Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mozilla The Internet Software Linux

Mozilla Demanding Firefox Display EULA In Ubuntu 785

Posted by kdawson
from the branding-vs.-freedom dept.
TRS-80 writes "Users of the upcoming Ubuntu release, Intrepid Ibex, are being confronted with an EULA the first time they launch Firefox. Mark Shuttleworth says 'Mozilla Corp asked that this be added in order for us to continue to call the browser Firefox... I would not consider an EULA as a best practice. It's unfortunate that Mozilla feels this is absolutely necessary' and notes there's an unbranded 'abrowser' package available. Many of the comments say Ubuntu should ditch Firefox as this makes it clear it's not Free Software, hence unsuitable for Ubuntu main, and just ship Iceweasel or Epiphany, the GNOME browser." A few comments take Canonical to task for agreeing to Mozilla's demand to display an EULA without consulting the community.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mozilla Demanding Firefox Display EULA In Ubuntu

Comments Filter:
  • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:12PM (#25001357) Journal
    It's just making Ubuntu more familiar to ex-Windows users.

    Blindly clicking through meaningless and offensive EULAs is standard practice in the Windows world.
    • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:53PM (#25001871) Journal
      I thought the idea of Ubuntu was to get linux adoption up - and by getting rid of Firefox, it'll just be more difficult to get people to migrate... Besides, displaying a EULA is common practice - maybe just have a big, blanket EULA when installing ubuntu - which covers all software included..
      • by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @06:21PM (#25002175)
        I thought the idea of Ubuntu was to provide a community-based GNU/Linux distro by improving the experience, not just to do whatever it takes to get more users. Displaying a EULA is not common practice in the GNU/Linux world, and displaying one isn't the best way to improve the experience.
        • by xenocide2 (231786) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @06:53PM (#25002509) Homepage

          The problem is that the official icon is more usable than the community edition icon, which still has limitations. Ubuntu didn't always ship the branded icon, but it's clear that nobody realizes at first that the firefox quicklaunch icon is a web browser. It's like a joke that requires you to call it a "world wide web broswer", or remember what WWW is supposed to stand for. But hell if I know what to do about it. A page in the NYtimes with iceweasel icons promoting open source web browsers?

          It's really incredibly sad what they're doing; phoenix was an unofficial project and they had to rename the project twice in order to make this branding thing possible again.

        • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @08:29PM (#25003607) Homepage Journal

          It also isn't the end of the world either. The user just clicks ok without reading and moves on with his free stuff.

          Open-office also has one on first use. I'm sure there are others.

          Its still free.. i don't see the big deal.

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @07:05PM (#25002647)

        by getting rid of Firefox, it'll just be more difficult to get people to migrate...

        How? The only thing Ubuntu would lose is the brand name. The functionality is still there. And as far as the value of branding is concerned, simply by putting an Ubuntu CD in the drive, they have shown a willingness to choose something other than the big brand.

        Besides, displaying a EULA is common practice

        Not in Linux distributions it isn't.

        • by Darundal (891860) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @10:47PM (#25004719) Journal
          Yeah, but for a distribution trying to get people to try Linux it is an issue. It is correct that those people who are trying Ubuntu are willing to choose something other than the big brand. It is also true that, for a lot of those people, while they may consider Firefox to be cool, they don't consider it to be the big brand. One of the big hangups people have when trying a new operating system is the adjustment of having to use new applications. Having things as familiar as possible helps to make people more relaxed with the idea of using a new OS.

          Branding is a big thing for a lot of people. Especially people who aren't the technically proficient types. You know, the ones who call any digital audio player an iPod. Or who think Microsoft invented the internet or the GUI. A lot of those people can't name a reason a particular program is good off the top of their head, except saying something about the established (deserved or not) brand of the product and the company that makes it. The functionality for a lot of those people is very possibly a secondary concern. Considering how Ubuntu wants to be one of the major desktop OS contenders (and is closer to that goal than any OS not produced by Apple or Microsoft), having some appeal to those people is definitely in the best interest of everyone involved.

