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|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] XFree86 gets underwhelmed by Linux distro support / Suse 9.1 Due Out
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From: "Inker, Evan"
Subject: [hangout] XFree86 gets underwhelmed by Linux distro support / Suse 9.1 Due Out
April 24, 2004
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2004 17:53:47 -0000
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XFree86 gets underwhelmed by Linux distro support
Xfree licence controversy breaks wind
By Fernando Cassia: Thursday 04 March 2004, 10:23
SOON AFTER I I wrote about the Xfree86 4.4.0 release, an email from SuSE's
PR department arrived at my inbox, detailing the company's position on the
new Xfree licence. It reads.
SuSE LINUX does not endorse the XFree86 project's recent license
Hence, SuSE will not include versions of XFree86 subject to the project's modified license in future SUSE product offerings.
SuSE LINUX 9.1, available in April 2004, and the next generation of SUSE
Enterprise Server, available in summer 2004, will include an enhanced
of X11 based on a XFree86 version prior to the license change.
For the future, we are exploring different options, e.g. X.org and
freedesktop.org, to establish a reliable alternative that lets our customers
benefit from future enhancements in Linux desktop infrastructure technology.
The folks at Sun Microsystems, on the other hand, seem to be still undecided
whether to ditch Xfree86 4.4.0 or stick to it, simply saying: "We are
looking at 4.4 and X.ORG, we have three X platforms Solaris Sparc, Solaris
X86 and the Java Desktop System linux."
Asked what the rejections by distros Red Hat, Mandrake, Debian, and now SuSE
meant for Xfree86's future, project leader David Dawes told The INQUIRER he
is "indifferent to the business decisions of these vendors".
He continued by saying: "I think this provides a good opportunity for
XFree86 to cut out the middle-man, and go back to a stronger emphasis on
providing our software directly to the end user as we did in the early
David Dawes says he "doesn't see anything outrageous" with the new Xfree86
4.4.0 licence. But Linux vendors disagree, and cite two main problems.
the advertising clause which would mean that they would need to add the text
that such an "advertising clause" is not GPL compatible, meaning that any
files under the new license cannot be used from a program that is under the
But David Dawes seems a little suspicious: "I have heard privately that some
vendors were planning to move to an X.Org release even before this licence
issue came up. That probably makes business sense for the vendors given that
X.Org is a vendor-oriented organization sponsored by hardware and software
companies, while XFree86 is an independent group of volunteer developers. I
suspect that the licence issue may have affected the timing, but not the end
result", he concluded.
In private, however, programmers at some Linux distros that have rejected
the new licence weren't very kind to Xfree86.org. One said: "The XFree86
project is dead, this was just the last shot," conditions of anonymity.
All this cat-fighting is sad indeed, specially since there are some features
in this last Xfree86 update (See here) that are worth having, specially for
We also asked Lindows Inc for an official statement on its position on this
controversy, but so far it has not responded. It must be busy fighting the
Vole's trademark injuctions. But since Lindows is Debian-based, and this
distro has already rejected the Xfree86 4.4.0's licence, that might speak
We will keep you posted as this soup opera unfolds. µ
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