William Grant william at qeuni.net
Sun Sep 14 02:09:45 UTC 2008

Mark Shuttleworth wrote:
> Mozilla Corp asked that this be added in order for us to continue to
>  call the browser Firefox. Since Firefox is their trademark, which we
>  intend to respect, we have the choice of working with Mozilla to
> meet their requirements, or switching to an unbranded browser.
> It's strongly our preference, and that of most of our users, to have
>  Firefox as the browser in Ubuntu.

While I agree that keeping the Firefox name in Ubuntu is a good idea,
requests like this seem to provide good reasons to rethink this
position. The web browser is almost always going to be a user's first
impression of Ubuntu. Firefox, the current default web browser, is also
the only application in the default installation to present a EULA on
first start. It feels invasive to me, and a little frightening: I'm not
used to being required to read legal text in order to use applications
included with Ubuntu.

> I think it's perfectly reasonable for Mozilla to have requirements 
> and guidelines for the use of their trademark - we have the same for 
> Ubuntu, and many other free software projects do the same. I would in
>  fact consider it a best practice to have a good brand on a free 
> software project, which means having trademark guidelines.

Brand is definitely of great importance - Mozilla Corporation should
ensure that Firefox's is only used appropriately. But many feel that
some of their restrictions are rather too onerous, and I feel that
mandating this EULA is going too far.

> That said, I would not consider an EULA as a best practice. It's 
> unfortunate that Mozilla feels this is absolutely necessary, but they
>  do, and none of us are in a position to be experts about the legal 
> constraints which Mozilla feels apply to them. We had extensive 
> conversations with Mozilla in order to find the best possible way of
>  meeting their requirements while preserving the flow of use of the 
> system for our users.

I am somewhat frightened that Mozilla would require a EULA which is so
waffly and contains so little substance. I also fail to see how not
carrying Firefox branding breaks "the flow of use of the system". Recall
that much of the world uses Internet Explorer, and doesn't know of the
Firefox brand in the first place.

This EULA also says strange things - that other packages might have
other licenses, for example. Why is it saying that? No other package
states that. Does it perhaps refer to the Firefox installer that we've
never used and never will? The agreement also states that portions of
the source code are available - if it is in main it must all be
available. Many parts of this EULA seem irrelevant and unnecessarily

Why was such a change not brought up and discussed on ubuntu-devel
before it was made? This keeping of the community in the dark is highly
concerning. We were not told this change was happening. We were not
advised such discussions were happening. This bug was responded to right
from the top; everybody involved must have known well this was going to
be controversial. Canonical is not Ubuntu, and invasive changes like
this should be discussed with the community.

> Please feel free to make constructive suggestions as to how we can 
> meet Mozilla's requirements while improving the user experience. It's
>  not constructive to say "WTF?", nor is it constructive to rant and 
> rave in allcaps.

Right, allcaps usage is generally counter-productive. In this case it
was intended to mimic the EULA, which throws an awful lot of allcaps
into every Ubuntu user's first impression. I admit it was not done
very well.

> Your software freedoms are built on legal grounds, as are Mozilla's 
> rights in the Firefox trademark. To act as though your rights are 
> being infringed misses the point of free software by a mile.

Of that I am well aware. I was not really asserting that my rights were
being infringed, but the ridiculousness of presenting an EULA with
irrelevant elements in such a user-hostile form. The suggestion of other
comments to at least provide a user-readable version and an explanatory
note at the top seems sane.

> I believe we have a new package in Intrepid, called abrowser, which 
> uses the codebase behind Firefox without invoking the Firefox trade 
> mark.

Indeed, but that doesn't prevent the EULA from appearing (bug #269795),
and would seem to fall afoul of the "You may not remove or alter any
trademark" in the EULA.

William Grant

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