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Ian Goldby
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've spent more time than is healthy trawling the xfree86 forum learning more than I ever wanted to know about this whole business. What is quite clear now is that there are two main 'hidden' agendas. The first is disapproval of the way David Dawes is handling the XFree86 project and the way decisions are made. The second is a basic confict of ideology between the FSF and the developers of XFree86, over whether it is right to require that the source of all derived works must be made available and whether individual contributers should be free to choose their own licensing terms.

Here are a few relevant snippets, mostly from the, er, keyboard, of David Dawes himself.

1. The license change only applies to code copyrighted by The XFree86 Project, Inc. itself, and then not all such portions. Almost all of the drivers' copyrights are held by their respective authors. These therefore are not affected by the change. (Incidently, some have noted that the exchange of code between XFree86 and the kernel has largely been one-way, because the GPL effectively prevents kernel code being used in XFree86 unless all of the contributers agree to a dual-licensing scheme.)

2. Condition 2 of the XFree86 1.1 license requires that you include a copy of the license in any redistribution. The GPL and BSD licenses both have similar clauses. If you haven't given special prominence to any other 3rd party acknowledgements beyond including their license statements, you have automatically complied with condition 3 because it is there in the license.

3. On the packaging/advertising question, DD writes "If other third-party contributions are acknowledged in, say, a CD booklet, why shouldn't XFree86's be?"

4. There is nothing in the new license that hasn't applied to portions of the XFree86 code before. E.g. FreeType. Of course, one could argue that people have been unintentionally violating the GPL by linking to FreeType for years...

Nowhere could I find an answer to what is necessary in order to state "This product includes XFree86" on the box.
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And that, I hope, is the last I am going to contribute to this thread, other than to urge the Gentoo team to accept what the XFree86 team are saying at face value and get the latest XFree86 back in Portage as quickly as possible!
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AstralStorm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.fresco.org vs http://www.y-windows.org
Which will be better? ;)
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Beholders_Eye
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Fresco's web design is more appealing ;)

But, returning to the X11 1.1 License... I think that license FAQ's a bit obscure, they make it soft by saying that the new license won't be applied to the client libs.. and now it's said that a lot of xserver drivers have their own license, made by it's own authors... Well, what bit of XFree86 4.4 will really use X11 1.1 license then??
I don't agree with gentoo team's radical attitude. It would be good to keep XFree fresh in official portage trees...
But, opening more options with X clones is a must, there's only one X Windows System!!! As the Gentoo meta-distribution have the purpose of giving you choice (GPL'ed choices, for Gentoo IS GPL'ed), it'll be a good beginning to add more alternatives to the xserver side, don't you think?

And the ASF folks are claiming that Apache license 2.0 IS GPL compatible. :-)
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cyfred
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hardline or not it is way to much to expect us to 100% meet this license, any one of the many 1000's of packages could depend on one re-licensed source file and we'd never know until someone got upset about it...

See this post for a list of files that are effect (that are known of)
http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=gentoo-dev&m=107699194828748&w=2

If you want to read the entire thread @gentoo-dev then read from here
http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=gentoo-dev&m=107698788510450&w=2
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tecknogyk
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've spent more time than is healthy trawling the xfree86 forum learning more than I ever wanted to know about this whole business. What is quite clear now is that there are two main 'hidden' agendas. The first is disapproval of the way David Dawes is handling the XFree86 project and the way decisions are made. The second is a basic confict of ideology between the FSF and the developers of XFree86, over whether it is right to require that the source of all derived works must be made available and whether individual contributers should be free to choose their own licensing terms.


Ok, those are Dawes interpretation of the new license, but was the license itself changed enough to be easily interpreted that way? Or...is it still murky? If it's still murky then it matters not how he interprets it, because the distro's have to consider the legality of the situation and not someone's interpretation.

-teck
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dark days indeed
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sgtrock
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian;

I think you're getting a somewhat one-sided view by spending most of your time in the XFree86 forums. I've been following Linux for about 8 years, and the original GNU project before that for about another 10. My first use of an XWindows interface dates back to some time around 1983 or 1984.

I spent a fair amount of time learning all I could about what was then state of the art for Windows managers. I became familiar with the various nuances of OSS licenses. Even then, there was concern about advertising clauses in OSS licenses being more trouble than they were worth. The problems were seen to outweigh any benefits by the BSD guys years ago.

