"Third party" software - a clear term?

Dylan McCall dylanmccall at gmail.com
Sat Aug 29 01:19:13 UTC 2009

> Hi Matthew,
> I created bug 420672 and made a bzr branch with the code changes as a 
> proposed fix.
> If accepted, there will be follow-on doc (and translation) changes.
> Cheers,
> Kyle
> Matthew East wrote:
> > Hi Kyle,
> >
> > On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 2:55 PM, Kyle
> > Nitzsche<kyle.nitzsche at canonical.com> wrote:
> >   
> >> This term may make one wonder: who is the "first party"? And who, the
> >> "second party"? If the answers to these questions are not immediately
> >> clear to the user, then I would propose the term "third party" itself
> >> should be reconsidered.
> >>
> >> Perhaps simply calling it (in SW and docs) "Other" might be clearer to
> >> users?
> >>     
> >
> > I see your point, but I think this is something to raise with the
> > people who design Ubuntu's desktop. The documentation will generally
> > strive to follow naming conventions used by the desktop because
> > otherwise it will get even more confusing for the users. If the
> > current naming convention used in the software sources application is
> > "Third-Party Sources", then the documentation will almost certainly
> > follow that until it is changed. On that basis I'd suggest that you
> > approach the Ubuntu desktop team to discuss how best to describe this
> > software.

I think we should avoid the term "third-party in terms of free software.
It makes sense in a proprietary environment where people are not free to
make contributions to the core product. However, the collaborative
environment of free software changes that concept. Especially with
distributions such as Ubuntu, I don't see how we could define
"first-party" software and then distinguish third-party in the way
implied here.

On the other hand, I can see the distinction there in terms of the
repositories themselves and the official support they provide. I think
the software itself should simply not be classified in this fashion.

Dylan McCall
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