Open Motif has the same functionality and source code as Motif, but is offered under a more permissive license. Some have criticized the project's choice of name as it might mislead people to think the project is open source or free software, which it is not. The license allows royalty-free distribution of Open Motif if the platform upon which it is used is Open Source. This is in contrast to Motif, whose use and distribution requires the payment of royalties.
The license of Open Motif, in other words, allows developers to replace Motif (which many applications still depend on) with Open Motif and avoid the payment of royalties, if the platform the application runs on is Open Source. This includes popular platforms such as Linux and the various variants of BSD.
Open Motif was released to make it easier for users of open source platforms to use applications that require the Motif toolkit to run (thus creating a greater market for vendors of Motif applications).
The initial release of Open Motif was version 2.1.30 in May 2000. The current release that most Linux distributions ship is Open Motif 2.2.3. Open Motif 2.3 was released in June 2007.
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