          Now, if some other group wants to shove their EULA in everyones face on a default Ubuntu install, should Mark cave? Probably not, unless not doing so would severely hamper their goals. Is that fair? Hell no. Is it against the spirit of the OSS community? Maybe, but a lot of distributions make compromises in the sake of usability and appeal. If they didn't, all of us who use Linux and BSD would end up using distributions such as blag and gNewSense. Now I can't speak for anyone else, but I like having my wireless card automatically detected and set up when I install my operating system, and I know that it's drivers are not free as in freedom.
    • GPL Compliance (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hax0r_this (1073148) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @06:22PM (#25002187)
      I know you're trying to be funny, but it really *isn't* a big deal. In fact, the GPL itself specifies that

      If the program does terminal interaction, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode: Copyright (C) This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'. This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.

      http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html#howto [gnu.org]

      Not only that, but as you state, no Windows user would think twice about clicking through a EULA. As a long time Ubuntu user, I myself never realized until today that there are no EULAs present.

      • Re:GPL Compliance (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pchan- (118053) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:47PM (#25004287) Journal

        The difference is that the GPL *DOES NOT* require the user to agree to ANY conditions. There is no contract between the user and the developers of the program. The GPL only requires you to enter into an agreement if you distribute the program or use its source (in which case you accept the terms of the GPL), and even that does not require a EULA since the terms of the contract are enforced by copyright law.

        Not only that, but as you state, no Windows user would think twice about clicking through a EULA

        Most Windows users don't care that the source to their OS is closed, or that it enforces DRM and acts against their wishes. Perhaps they should.

  • Fair enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joe Jay Bee (1151309) * <jbsouthsea@noSpam.gmail.com> on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:12PM (#25001367)

    Firefox is a trademark, Mozilla need to defend that trademark, and it's in Ubuntu's interests to provide a browser that people have heard about, rather than "Iceweasel", which they haven't. That, and I doubt Mozilla's EULA would be that onerous; the only people who are going to be truly upset at this are the people who hear "EULA" and kneejerk a negative response.

    • Re:Fair enough (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mad Merlin (837387) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:17PM (#25001411) Homepage

      Firefox is a trademark, Mozilla need to defend that trademark...

      Linux is a trademark too. Does that mean I need to accept an EULA every time I install a new kernel? No.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joe Jay Bee (1151309) *

        That's absurd. The Linux kernel can't have a EULA of the sort being discussed - it's impractical. The point is, so long as the terms are not onerous, and I doubt they would be, there's nothing wrong with Mozilla having a EULA stating their trademark rights and such things.

      • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @06:51PM (#25002477) Journal

        You have just launched /bin/bash

        EULA - blah blah blah.... ...
        Agree Y/N: Y

        user@host: ~/ $ ls
        You have just ran /bin/ls

        EULA - blah blah blah.... ...
        Agree Y/N: Y
        . ..
        Desktop
        Pictures
        Downloads

        user@host: ~ $ cd Pictures
        You have just ran /bin/cd

        EULA - blah blah blah.... ...
        Agree Y/N: Y

        user@host: ~/Pictures $

        Wow I can't wait!!!

  • by steelmaverick (936668) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:16PM (#25001397)
    I honestly think that this won't make any difference. Personally, I think this is just Mozilla being picky, what would it matter whether or not the EULA is shown during installation, no one is going to read it anyway. Besides, anyone that actually cared about FF3's EULA would read it themselves.
  • Too corporate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by A beautiful mind (821714) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:17PM (#25001421)
    I wonder what further bad will come out of Mozilla being too corporate. It starts to look like an elegant way of getting a paycheck and less like about making a good browser.

    It is inconcievable that Mozilla would face any legal problems due to a lack of EULA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by westlake (615356)
      I wonder what further bad will come out of Mozilla being too corporate. It starts to look like an elegant way of getting a paycheck and less like about making a good browser.
      .

      The Moz Foundation has been corporate from Day 1, beginning with an infusion of cash from AOL in 2003. In 2006 about 85% of its revenues came from its contract with Google - a hefty $57 million. Mozilla Foundation [wikipedia.org]

  • by compumike (454538) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:18PM (#25001437) Homepage

    In any negotiation, it's important to think about one's alternatives. At least in the open source case, there's a good alternative -- recompiling without the restrictive / undesirable parts. Sure, branding power will suffer, but this community in particular will understand.

    Ever heard of BATNA [wikipedia.org]?

