AcrobatReader: A bug or intentionally?

Mark Wallace newburghmark at
Tue Apr 24 16:44:23 UTC 2007

I don't think that I got point accross.  The links that you include refer to 
open source software.  I was trying to say that Adobe Reader isn't made 
available under the GPL license.  It is available under the proprietary 
license for free.

It is not illegal for a software writer to provide software under a license 
other than GPL.  It is also not illegal for a Linux distro to include 
software under terms agreed to with the provider of proprietary software. 
When you download Acrobat through the Ubuntu distro by using Synaptic, 
which, as of a few seconds ago you still could, it starts with a dialogue 
box "Do you accept the agreement? " and, if you don't click yes, it won't 
install.  That dialogue box is there because Ubuntu is providing the 
software subject to the terms of the license agreement that it has with 
Adobe.  Adobe only gives you the sort of license  that allows you to use it 
without change.  The owner of proprietary software is not required to charge 
you for it, and can sell it under any basis that he chooses to anyone that 
he chooses.

Sun Java upgrades also have a dialogue box, I think, because the Linux 
verson of Sun java is also copyrighted by them

Linus Torvald knowlingly structured the GPL in such a way as to encourage 
writers of proprietary software to build Linux editions and, if people 
wanted to pay for it, that was up to them.   I think Word Perfect also has a 
proprietary Linux edition.

For a while, Yast was like this, but it hasn't been in several years.  You 
CAN copyright improvements; and things that you build yourself, and then 
either sell them or provide them for free.

There is not a prohibition against copyrighting Linux editions of software, 
only things that you got under the GPL license.  And the GPL license is not 
the only legal license out there.   Ask Microsoft!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Matthew Flaschen" <matthew.flaschen at>
To: "Kubuntu Help and User Discussions" <kubuntu-users at>
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:05 AM
Subject: Re: AcrobatReader: A bug or intentionally?

> Mark Wallace wrote:
>> All that means is that it isn't GPL.
> No, it means that it isn't free (
> or open source ( at all.  In
> fact, it apparently can't even be redistributed legally (any more).
>> I have it installed.  But the other PDF readers do seem to work 
>> flawlessly and
>> are GPL.  If you are used to it, why should you have to give it up on the
>> grounds that you like Linux?
> You don't have to, but Ubuntu can not legally distribute it.  It may
> have been illegal to do so before.
>> I thought trying to limit your choices was the
>> Microsoft way of thinking, not Linux's.
> I recommend against installing it since it's unfree, but no one's trying
> to stop you.  /Adobe/ is the one that is keeping it proprietary.
> Otherwise Ubuntu would distribute it without hesitation.
> Matt Flaschen
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