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Re: X11R6.4 and Debian

Marco Anglesio <mpa@squawk.klue.on.ca> writes:

> >From comp.os.linux.development.system
> >This is from the official announce of X11 R6.4:
> >
> > With the release of X11R6.4 there will be a commercial use licensing
> > fee associated with the X Window System technology.  This new licensing
> > structure will continue to provide the research, application
> > development and hobbiest communities with the same value it always has
> > without a fee.  And, it will help assure the continued evolution of the
> > X Window System program with the support of those companies who build
> > their businesses from this technology.
> How will this influence the composition of future versions of Debian? 
> IIRC, a current topic on debian-user has been that non-free works are not
> included in the official debian distribution; if X11R6.4 becomes non-free,
> would that mean that X11R6.4 would no longer be distributed with Debian
> (at least not on official CD-ROM's)? 
> IMHO not including X11R6.4 would be a major barrier to new users trying
> out Debian. 

X11 is basically a pretty mature standard.

It's not going to disappear from Debian - X11R6.3 is DFSG-free
software, so we have no fear of that.

What will happen, if the Open Group persists with this licensing, is
that there will be two competing X standards - the proprietary
X-branded one that the Open Group licenses to the commercial Unix
vendors - and the free one put out by XFree86 that is used by Linux
and FreeBSD (and others).

In reality, this isn't going to happen.  The commercial Unix vendors
don't want to see X split - and they fund the Open Group.  A split in
X development would be a nightmare for them, because the Open Group
would not be able to keep up with the XFree86 fork.

What will happen is that the commercial X/Unix vendors will see the
light (with some assistance) - and realize that the free licensees
(XFree86) contribute more value in terms of code than the commercial
vendors contribute in money.  So they will rework the funding
arrangement in such a way that X can be freely licensed under the old
license, XFree86 can contribute code, but the commercial vendors still
fund development.

This will happen sooner or later.  It will happen sooner if all the
free software types raise a big stink right away before their
licensing idea gets entrenched.

So if you know anybody who was a member of the X Consortium, and is
now supporting the Open Group - call them or send them a note, and
explain "Open Source" to them.


 - Jim

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