    --
    Hey code monkey, learn electronics! Powerful microcontroller kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]

  • by Zurtex (1363775) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:23PM (#25001489)
    The Firefox EULA outlines some quite important issues, not least of which is that it doesn't ship with a warranty. But what might be quite concerning to some, and is made clearish in the EULA, is that Firefox by default sends data to whatever 3rd party (Google) runs their anti-phishing. It's all to do with storing partial hashes rather than website addresses on the computer and in theory the 3rd party can't do anything useful with it and are legally required to not keep it. But some people still might find this quite concerning. More information on how Mozilla tries to make the data sent useless here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=419117 [mozilla.org]
    • by 42forty-two42 (532340) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {nalnodb}> on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:38PM (#25001689) Homepage Journal
      The 'no warranty' issue could be shown during ubuntu's installation as a whole, as it applies to everything in ubuntu. As for sending data to google - it shouldn't present this as a eula; it should present it as a very clear /option/ at the first run; just like IE7 does.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr.Ned (79679)

      "The Firefox EULA outlines some quite important issues, not least of which is that it doesn't ship with a warranty."

      Why is Firefox so special or important that it makes me confirm a EULA? And why, after these several decades since the Free Software Movement started, has no other major piece of free software done something similar? It's not like the Free Software Foundation is still working out the basics of licensing or anything.

      I have 1,804 packages installed on my Debian system. I don't know _any_ of t

  • by Lord Lode (1290856) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:28PM (#25001533)
    I wonder why they're being so difficult. Firefox already isn't called like that in my OS for over a year anymore, it's "Gran Paradisio", and firefox 2 was something else that I already forgot (and don't care what it was again either). What bothers me more is that the logo is an empty globe instead of the better looking one with the fox. But so again, I wonder why they're doing that, while this isn't a problem for most other software like gimp, pidgin, inkscape, audacious, openoffice.org, KDE, filezilla, and so on. I mean, what does mozilla do so different that they have this trademark problem and the others don't?
  • EULA Contents: (Score:5, Informative)

    by nog_lorp (896553) * on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:29PM (#25001559)

    EULA: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/legal/eula/firefox-en.html [mozilla.com]

    Summary:
    Preamble - notice that the source is available and this license does not apply to the source.
    1. License Grant - This license gives you the right to use the executable provided by Mozilla Corp.
    2. Termination - if you breach this license, S1 is voided.
    3. Proprietary Rights - again, the source code is not proprietary. The branding logos are, you don't have the right to modify them.
    4. Disclaimer of Warranty
    5. Limitation of Liability
    6. Export Controls - you must comply with teh law.
    7. US Govt End Users - 2 sentences of legal references related to employees of the US Govt using Firefox.
    8. Misc, nothing interesting at all. This agreement constitutes the agreement...

    Sounds like Mozilla Corp doing the bare minimum to cover their asses, in a responsible fashion, without actually affecting end users at all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      1. License Grant - This license gives you the right to use the executable provided by Mozilla Corp.

      Once one legally acquires software, one is legally allowed to use it as per the terms of copyright laws in most countries. Permission from the vendor is not required.

      2. Termination - if you breach this license, S1 is voided.

      This is not a right the vendor is legally able to extend under the copyright act. If the vendor seeks this right, they must engage in a legally binding contract with the recipie

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mr_matticus (928346)

        Once one legally acquires software, one is legally allowed to use it as per the terms of copyright laws in most countries. Permission from the vendor is not required.

        You're begging the question. Permission from the vendor is required to "legally acquire" the software. If that permission is conditional, based on what they have decided to sell, then you're right back here.

        *ALL* contracts cover things which are not present or required by statutory law. By definition, that is why they exist.

        This is not a right the vendor is legally able to extend under the copyright act.

        Citation needed. You won't find one.

        The Copyright Act specifies what both customers and owners can't do. If it's not prohibited by the Act or independently barred by some other law,

  • by eugeni (463019) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:30PM (#25001575) Homepage

    ...is to provide a "genuine firefox advantage" feature, that will check if your Firefox (tm) installation is genuine, and show a nasty transparent box in the corner of the screen...

  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:31PM (#25001587)

    I myself find EULAs extremely offensive. I have no problem with a distribution license, particularly in light of the fact it's required by copyright law if one wishes to grant (re)distribution rights. But the idea of a license accompanying a piece of data which governs its use is not something I can, in good conscience, support.

    I say fork. EULAs have no place in a Linux distribution. We have come so far as a community. Why back down on our principles now?

  • by martinde (137088) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @05:31PM (#25001591) Homepage

    When Mozilla asked Debian to stop redistributing Firefox, many people complained about Debian being too idealistic. [slashdot.org] (I.e. they really didn't look into the issue at all.) Let's hear the same chorus now about Ubuntu! (Hint: It's not Debian or Ubuntu that is the problem here folks!)

