More than 20 years ago, X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1) appeared to be the best condition to test the feasibility of hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy. The seminal SCID-X1 clinical studies, based on first-generation gammaretroviral vectors, demonstrated good long-term immune reconstitution in most treated patients despite the occurrence of vector-related leukemia in a few of them. This gene therapy has successfully enabled correction of the T cell defect. Natural killer and B cell defects were only partially restored, most likely due to the absence of a conditioning regimen. The success of these pioneering trials paved the way for the extension of gene-based treatment to many other diseases of the hematopoietic system, but the unfortunate serious adverse events led to extensive investigations to define the retrovirus integration profiles. This review puts into perspective the clinical experience of gene therapy for SCID-X1, with the development and implementation of new generations of safer vectors such as self-inactivating gammaretroviral or lentiviral vectors as well as major advances in integrome knowledge.