why was XFree86 dropped for ports?

Chuck Robey chuckr at telenix.org
Tue Mar 31 10:13:27 PDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

I cc'd flz because I saw an email from March of 2008 which announces that
Florent Thoumie (flz) himself deleted the XFree86-4 port.

I need to understand why all support for XFree86 has been removed from our
ports.  It doesn't make sense to me.  Here are the salient points I've seen,
from doing my own experimentation with it about 2 months ago:

1) it builds in about 1/3 of the time of the Xorg offering.
2) It's still being developed, and having regular releases.
3) it configures trivially easy, most especially  relative to Xorg.
4) it's a single port that downloads as one tarball, as opposed to Xorg, which
is composed of about a hundred different tarballs.  It's not possible to handle
the Xorg port as one item, so that makes XFree86 far simpler to maintain that Xorg.
5) The configuration process for XFree86 is still what it has been for decades,
and you need only change one single variable in one of their configuration files
to get it to respect PREFIX.

I actually built Xfree86 by changing that one single variable, so that it
installed where I wanted (I favor /usr/X11R7), and it needed not a single
additional change to get  it to begin compiling.  No errors in the build, it
finished in a small fraction of the time that Xorg takes.  Seeing as it doesn't
seem to have any obvious drawbacks, I assume that there has to be some political
failing.  Can't be license, because ports as it stands now includes a huge array
of different licenses, including some commercial ones, so having the license not
be exactly the same as the BSD license can't be it, could it?

I'm not making any argument at all comparing Xorg to XFree86 in terms of quality
or development rate, only that I can't see any reason why the ports should have
been removed, because XFree86 is clearly something that some folks would want,
and it's a trivially easy port.  I tried Googling this, but just couldn't find
the reasoning that justified removing XFree86 from our ports.
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