Ubuntu lovers slap Canonical over Firefox EULA
Ubuntu users are up in arms at Canonical after it added a Firefox 3.0.2 end user license agreement (EULA) to its upcoming release, Intrepid Ibex, without first seeking consent from openistas.
Canonical, Ubuntu's commercial sponsor, has admitted that it added the EULA following a request from Mozilla Corp, the firm behind the popular open source web browser.
Founder of the Ubuntu distro Mark Shuttleworth even took time out to leave a comment on launchpad.net - a cross-project website for tracking bugs in free software - where the grumbles from freetards complaining about the inclusion of the license originated.
He said that Mozilla required the EULA to be added to allow Canonical to continue to call the browser Firefox.
Shuttleworth added that it was fair enough that Mozilla wanted people to adhere to its trademark guidelines, before taking something of a limp swipe at the outfit:
“I would not consider an EULA as a best practice. It's unfortunate that Mozilla feels this is absolutely necessary, but they do, and none of us are in a position to be experts about the legal constraints which Mozilla feels apply to them,” he said.
“We had extensive conversations with Mozilla in order to find the best possible way of meeting their requirements while preserving the flow of use of the system for our users.”
Shuttleworth added that Ubuntu fans should make “constructive suggestions” rather than saying “WTF?” about how Canonical could “meet Mozilla's requirements while improving the user experience”. ®
To all the idiots writing that Debian only supplies GPL-licensed software, please get a clue and read the Debian licensing guidelines: http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines
The reason why a special Debian-incompatible EULA for an application would be undesirable is that it would limit each recipient's ability to change and redistribute the application. Unless you're in the "shiny new gadget running something to look cool for a few weeks" demographic, the whole possibility of changing, fixing and sharing software is the main reason why you'd want to run a Debian-derived distribution in the first place. And if people thought it clever to put such an EULA on lots of other things, suddenly you'd have a plague of click-through dialogues containing lots of non-standard terms that you'd have to read through if you didn't trust the distributor or feel that you were somehow on the same page as them with regard to what you can and cannot do with the software.
A special note to the Theo de Raadt agitator who wrote about "linux whinners": the taking code from BSD/Solaris incident, as I recall, involved various kernel contributors who didn't follow acceptable practices around preserving the copyright statements and explicitly following the terms of the original licences. That, of course, was contrary to what Debian and the rest of the GNU scene stands for, but it didn't stop De Raadt subsequently seeing the business end of his favourite permissive licensing and moaning about it to one and all.
And is "whinning" like that noise horses make? Is the Linux kernel maintained by horses?
Is it so difficult....
...to read the EULA and say yes or no? Or even skip to the bottom for the yes/no buttons without reading it. Surely that's what 95% of users do.
Not just an Ubuntu problem
Mozilla's licensing terms do seem very restrictive by open-source standards - I can't think of another project that is so paranoid about its "branding". In fact AIUI, *anybody* building Firefox from source can't actually use its name/logo, unless you sweet-talk the Mozilla folks into making an exception for you (like FreeBSD did)... which does seem pretty antithetical to the open source ethos. Does it really help Mozilla's cause if users end up running "Iceweasel" or "Bon Echo" or "Gran Paradiso" or whatever instead of "Firefox"?