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From: (Piercarlo Grandi)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce
Subject: Don't use Motif for free sw: it now requires runtime royalties!
Date: 18 Nov 1993 13:41:47 +0200
Approved: (Lars Wirzenius)
Message-ID: <2cfn1r$o7j@klaava.Helsinki.FI>

Perhaps this is a johnny-come-lately sort of posting, but the subject
matter is important enough that it deserves repeating, if that's the

I have recently learned that the Motif library implementation by OSF is
now distributed with a license that requires royalty payments for every
_binary_ distributed that contains parts of the OSF Motif runtime
libraries when the binary is for a machine that does not already have a
Motif license.

This effectively means that all those that want their sw to be generally
free should stop using Motif -- there is no alternative to OSF's Motif
implementation for all of the free OSes that are currently so popular (I
don't know of _any_ other commonly available library with an API
ompatible with that of OSF's Motif implementation).

Note that this new license restriction makes Motif based sw hard to
distribute *only* on free OSes: most commercial OSes nowadays are sold
bundled with a runtime Motif license, so there is no need to pay OSF a
runtime library royalty when distributing a Motif binary for say an IBM
or HP workstation (and soon, thanks to COSE, for Sun too).

Therefore all authors and prospective authors of free sw should avoid
using Motif:

  their programs will not be distributable in binary form for any free
  OS (BSD, Linux, Mach 3.0, and so on), and using source distributions
  will require the purchase of a rather expensive (when compared to the
  royalty paid by a manufacturer to bundle Motif on all their machines)
  full Motif package, if available.

There are several alternatives to Motif:

  * the XView library, donated by Sun, is rather high quality and easy
    to program into.

  * the Interviews library, for C++ programmers, is also very high
    quality and easy to program for, and rumour is that it will become
    a standard part of X11R6.

  * the venerable Athena widget library is standard with most all X11
    packages, and there are several high quality high level widgets
    available in the Free Widget Foundation collection, which cover
    the functionality of the more sophisticated XView/Motif/Interviews

Finally a personal note: I think that this decision of the OSF is
extremely ill considered; I am hard pressed to think of *any* supplier
of graphical libraries of any sort that requires the payment of a
royalty on every copy of a program using a runtime library.

Runtime library royalties have not been a common industry practice for
many years now; they were quick to disappear in the early eighties
(largely thanks to Borland).

It is also interesting to note that this significant tightening of the
license terms seems *designed* to hurt *only* the development of free
sw, and of free OSes: the OSF Motif l&f and implementation are an ever
more popular industry standard, and virtually all workstation
manufacturers already supply a (very cheap to them) Motif runtime
license with every copy of their proprietary OSes.

Perhaps the OSF founders feel threatened by Linux, now that the
ATT/USL/SUN axis is conquered?

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From: "Peter J. Dohm" < dohm@slip1-18 (none)>
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce
Subject: Free-Motif
Date: 20 Nov 1993 19:16:52 +0200
Approved: (Lars Wirzenius)
Message-ID: <2clje4$71l@klaava.Helsinki.FI>

Hello all...

I just wanted to make this publicly known...

I'm the organizer of a project to write (essentially) a drop in replacement
for OSF/Motif.  The librarys will be written from scratch, and we won't
be looking at ANYTHING except the specs for Motif, so as not to get any
copywrited or ugly implementation ideas.  We intend the window manager to
be a derivative of fvwm.  The licensing will be approximately the
X Consortium's licensing.

We are currently in the pre-design stages, because I can't get my durn
mailing list set up quickly enough (ARRGH!).

As soon as that mailing list is active, I plan on moving as quickly as

I've already had hundreds of people mail to me to be put on the
mailing list, and you will all be added a.s.i.r. (as soon as it's ready :)

Please send me mail if you have any questions/comments.


Pete Dohm
Computer Science - Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio USA

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