xv 3.20 - So where the hell is it?!?
A fine question. xv 3.20 will be the next release of xv, and it's essentially ready to distribute right now. (There's some annoying documentation work to be done, etc.)
The problem: It cannot be released until I can get a license agreement from Unisys to use the LZW algorithm. (I'm not going to release an xv without GIF support; that'd be useless for most people, including myself.)
So what's so hard about that? Clearly you've never spoken to Mark Starr, Unisys's LZW lawyer-guy. Suffice it to say that after much negotiation, my top man was able to knock them down from their original offer of "you pay us a large amount of money up front" to their final offer of "you pay us exactly that same large amount of money up front, or else".
Practical upshot: I'm saving up a large amount of money. (Unisys won't let me disclose the exact amount, and I see no reason to annoy them any further.)
What this means to you: Keep waiting, but continue to enjoy xv 3.10a in the interim. Buy lots of 3.10a! The more 3.10a sold, the sooner I'll be able to release 3.20.
I'd like to buy some xv, but I think I'll wait until after 3.20 is released. Ah, come on, buy some 3.10a now! All licenses currently being sold will have their 'free update rights' feature extended to "one year after the official release of 3.20". (Normally, the rights to free updates only last for one year from the original purchase date.)
What's next, assuming 3.20 is released before we're all dead? I have two projects that I'm itching to get started on, and will - as soon as this Unisys thing is taken care of. The first project is called xvcmd. It is a non-X, command-line/script-file driven version of xv. Basically, it should allow you to do anything that xv can do, but non-interactively. You wouldn't believe how many people have asked for this sort of thing!
The second project is winxv - a native port of xv 3.20 to the Win95/98/NT platform. Given how many Unix operations are switching over to NT (Silicon Graphics, for example), this is probably a smart move. In any event, plenty of folks have asked for this as well, and who am I to deny them?