XFree86 -- new license

Mike A. Harris mharris@redhat.com
Mon, 16 Feb 2004 01:03:34 -0500 (EST)

On Mon, 16 Feb 2004, Donnie Berkholz wrote:

>What are you guys doing about the new license? Still planning to ship
>4.4.0, or the last stuff before the license change, or some other
>We've been putting out the snapshots, but I might hold off on RC3
>pending some sort of consensus on the licensing.

Hi Donnie,

We currently have no plans to ship XFree86 4.4.0 in the future.  
Red Hat is a strong supporter of open source software and
technologies, and the new XFree86 license seems to be intended to
restricting existing freedom for no real world technical or other
gains.  At least no gains that are beneficial to the community.

Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation has expressed
his concerns publically about the new XFree86 license and it's
incompatibility with the GPL.  Many others in the community
object strongly to the new license as well.

Branden Robinson of the Debian project has put together a list of
license related issues contained in XFree86's source tree, and 
efforts are underway to remove code which is considered to be 
non-open source, or under too restrictive of license terms.

Our current plan, is to use the freedesktop.org xlibs for the
client side libraries.  For the clients, utilities, X server, and
other bits, we have not yet made a 100% solid decision, however 
a couple of alternatives are being explored.  The details are 
not yet completely decided, however one thing that is decided, is 
that the XFree86 license version 1.1 is unacceptable.

X11 has sorely lacked such an open and collaborative development 
environment for a very long time.  It's now time for the open 
source community to unite and work together on solving this 
problem together, and give X11 permanently back to the community!

I very much look forward to working together in collaboration
with yourself, the Debian project, FreeBSD, Mandrake, SuSE, X.org
foundation, the other BSDs, and any/all other interested parties
on a true open source solution for the needs of X11 users and

Take care!

Mike A. Harris     ftp://people.redhat.com/mharris
OS Systems Engineer - XFree86 maintainer - Red Hat