back to article 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 …


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  1. Anne Bokma

    its so simple

    ditch the artwork, call it Ubrowser and no eula is needed. Done

  2. Mark

    A constructive suggestion

    Don't use Firefox or its name.

    Iceweasel does the same thing and no useless EULA. As to "what about the branding! We must have the iconic firefox" well why do you need an icon that looks like a self-fellating fox to say "internet browsing"?

    So install by default Iceweasel or Epiphany or something else.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    rename it


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mozilla can do what they like

    This is the problem with Debian, and really why people should not base distros off them without knowing.

    Debian people tend to be opensource zealots, and want everything to be licensed under the GPL.

    So what if you have to accept an EULA, don't like it, code your own browser, no one is stopping you.

    Ubuntu has too many Debian wannabes in their community, go to Debbie's and Ian's distro if you want your pure GPL distro.

  5. Jamie Kitson


    They could have just renamed the package ice-weasel of course :)

  6. Sleeping Dragon

    If you don't like it, don't use it.

    Nobody is putting a gun to people's heads and forcing them to agree to the EULA. You can use Iceweasel or Opera if you prefer. Konqueror is an excellent alternative as is Epiphany.

    If Mozilla want to preserve their trademark, that's fine by me. It doesn't reduce the functionality of the browser, I'm not being charged money for it, and it doesn't force me to use it exclusively on my system.

    I can understand why people are disappointed by Mozilla's decision to do this, but if you really want to stick it to 'em... ask for a refund.

    Mine's the one with the Mozilla receipt in the inside pocket.

  7. mommycalled

    More Linux whinners

    The linux whinners are more than happy to take code from BSD/Solaris remove the existing copyright and slap a GPL on it. Now they are whinning because somebody wants to at least get some credit for the work they have released as FOSS. Go back to your playpens until you grow up a little.

  8. paul

    need to keep firefox

    I like debians open policys, and respect them much more than ubuntu - I would much rather have ubuntu based upon debian that redhat. But debian isn't that newbie friendly.

    Ubuntu is geared to fighting MS , brand names like firefox help this. It is important that firefox remain, and like other have pointed out above you can install iceweasel or something else.

    If this wasn't about a) a big brand name and b) an EULA that isn't that restrictive - I would be worried.

  9. Avi


    Yeah, Mozilla can do what they like. The bulk of the complaints are at what Ubuntu do. And, presumably, Ubuntu can also do what they like.

    This is where I think Ubuntu need to be clearer on their aims. I know, that Debian are open sauce to the point of fanaticism. They're vocal and open about it enough that you can't really install it and complain there's no ATi drivers.

    Ubuntu's never struck me as being uber-free. It practically tells you to install proprietary drivers (with a slightly exaggerated warning as to the perils of closed source), so I'd expect that if Mozilla demanded a EULA, the most Ubuntu would do is tell people before they accept it.

    If they want to appease the oss zealots, they could have an install-time option of 'only free' versus 'everything', and ship Iceweasel for those that want it...

  10. Anonymous Hero
    Paris Hilton


    More moaning and hot air from irrelevant greetin' faced freetards.

    Paris, 'cos she always puts a smile on my face.

  11. peter

    Are you planning to overthrow the government?

    An EULA to agree to respect the trademark. Eh?

    Does that mean that if I do not agree, I am free to abuse their trademark? No!

    If I am going to abuse their trademark, will an EULA stop me? No!

    Must have the same lawyer and the one who thinks that disclaimers on emails makes legal sense, and the same one who came up with the "are you planning to overthrow the Government" question on the USA mmiigration form.


  12. Anonymous Coward

    How many other packages/licences is Ubuntu abusing?

    I installed Ubuntu once, a year or so ago. I didn't see any EULAs. I am not a lawyer but when the distro comes with nonFOSS software (Adobe springs to mind but I can't be sure) and *doesn't* seek the agreement of the installer/user, I start to worry a bit. Mind you, my Linux of choice is Suse, which does present the relevant EULAs at install time, and is (afaik) the only Linux officially endorsed by The Evil Empire.

  13. Mark

    WTF moment from an AC

    No, Debian want anything THEY include in THEIR distribution to be GPL. They don't give a shit if you put ButtFucker a shareware game on YOUR linux distribution.

  14. Sam Liddicott

    And lose the revenue

    If Ubuntu switch to iceweasel and cut out google as the default browser, not only will Mozilla lose a load of referral revenue from google, but maybe google will start sitting on Mozilla for being such idiots.

    Where did this Mozilla legal guy come from? Free software can survive a regime change like this one, but can Mozilla survive if their revenue gets cut and google sit on them? Maybe it's just the legal guy who won't survive.


  15. A J Stiles

    Thought they'd be using Iceweasel anyway?

    Firefox as had from Mozilla does not even come close to meeting the Open Source definition: it contains at least one binary-only component and some rather obnoxious licencing terms. Seeing as how Ubuntu is basically Debian underneath, I'd have thought they would be using Iceweasel as their web browser anyway.

  16. Tom Simnett


    Come on guys, Ubuntu want to be seen as a popular distro with popular packages. People know about Firefox. Most users don't have a clue (bearing in mind they often don't come from a Debian background) about a browser named Ice-weasel.

    I'd imagine this is what is stopping Shuttleworth and co from just using the Debian stock package here.

    Think before spewing your guts everywhere please. There are always two sides to the argument.

