Freeness (Re: Idea for expanded support of some non-free software)

thully at thully at
Wed Dec 15 20:41:31 CST 2004

How, then, is Ubuntu legally providing "dummy packages" for Flash in multiverse?
What about MP3 support (in universe)?
Quoting Jerry Haltom <wasabi at>:

> Let me reiterate the same stuff 10 others have already done, again:
> > In the case of drivers, Ubuntu takes care of this by distributing some
> non-free
> > wi-fi and video drivers.  However, there are other categories of software
> that
> > have a similar situation that it seems like Ubuntu should support - namely
> Java
> > and Flash.  These are utilized on many websites, and while the web is
> usable
> > without them (just as video cards can be used without the proprietary
> drivers)
> > users do lose the ability to use certain websites and online games (just as
> > users lose 3D capability by not using the proprietary video drivers).
> NVidia and ATI specifically allow distribution as part of their license
> agreements. This is an instance where Ubuntu has broken it's "free only"
> stance to suit the users: because they can, and because a distribution
> that doesn't boot on any video card is pretty useless.
> > I realize that Java and Flash may have more restrictive of license terms
> than
> > the ATI and NVidia drivers - however, software like this can be distributed
> by
> > using a "dummy package" that downloads the software from the official
> website
> > and then configures it to work in Ubuntu.  While these are currently
> available
> This is an assumption. How do you know this software can be created?
> Have you read the agreements?
> Ubuntu and Debian provide a "dummy" package for Java, called
> java-package. You acquire the Sun provided .bin file from Sun, after
> agreeing to their use terms, and then run this package on it. Boom, you
> have a .deb to install. The package does not download the file from Sun
> automatically, as doing so we would have to present you Sun's license
> agreement. It is not Ubuntu's job to present you Sun's license
> agreement. Sun may change it. It is probably even illegal to copy their
> license under copyright law.
> > in multiverse, they are unsupported and breakage-prone (currently in Hoary,
> I
> > get no sound in Flash at all - rendering some Flash-based sites useless).
> > While some may dispute whether Flash and Java are really necessities, I
> don't
> Same situation with Macromedia. Have you read Macromedia's license
> agreement? It even prohibits distribution within a corporate environment
> unless you fax in and sign an additional document: FOR WINDOWS!
> Perhaps a "flash-package" in the spirit of Java package IS in order. If
> so, I suggest you please create such a package such as somebody did for
> java-package in Debian. The Ubuntu developers have their hands full with
> a ton of other things which are more than likely much more important
> than this. Be sure to read the license to know if any modification of
> the binary as distributed by Macromedia is allowed! If it is not
> allowed, Ubuntu would be placing their users in a position to
> unknowingly violate their agreement with Macromedia.
> > think they are any less necessary than ATI and NVidia's 3D graphic drivers
> - if
> > anything, they are more necessary.  Though money must be spent on graphics
> > cards, people also pay for an Internet connection, and they expect to be
> able
> > to utilize
> >
> > IMHO, since this seems very similar to the case of ATI/NVidia, Ubuntu
> wouldn't
> > break their principles any more by including a supported method to
> configure
> > and use Flash and Sun's Java implementation (but not necessarily
> distributing
> > them) than they do when they include ATI/NVidia drivers.    However, I seem
> to
> > be in the minority on this list, and I realize that.  Can someone clarify
> why
> > the case of Flash/Java is different than the case of ATI/NVidia for me?
> Just did. In fact I have a few times. A few other people have done so as
> well. Please read the previous messages from numerous parties.
> >
> >
> > I realize this thread has gotten large and longwinded, but this is an
> important
> > issue - and it should be discussed.  If there is a better forum for this
> > discussion, please tell me and I will move this thread.
> No kidding. This thread should die.
> >
> >
> --
> Jerry Haltom <wasabi at>

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