I've been concerned about the lack of progress of the XFree86 project for a long time. Other parts of our favorite OS have been advancing by leaps and bounds. By contrast, I kept seeing reports of slow, unresponsive management of the XFree86 project. The reports weren't limited to just one source. They kept popping up in the trade rags all over the place.

There's a great synopsis by IWBCMAN in this thread here on the Gentoo forums. I STRONGLY recommend reading it to get a less biased view of what has really transpired.
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Ian Goldby
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent read indeed, and I think this does go to the heart of the problem. I wouldn't make any judgement over whether David Dawes made the license change out of spite or for more egalitarian reasons, but I think that is irrelevant to the whole argument anyway. I presume you very much believe that is the most relevant issue. If so, I respectfully disagree.

We continue to be pedalled the line that the license change makes it illegal to distribute GPLed software linked to the xlibs, and that is the reason for Gentoo and others not accepting the new version. But we now know this is untrue because the license change doesn't apply to the xlibs.

As far as I am concerned, if this (as it seems obvious, and IWBCMAN seems to agree) is a battle of ideologies and/or a personality clash, or a protest at bad project leadership, then we should simply accept it as that. Such things do not merit the removal of XFree 4.4 from Portage though.
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sgtrock
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian;

I think we're talking past each other somehow. I agree that whether or not Dawes did it out of spite is to a large degree besides the point. I certainly recognize that there are some serious breakdowns in the advancement of XWindows in general, and XFree86 in particular.

As an aside, I saw the slide show of a presentation about a year ago, given by one of the original X11 developers at some point in the previous 12-24 months. One of his key messages was that XWindows development had essentially stalled for 10 years while other OSS projects were advancing. X11 had gone from being bleeding edge stuff to behind the times over that period. His followup message to that was that things were finally beginning to move, with developers becoming interested in a wide range of all things X related.

Put in this context, the XFree86 core project team's inability to quickly absorb and adapt new technology concepts has definitely held things back for all of us; thus the pent up demand that IWBCMAN mentions.

However, I still think that from the distributions' point of view the real hang up isn't xlib. I think that Dave Dawes' comments concerning it have alleviated some of the concerns, although I think he doesn't understand that his hand-waving about it won't mean squat to a judge if the license ever had a court challenge.

No, I still think that the real issue is the advertising clauses. These clauses are the real thorn in the side for the distros. They simply can't afford to open that whole can of worms for reasons that I've already detailed. These clauses, more than anything else, are going to destroy what's left of the XFree86 project.

Shame, really. Still, I'm certain that we'll see at least one fork based upon some combination of XFree86 4.3.x and new code within the next few months. Either that, or a codebase built upon some other version of X11R6 will show up very soon. One or more of those alternatives will replace Xfree86 in the Linux and *BSD distros.


Last edited by sgtrock on Sat Feb 28, 2004 2:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sgtrock
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2004 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just saw this at LinuxFund.org:

Quote:

Funded: Daniel Stone as Release Manager for fd.o XServer
We're proud to announce our sponsorship of Australian student Daniel Stone, who promises to work at a breakneck pace to complete an initial release of the FreeDesktop.org XServer, scheduled for mid-March.

Daniel will work to test and package both client libraries and server and driver components in a stand-alone way. Previously, X had been distributed as a monolithic package by the ailing XFree86 team. Also on the agenda is converting the build environment from imake to autoconf/automake.

The best way to tune in to updates is to watch CVS of course, but planet.freedesktop.org is a shiny aggregation point for relevant journals.


W00t!

BTW, if you can't do anything else to help out with Linux development, throw a few bucks towards these guys. It's definitely money well spent.


Last edited by sgtrock on Sat Feb 28, 2004 2:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Robe
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2004 12:36 pm    Post subject: Nvidia IS working on drivers Reply with quote

Quote:
Funded: Daniel Stone as Release Manager for fd.o XServer
We're proud to announce our sponsorship of Australian student Daniel Stone, who promises to work at a breakneck pace to complete an initial release of the FreeDesktop.org XServer, scheduled for mid-March.


This is excellent news. And even better news , I was able to get ahold of a real Nvidia tech on the phone and was informed that Nvidia WILL be making / maintaning drivers for fd.o. If fact he said they will basically be the same drivers, just a few changes.
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damianfrancis
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:41 am    Post subject: a little better Reply with quote

Well knowing that nvidia will be making drivers for fd.org makes me feel much better about this. But I was wondering something. Are the drivers in portage for nvidia cards released under the GPL?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:15 am    Post subject: Re: a little better Reply with quote

damianfrancis wrote:
Well knowing that nvidia will be making drivers for fd.org makes me feel much better about this. But I was wondering something. Are the drivers in portage for nvidia cards released under the GPL?


