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

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Mon Sep 15 22:03:14 BST 2008

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

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