[forum] Re: Announcement: Modification to the base XFree86(TM) license.

Jim Gettys forum@xfree86.org
Mon, 02 Feb 2004 11:28:56 -0500


There are two issues with this change:
	1) the decision making process.
	2) the consequences of the change.

On both grounds, I must oppose.

Any license change that has affects on *other* people's code,
as this one potentially does since it is being applied
to parts of a much larger aggregate, should be discussed in advance.
What someone/an organization does that does not affect others
copyrights ultimately is their decision.  However, in this case,
there may be consequences to this action that affect other
people's contributions to code distributed by XFree86. Therefore this
should have been discussed *in advance* with the community.
It is unacceptable that such changes be presented ex post
facto.

Secondly, XFree86 has recently been a steward 
of a technology that has seen major contributions by many, many 
people and organizations, over 20 years. As Stallman notes in
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html, the consequences of
everyone demanding acknowledgment can rapidly become untenable.
What if all contributors demand such acknowledgment?

Similarly, I must oppose this change for the same reasons I
have opposed Stallman's "GNU/Linux" campaign in public:
the contributors to the X Window System technology are
amazingly wide ranging, from people and organizations
including the DRI project, MIT, Digital, Sun, SGI,
the X Consortium, SuSE, HP, Metrolink and so on: many, many more 
than can possibly ever be properly acknowledged.  

XFree86's contributions will not be forgotten, but they are in 
fact no more key or central than many others represented in the
technology and code distributed by XFree86, and arrogating
that XFree86 must be acknowledged when most others with similar major
contributions are not, is not in the proper spirit of community
and sharing, so I must similarly oppose this change, as I do
with calling Linux GNU/Linux.

                        Regards,
                            - Jim Gettys

-- 
Jim Gettys <Jim.Gettys@hp.com>
HP Labs, Cambridge Research Laboratory