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That's not making sense to me.
LCA: Catching up with X.org
Posted Jan 26, 2009 13:29 UTC (Mon) by branden (subscriber, #7029)
I can't find the mailing list reference--and for all I know the message isn't archived anymore, but at one point one of the erstwhile core team members bluntly said (generously paraphrased) that the project had far too many users, was too Linux-centric, and that times were much better when they were just a small group of friends hacking up a descendant of X386 for their own fun and edification.
Now, I don't know if this opinion was shared by all of the core team, or even that this wasn't necessarily a sarcastic rant, but it does render XFree86's philosophy of project management comprehensible, and their actions rational within that framework.
The only wart on it is that these goals were not (and are not) stated forthrightly. XFree86's conception of its userbase was a mass of essentially anonymous people who could use the code if they wanted to, were welcome to file bugs or submit patches, but should not ever expect more than the most perfunctory conversation, or to ever enjoy elevation into the clubhouse. (That said, one developer, after many years, did achieve such an ascension, apparently through years of hard work and the forging of a personal friendship with a core team member, in part through trade shows).
XFree86 did deviate from that founding principle, leading to such things as (gulp) a public bug tracker, public betas, a second tier of half a dozen or so serious contributors, and even the injection of an X architect into the core team, but all of these served to poison the original vision.
By these lights, the X-Oz license, later the XFree86 1.1 license, makes perfect sense. By crafting a license whose terms were objectionable to most of the community and its developers (especially the smelly proletariat comfortable with the GPL and impure variants of the original BSD licenses which were missing clauses), but to which the trait of "freedom" could still arguably be said to apply--and thus positive relations with the beloved *BSD projects preserved--it succeeded in metaphorically nailing a "KEEP OUT" sign to the clubhouse door.
That even the *BSDs gave up on XFree86 is, under this model, regrettable but by no means an indication of failure. In a way, it's better this way, because the proceedings of XFree86's august society are even less frequently disturbed.
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