Xorg license policy

dan dan at entropy.homelinux.org
Thu Aug 28 19:08:50 PDT 2008

On Thu, 28 Aug 2008 21:38:31 -0400, Chuck Robey <chuckr at telenix.org> wrote:

> The actual existence of GPL has in the main frightened 3rd party
> developers.  It has spurred no actual development.  How many of you
> are aware of the large number  of vendors who are actually in
> direct violation of the GPL, and relying on the fact that most
> people won't realize they are in violation, and those few
> will not have any resources to take them to court.

This may be the case. Certainly I'm familiar with the argument anyway.
I'm not in a position to validate it or not, but on the face of it, I
concede that BSD licensing would seem to be more attractive than GPL,
at least in the short term. I'm not sure about the long-term viability
vs GPL.

> Both of these points aren't true of the several different licenses which
> are more free.  Those have actually spurred some development in 3rd
> parties, have scared no one, and don't have a large number of entities
> in violation.

Yes but that's because it's a lot harder to be in violation of a license
for all intents and purposes, requires *nothing*. If you're OK with
nothing, then sure, BSD is the way to go, and sure, you won't find *too*
people in violation of it.

> I know some large company names I could mention that are in GPL
> although because I don't want to be sued, I won't mention them, but you
> all know their names.

I have a problem with this argument. If companies are in violation of
the GPL, then that's between them and the copyright holders. In particular,
the fact that companies ( many companies ) are in violation of the GPL
not be used as an argument against the use of the GPL ( on the contrary ...
In other words I don't think we should be looking to appease companies who
don't respect the license of a product that they're using ( and in
profiting from ).

In the short term, yes BSD licensing may get you more contributions. But I
wonder if in the long term said contributors who have no problem with
the GPL might turn around and attack the open-source community, via patents

That's not to say that I have a problem with the BSD license. Being and
of Xorg and not a contributor, I'm happy to accept either BSD or GPL. But I
don't like the idea of sweeping GPL violations under the carpet while at
same time using these violations as and argument against the GPL.


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