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24th of March, 2003 POST·MERIDIEM 04:44

Some commentary on the Keith Packard brouhaha currently happening over at http://​www.​xfree86.​org/​#core ; someone (I think it was Mark Vojkovich) responded with incredulity to someone else’s interjection that the current problems could be related to public relations. Umm, well, yes it’s a public relations question. XFree86 is stable code, it’s reliable, it’s portable, it’s functional beyond anything else currently available. Yet the activity around it is a small fraction of what it could be, and should be, in this world of broadband and massively powerful personal computers.

Two possible reasons for this in my mind;
I) The unhappy co-incidence of the committers and release engineers being few in number and very busy with the rest of their lives means the backlog on patches & fixes is huge, and discouraging to people with other projects to hack.

II) It’s not a GPLed app, and the mindshare that Linus choosing that licence gave to the GPL means that those who haven’t the skills to hack other projects wrinkle their noses in disgust at it, and go learn something else. At some point they’ll probably stop being GPL bigots, but by that stage, they’ll probably be in camp I.

And, if I were to give a monetary value to the above, it wouldn’t be 2¢ :-) .

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