  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Sunday September 14, 2008 @06:22PM (#25002179) Journal

    Are you people that sad and angry that you'll complain about a ONE TIME eula popping up when opening the application?
    Really now? This is a big deal / problem how exactly? Good lord, it's a EULA not a fricking activation window.

    Ridiculous.

  • by MMC Monster (602931) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @06:33PM (#25002307)

    but this is a bit much.

    I remember when Mozilla first decided to add an EULA to Firefox, and the coders weren't sure what the point was, except that a lot of other Windows software also had them.

    My worry is, is this going to extend to the Firefox that is on the live CD (which will affect people more, due to the limitations of running anything on a live CD)?

    I think the Mozilla guys are asshats about this. I'm surprised that they felt this was absolutely necessary.

    Looks like the lawyers have taken over mozilla.org.

  • EULA summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Restil (31903) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @06:35PM (#25002323) Homepage

    1. We're letting you use the software. Have fun.
    2. If you don't want to use the software, don't.
    3. We need to protect our trademarks, so if you change something and redistribute it, don't call it Mozilla or Firefox.
    4. No warranty, get over it.
    5. We're not responsible for anything that goes wrong. This actually is just a paraphrase of section 4, and like section 4, we've stated it in ALL CAPS, so you'll be sure to pay attention to it.
    6. There might be laws about sending this software out of the country. Try to obey them.
    7. If you're using this in a US government environment, there are certainly many laws that will regulate its use. Please pay attention to them.
    8. We're doing it the California way, the UN will not be involved (thank goodness), this agreement is written in English, you can give this (unmodified) license and product to someone else, and we won't mind.

    There. The important parts.

    -Restil

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Sunday September 14, 2008 @07:16PM (#25002759) Homepage

    Man, oh man, I do NOT understand the problem here. If you want the government to protect your name, you have to play by their rules. One of the rules is that you MUST, MUST, MUST control the quality of the software distributed under that name. Whether you like it or not, Mozilla feels that they must use a EULA to protect the quality of software named Firefox(tm).

    Don't like it? Run Iceweasel, whatever the hell that is. It may be something, it may be nothing, you have no idea because they're not defending it as a trademark.

    Trademarks are perfectly compatible with Open Source and Free Software. Don't like Mozilla's rules for calling it Firefox? Fine. Call it Iceweasel and you then become responsible for the quality (or not) of the software.

  • First time clicks... (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhotoGuy (189467) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @07:17PM (#25002775) Homepage

    Another poster points out how benign the actual agreement is; so the upshot of this is a first-time clickthrough.

    Why haven't people revolted against the "you're submitting a secure form" for the first time or "you're navigating to an insecure site" for the first time warnings and crap that Mozilla and others have had for ages. They're *far* more annoying than an Eula, IMHO, as there seems to be a few of them...

    Such a non-issue, I doubt it'll hurt them seriously. And for those seriously freaked out, Iceweasel is an easy workaround, that makes everyone happy.

  • by vandan (151516) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @11:32PM (#25004949) Homepage

    Only showing an EULA once is ridiculous.

    1) As many have pointed out, most people will 'click-through' the 1st time they see a license, not reading it at all. Showing the license multiple times, maybe each startup, or maybe every 5 minutes, helps to ensure that users know their obligations as users, and don't infringe on Mozilla's God-given trademark.

    2) What happens on internet Kiosks, libraries, schools, etc? You can't only show the EULA once, as the sys admin will be the only one to know of their obligations, and none of the real users will know.

    3) With so much pop-up advertising in web CONTENT, is it really too much to ask for our web browser to start demanding some recognition as well?

    I KNOW SOME PEOPLE ARE ALSO PISSED OFF AT MOZILLA'S USE OF ALL-CAPS IN THEIR LICENSE, BUT HONESTLY, WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT IF IT SLOWS DOWN READING A BIT AND MAKES IT LOOK LIKE YOU'RE REALLY FUCKING SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR EULA, AS MOZILLA CLEARLY ARE?

    I therefore argue for an EULA popup every 5 minutes.

    Of course I myself will no longer be using Firefox. Back to konqueror I suppose. It would be good if someone would write some Gtk2 wrappers for webkit.

All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins

Working...