No the Nvidia Drivers are not GPL... if they were we'd have created a much better version by now :wink:
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:38 pm    Post subject: ok that is my point Reply with quote

I didn't think the nvidia drivers were GPLed so if we have those in portage why are the devs not placing any of the new xfree in Portage? As has already been stated by many others on this thread, many of us do not mind running non GPL software or software that is non GPL compatable. Why not leave the choice up to us if we want to emerge it? They do so wih the nvidia drivers, do they not?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nvidia *can not* gpl their driver. Nvidia licenses third party intellectual property for their graphics chips and drivers. The nvidia drivers have never been open source. How ever this is not about "open source" but rather licenses, and politics.

The nvidia license does not impose incompatible restrictions against projects or its distribution. remember the glue that actually links to the kernel is open. Yes section 2.1.1 of the nvidia license restricts distribution.... but 2.1.2 is the Linux exclusion, and grants the ability to redistribute, provided that the *binaries* (after unzipping the package)are not changed.

X free however has been under a compatible license, and open source (not GPL). Recently the license that x free is released under has been changed. This new license adds an advertising clause for distribution. This change is incompatible with the gpl. making it essential copyright infringement to link to the new x free code. This restriction is against the distribution, of the technology.

The reason gentoo is affected is because gentoo is a meta distribution. they provide media and technology to create your own custom distribution. The game CD's, and the live cd's are examples of this.

Essentially what the change in the x free license dose is impose restriction on a GPL'd program. The GPL prevents me from writing a program against another program unless the license of the other program allows "no strings attached" redistribution.

I will leave the politics of the matter to your own searching... lets just say it is something a lot more than a simple innocent change.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:59 am    Post subject: Re: Nvidia IS working on drivers Reply with quote

Robe wrote:
This is excellent news. And even better news , I was able to get ahold of a real Nvidia tech on the phone and was informed that Nvidia WILL be making / maintaning drivers for fd.o. If fact he said they will basically be the same drivers, just a few changes.

I hadn't heard that. Superb.

To clarify a little, he meant the X.org release from freedesktop.org, not kdrive.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2004 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian Goldby wrote:
We continue to be pedalled the line that the license change makes it illegal to distribute GPLed software linked to the xlibs, and that is the reason for Gentoo and others not accepting the new version. But we now know this is untrue because the license change doesn't apply to the xlibs.

Quite true. That seems a common misconception.

However, consider GPL drivers (synaptics, wacom), or GPL X servers (VNC).
Quote:
As far as I am concerned, if this (as it seems obvious, and IWBCMAN seems to agree) is a battle of ideologies and/or a personality clash, or a protest at bad project leadership, then we should simply accept it as that. Such things do not merit the removal of XFree 4.4 from Portage though.
You can't remove what was never there. And if a superior alternative exists, I have no problem supporting it.
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Ian Goldby
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2004 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair comment. Of course, Portage contains Xfree 4.3.99_902, but not later versions. My bad choice of words. I should have said "...such things do not merit the freezing of XFree86 to 4.3.99_902 in Portage" then, or something similar. :wink:
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO it's better off to let the old xfree86 die, this will bring a TON of interest in new cutting edge xwindow projects.

IMO freedesktop.org's xserver, even in it's infancy, already has features I have wanted to see xfree86 for awhile.


Hopefully, by the time xfree 4.3 really needs to be upgraded, freedesktop.org's server will be ready for primetime. I personally cant wait to get a working build with vid card drivers in it.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malakai wrote:
IMO it's better off to let the old xfree86 die, this will bring a TON of interest in new cutting edge xwindow projects.

IMO freedesktop.org's xserver, even in it's infancy, already has features I have wanted to see xfree86 for awhile.


Hopefully, by the time xfree 4.3 really needs to be upgraded, freedesktop.org's server will be ready for primetime. I personally cant wait to get a working build with vid card drivers in it.

You are a little confused about what's happening at freedesktop.org. First, there is Keith Packard's experimental X server (xserver.fd.o). Second, there is the X.org implementation (xorg.fd.o). Keith's X server will _never_ be ready for prime time. That isn't the point. The point is research into new directions for X. The X.org implementation, however, is essentially a mixture of XFree86 4.3.99.902 and 4.3.99.903 without the "dirty" license. You may expect this to be released, and perhaps some of the new extensions from Keith's X server will be integrated at some point.
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