SuSE LINUX does not endorse the XFree86 project's recent license changes. 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 LINUX Enterprise Server, available in summer 2004, will include an enhanced version 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 days."
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.
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 notebook users.
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 volumes, quietly.
We will keep you posted as this soup opera unfolds. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