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

David Dawes forum@xfree86.org
Mon, 2 Feb 2004 12:36:29 -0500

On Mon, Feb 02, 2004 at 11:28:56AM -0500, Jim Gettys wrote:
>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

The changes are not retrospective, so they affect nothing that existed
before the changes take effect.

>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?

I think they should, and the argument that this is untenable is
self-serving to those who seek to marginalise the individual.

>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.

If you feel that there is are errors regarding which source files
the modified licence will be applied to, please let us know.  The
intention is only to change the licence for code that The XFree86
Project, Inc is the copyright holder.

We have invited all contributors to consider whether they would
like to make a similar modification to their licences and receive
equivalent acknowledgement.

If you or your employer distributes code from XFree86 and its
contributors, then why would you have a problem acknowledging this
assuming that you already make other third-party acknowledgements?

David Dawes
developer/release engineer                      The XFree86 Project