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Re: X11 non open-source? (a solution?)

On Mon, 6 Apr 1998, Erik Walthinsen wrote:

> > Basicly it boils down to this:
> > 
> > X11R6.4 is free to USE but you can not DISTRIBUTE IT FOR MONEY without a
> > license. You can not distribute a larger package that X is only a
> > component part of for money without a license from Open Group.  YOU MAY
> > distribute X11R6.4 provided you do not charge for it.

> So if R6.4 was included in Debian (via XFree), Debian would have to 
> purchase a license.  Suck.

No, Debian does not sell Debian.  Trouble is, nobody else could. Debian
can include X11R6.4 but nobody could sell a CDROM with Debian on it.

> Here's a thought: XFree86.org purchases a special license from OpenGroup, 
> at a fixed price, which gives them the right to scrub the XFree sources of 
> the OpenGroup license, and distribute freely.  XFree wins, OpenGroup wins, 
> and Linux and others win.  Commercial entities wanting to do X stuff will 
> either go to OpenGroup for the latest and greatest, plus a direct say in 
> R6.5 and above, or use XFree, and just use whatever comes down the 
> pipeline.  Those who can would contribute to XFree86.org, to pay for the 
> R6.4+ license. 
> Does that make sense?  Should it be proposed somewhere?  Are there holes in 
> it that would have to be plugged?  Would XFree86.org and OpenGroup go for 
> it?  Is public pressure and bad press enough to force it?

It would have to work something like this:

XFree86 buys a special license from Open Group for $10,000 and calls
their product X11F6.4. In exchange for redistribution, XFree agrees to
support it. I really do not think this will work because what is XFree
going to get for its $10,000 except having to support code that it did not

It is a really crappy situation and blows X completely out of the
small-time software market.  I could no longer build a linux distribution
and make a living selling it to local business without laying out $7500.
Now $7500 is not a LOT of money but it is an annual fee. That requires me
to price my software according to volume.  If I sell 100 copies/year, it
will need to be $75 a copy just to break even on X.  FOr $75 people will
just get Win95.

Open Group has their head squarely up their collective rump.

They are going to kill a goose that never had a golden egg.  Since their
source will still be downloadable for "non-commercial" use, their
functionality will be "cleanroomed" into XFree and nobody will every buy 
a X11R6.4 license. Linux is a borg and will assimillate any functionality
that comes along. They can not hide behind money.

What a bunch of idiots!

George Bonser 
Just be thankful that Microsoft does not manufacture pharmaceuticals.
Debian/GNU Linux ... the maintainable operating system.

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