Packages in Main/Universe I'm not allowed to modify ...

Joe Terranova joeterranova at
Mon Sep 15 23:44:38 UTC 2008

Cross-posting to Ubuntu-devel-discuss.

On Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 5:03 PM, Scott Kitterman <ubuntu at> wrote:
> This is not directly about the current Firefox EULA debacle, but that is what
> got me thinking about this topic.
> As an Ubuntu developer, I am not allowed to patch Firefox and upload it
> because of the Trademark restrictions.  I think that's unfortunate, but I
> agree it's currently allowed under Ubuntu policy.
> As I have thought about this, I am concerned that there are packages for which
> this is the case that I'm not aware of.  When I work on a package in Main or
> Universe, I assume it's FOSS and I have a legal right to modify and
> distribute it.  I do not make a habit of reviewing debian/copyright each time
> I work on a package and I suspect I'm not alone in this.
> If we're going to allow packages such as this in our primary archives, then I
> think there needs to be a reference list somewhere that developers can use to
> see which packages they cannot touch.
> Consider this a pre-discussion of a proposed change in Ubuntu policy.  If
> there is some consensus around something like this, I'll gather up the ideas
> and propose a diff to Ubuntu Policy.
> Scott K
> --
> ubuntu-devel mailing list
> ubuntu-devel at

If I remember correctly, packages in main and universe are supposed to
be Free and Open Source software:

If that's true, why is Firefox in main?

If it's true that main should only contain FOSS, I think Firefox (tm)
should be moved to the restricted repositories now. If that's somehow
changed, then maybe we should change the definition of the "main"
repository on all those pages.

Now that I'm done being surly, I really do feel that Firefox (tm)
should be moved to restricted if its use is to be restricted in this
way, and that we should include a FOSS browser with the LiveCD and
main install (possibly alongside Firefox). I understand if developers
need to wait for Jaunty to make this move; however, I believe this
should be the policy, both for Firefox (tm) and any other packages
that become non-free software.

Joe Terranova

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