Community Council Statement on Canonical Package Licensing

cprofitt cprofitt at
Thu Feb 13 21:58:51 UTC 2014

Before the start of the holidays last year, the Ubuntu Community Council
was approached by a concerned member of the community regarding the news
that Linux Mint had been asked to sign a license agreement in order to
continue distributing software packages out of the Ubuntu repositories.

Over the past two months, the Community Council has had several
discussions, mailing list threads and meetings about this. In addition,
we’ve reached out to another derivative for their understanding of the
situation and spoken with external legal experts.

We are more than aware that some time has passed since the original
approach and feel that we need to make it known that we've not been
ignoring the situation. Legal issues are complex and we have to be
mindful of the difference between personal and legal opinions.
Understanding the weight of our words would carry we felt it was
important to take time to gather facts and discuss the issue thoroughly.

At this time, we are in agreement that one of the keys to Ubuntu's
success is in providing a well-designed, reliable and enjoyable
experience to all of our users, whether they are using Ubuntu on a
desktop, a phone or in the cloud. To that end it is critical that when
people see “Ubuntu”, it adequately represents the software that we all
build and stand behind. This is as important to our individual
reputations as much as to the reputation of the project as a whole.
Trademarks and Copyrights are the legal tools provided to us for
safeguarding those reputations, and it's part of Canonical's mandate
within the Ubuntu project to use those tools appropriately, balancing
the needs of all those involved in making Ubuntu. Canonical already
provides a license for the use of these to the Ubuntu project and all of
its distributions, including Ubuntu itself as well as those flavors that
are developed in collaboration with it.

We believe there is no ill-will against Linux Mint, from either the
Ubuntu community or Canonical and that Canonical does not intend to
prevent them from continuing their work, and that this license is to
help ensure that. What Linux Mint does is appreciated, and we want to
see them succeed.

The Community Council feels that Canonical is making an honest and
reasonable effort to balance the needs of the community and that any
specific legal concerns should be addressed to the legal councils of
those involved.

Finally, the Community Council would like to take this opportunity to
remind people that it is important to work in a respectful collaborative
manner when there are issues that concern the community. While this has
been a valuable discussion to have, it’s also important to remember that
everybody involved in the Ubuntu project, Canonical included, wants to
see it and open source in general succeed and become as widely used as
possible. Be mindful that you do not get caught up in a controversy,
where a discussion with the parties concerned could clear up any
misunderstandings. But when you do have any concerns about an issue such
as this, we strongly encourage you to contact the Community Council
directly and we will always do our best to provide accurate information
or, when necessary, appropriate intervention to resolve the issue to the
benefit of everybody involved. We are available to everybody, inside or
outside the Ubuntu community.

Submitted by Charles Profitt
on behalf of the Ubuntu Community Council

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