[forum] A Call For Open Governance Of X Development

Havoc Pennington forum@XFree86.Org
Sun, 23 Mar 2003 18:41:10 -0500

On Sun, Mar 23, 2003 at 11:27:22AM -0500, David Wexelblat wrote: 
> Another avenue is say "to hell with X.Org, we'll do our own version of
> ICCCM". To some extent, this is what has happened, right? Probably de-facto.
> So who should take ownership of formalizing this? Should it be XFree86? The
> desktop projects? LSB? I'm really not sure. Historically, it has NOT been
> XFree86, but perhaps there is a perception that it has been, or a belief
> that it should be.

FWIW, my view is that unless X.org drops the "if you pay, you get more
say" process, the open source community should formally declare that
X.org is irrelevant to us and we'll make our own standards. The
standards body for the open source graphics infrastructure should be
making decisions for technical reasons and technical reasons only, 
and that means individual membership, not consortium.

None of us would accept "any company that pays gets to decide about
{XFree86,Linux,GNOME,KDE}" and we should not accept that for new X
specs either. And history shows that the consortium model is about 100
times worse than the open source model for cross-company technology

It would be nice to remove all ambiguity on this point.

(I'm not even mentioning that the interesting X changes lately have
come from outside X.org anyhow.)

The question is of course who steps up to replace X.org; my opinion is
that it should be XFree86, if XFree86 is willing to accept the
obligation. I do think a more formal process/bylaws to ensure that
everyone feels their voice is heard would be required for XFree86 to
try to do standards. This could be somewhat organizationally separated
from the implementation/code aspect of XFree86. Very unclear at this
point how it would all look.

Another (perhaps better) option is for X.org to change their process
to a non-pay-for-play one, switch to be more IETF-like, etc. Perhaps
X.org could even merge with XFree86. But this means they would lose
their funding model, and so I don't see how they can do it. And we
shouldn't wait forever for them to get around to it.

A final option would be to do an X.org replacement that was
standards-only, separate from XFree86. But IMHO it makes more sense to
have one-stop shopping.

I feel bad for X.org employees, but the organization is holding us
back right now by owning X standards on paper while not really being
what we need.