Subject: Re: XFree86 4.4.0 has been released
To: Frederick Bruckman <email@example.com>
From: None <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 03/05/2004 20:21:02
On Mon, Mar 01, 2004 at 10:44:08AM -0600, Frederick Bruckman wrote:
> Nonetheless, they have. The only non-BSD thing about the license
> is that you have to include the license in the binary distribution,
> which we already do (in "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc/LICENSE"), so there's
> evidently no problem.
It is interesting to note that the new license isn't even an
"advertising clause" since it doesn't say you have to mention
anything about XFree86 in your ads. The new terms are weaker than
the historical BSD license that RMS railed against.
> The manufactured "controversy" looks like a weak excuse to chip at
> XFree86 by the new upstarts, freedesktop.org and (the new) X.org. If
The GPL doesn't allow additional restrictions as I understand it. Period.
None at all. So, what is the problem with requiring that the terms of the
GPL be followed when redistributing GPL'd code?
I'd bet the only way NetBSD can get into trouble is if we have to
mix GPL code with XFree86 code. I'm not sure if this is will be a
problem or not. Might NetBSD users need to mix (and then redistribute)
> GNU Public License incompatibility is not our problem. The GPL, by
> the way, may turn out to be as indefensible as many thought it was
> all along. Take note the mud that the MPlayer group is stirring up.
> Peter Wilmar Christensen, while denying the specific allegations,
> essentially maintains that certain provisions of the GPL void the
> entire thing:
> We have confirmed what we already knew, that when using code
> licensed under the GPL then we have to publish any derivative
> work. This means that the legal foundation is very thin and
> there is no place in the world that I know of where the GPL
> has been tested in court. So from a business perspective I
> would say that the license is relatively weak.
> The entire interview is reproduced here:
Oh boo. Lots of things haven't been tested in court. That doesn't imply
they won't stand up in court. My ownership of my house hasn't been tested
in court. That doesn't mean I'm in danger of losing my house. This
interview is just FUD from someone trying to avoid responsibility for not
respecting the license in borrowed source. Eben Moglen (council for the
FSF) has an excellent speech transcribed here:
See around time [25:08] to [30:02]
The GPL has never been tested in court because violators have
1) Capitulate on being caught
2) Go to court, lose one way
3) Go to court, lose a different way
Given that any way you slice it you lose, why would you bother with
the expense of a doomed court case?
Reach the speech.
> In particular, though, it wouldn't serve our interests at all if
> freedesktop's goal of having the X reference sources GPL'd is met,
> so I submit we should side with XFree86, at least until the code
> bases have diverged enough to make a decision on a technical basis.
Yeah, I'd hate to see us lose X to the GPL. It isn't like Microsoft is
going to swipe X. What are these guys afraid of?
"A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of
invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor ...
in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser ... in an irregular way
fascinating to cats,..." -- US patent 5443036, "Method of exercising a cat"