Synaptics MIT license approved

Christoph Brill egore at
Wed May 16 13:59:22 PDT 2007

Hi Matthew,

I was informed that the driver works for current releases after I
started this approach. But you are totally right that it was wrong to
state so.

I also have been told that MIT/X11 license is incompatible with GPLv2.
If that is not the fact, why was I told that this driver can never be
shipped with the sources?

Now I got 3 options:
a) ask every developer again (even if I think that noone thought he was
   forced to change the license to keep the driver alive), get the
   permission again and continue the road to
b) keep the driver as is and never bother again
c) move the driver over to and keep it GPLv2 and hope
   that developers will touch the driver to reflect changes that

"a)" is the most work with no real benefit. "b)" least work but I
already spent to much time for that. "c)" is what I thought was

Maybe this was never an issue after got modular? *sigh*

Am Mittwoch, den 16.05.2007, 21:38 +0100 schrieb Matthew Garrett:
> I'm sorry for not having noticed this earlier, but I think there's some 
> fairly serious issues here. From the email you sent:
> "the synaptics driver was developed under the GPLv2 license[2] while the
> sources are licensed unter MIT/X11[3]. These licenses are so
> called "incompatible". That means you cannot ship sources along
> with the synaptics sources."
> This is simply untrue - there's no incompatibility between MIT/X11 and 
> GPL, and it would be perfectly permissable to ship the sources 
> along with the synaptics sources. It's a policy decision on the part of 
> the developers not to include GPLed source, but there's no 
> legal reason why they couldn't.
> "currently the driver cannot be run with the latest release and 
> not even the former release"
> That's kind of odd, since I'm running it against both 1.2 and 1.3 right 
> now.
> Put simply, the email you sent requesting permission for the license 
> change contains factual inaccuracies. If people have decided to grant 
> permission for the license change based on this, I think they could 
> quite legitimately claim to have been misled. I'd recommend contacting 
> everyone again with an apology for the previous request, an explanation 
> of what the state of affairs actually is and then ask for permission to 
> change the license again.
> On the other hand, I'm still not clear why this is an issue. There's no 
> problem hosting non-MIT/X11 code on, so it could be kept 
> with the source even without changing the license. I also don't 
> see an especially strong argument for why incorporating it into the 
> xserver source code would result in any significantly greater level of 
> development. What goal are you actually trying to achieve, and why do 
> you think relicensing would achieve it?

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