  17. Luke Bearl
    Jobs Horns

    The GPL and Mozilla license require the exact same thing

    I know every time I have installed anything under the GPL the license has in large letters something to the effect of: THIS LICENSE AGREEMENT MUST BE DISTRIBUTED WITH THIS PROGRAM. So, is it really unreasonable for Mozilla to ask the EXACT same thing pertaining to THEIR software? Canonical may be going the way of Micro$oft...

  18. Yfrwlf

    It's about the EULA

    That's the problem. Not the Firefox name for the program. Any program which is different from another should have some kind of different name so that no one gets confused, that's common sense and is basic programming etiquette among other things.

    Normally you don't have to agree to any EULAs on Ubuntu, and this isn't some violation, it's because the normal license is all you need. There are no extra restrictions on the program past that point. Well, with the Mozilla license and Firefox, they apparently feel the need to extend an additional license right into your face which no one will read any way and they know it. It's just annoying and it's unheard of among most open source software. Like all the other normal licenses, you should only read it if you WANT to, in the help menu or whatnot, not have it shoved in your face, that's just annoying. But, if that's what they want to do, whatever, at least they only flash it once (so far), and not something really annoying like every time you start the program.

    There are a dozen repackages of Ubuntu, including Linux Mint and Gnusense or whatever, so you can use one of those instead if you wanted, but it's still annoying that Mozilla is doing this, no matter how you look at it.

  19. Peyton

    "WTF?" is not constructive?


  20. Tom Silver badge

    I've just found this on Debians site:

    We allow all businesses to make reasonable use of the "Debian" trademark. For example, if you make a CD of our Debian GNU/Linux distribution, you can call that product "Debian". If you want to use the name in some other way, you should ask us first.

    How dare they restrict my freedoms like that!

    Anyone got a use for a blank harddrive?

  21. ratfox
    Thumb Down

    The more EULA there are...

    The sooner it will be acknowledged they have little legal value. The automatic "Click on I agree" reflex should be considered as non legally binding.

    Oh all right, I know the law. But the law is particularly ridiculous in this case. As far as I understand, you need to pay a lot of lawyers to even know if the terms and conditions of an EULA have a chance to stand in court... It's a great way to take the end user hostage.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forking hell

    I disagree with those suggesting that someone forks firefox into another package with a different name, this is exactly the wrong way to go. FOSS has just got to the point where non-nerds are knowing about FF and it would be a serious mistake to muddy the waters. Also, you aren't going to be taken seriously by any large companies if you fork your projects. Ever seen a major commercial package fork? No.

  23. LaeMi Qian

    The solution has been there for days

    The branding has been separated out into a separate package which you can choose not to install for days - the packages to install unbranded came up in my 'new packages' list in synaptic days ago (abrowser - which is a Canonical supported package set).

  24. Charles

    Re: It's about the EULA

    Thing is, the Mozilla Public License is not the same as the GNU GPL--it's a little more restrictive at critical points that make it GPL-incompatible. So Mozilla cannot be blanketed under the GPL and thus requires a new set of terms.

  25. Telic
    Thumb Up

    Keep Your Eye on the Prize

    Even prior to switching from Windows XP to Ubuntu Linux, I was a longtime Firefox user. That my fave browser is available for Linux just made the decision to abandon MS Windows feel that much less bothersome.

    Shuttleworth is doing the right thing, by keeping his eye on solutions to Ubuntu Bug #1 (i.e. "Microsoft has a majority market share").

    Diehard FOSS fans are always free to reject the Firefox EULA and instead install an alternative browser.

  26. Doug Glass

    OK, What Now?


  27. KenBW2

    Doesn't this

    make the OOTB Ubuntu install non-GPL (since everything within a GPL product has to also be GPL - MPL isn't)?

    PS: Loving the new look (some of the new icons are a tad rubbish though)

  28. Mike


    Debian is annoying with their stupid "not GPL? then we won't even give you the option" policy, they have a non-free repo but don't actually put stuff in it that should be there! ubuntu pops up and says "hey there are some closed source drivers if you want them", click install and they are there - debian? after i figured out how to tell them i don't give a damn about GPL or non-GPL by adding the "non-free" repo i was still sitting there with limited video drivers and a browser called iceweasel that won't run any firefox plugins!

    The biggest problem with changing the name is plugins refusing to install, so take advantage of the open source nature of the firefox code and submit a patch to make the browser list itself as "webbrowser" or something instead of firefox internally, then you can have your own version with its own name that also lists to plugins that it is "webbrowser" without having to worry about trademark issues, allowing plugins to work on all the renamed versions just as well as the original.

    And don't use the name Iceweasel, if you want to bundle it as default then do it M$-style and just call it "Web Browser" or "Web Explorer" or something, ubuntu is after all aimed at the sorts of idiots who use windows and whatever is bundled with it, rather than people who like to change defaults.

    I use debian on all of my servers because it is the only mainstream distro with plenty of support that can be installed without all the bloat, but for workstation use it is useless because of their refusal to allow anything non-GPL.

  29. Chris Hills

    IceCat > IceWeasal

    There are many suggestions that Ubuntu should switch to Iceweasel. If they truly want free software, they ought to use the GNU derivative, Icecat. Unlike Firefox and IceWeasel, it contains only free software, as well some privacy enhancements.

  30. Scott
    Thumb Down

    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"?

  31. Anonymous Coward


    Source, it's SOURCE. S.O.U.R.C.E

    Not f**king sauce, that's what you put on your meals, you know the thing your mummy makes you in the evenings.


    (Shit day in the office)

  32. Matthew Malthouse
    Black Helicopters

    Is it so difficult.... 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.

  33. The Badger

    Clue alert

    To all the idiots writing that Debian only supplies GPL-licensed software, please get a clue and read the Debian licensing 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?

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