[ubuntu-uk] Sad but true? From the Register

Lucy lucybridges at gmail.com
Sun Jan 18 17:10:15 GMT 2009

2009/1/17 Colin Watson <cjwatson at ubuntu.com>:
> It's easy to forget, when dealing with the sort of free software
> licences that we generally work with in main, that we actually depend on
> some quite broad and permissive distribution terms in those licences to
> be able to distribute a free operating system without encumbrances in
> the form of user registration or "activation", per-user fees, and the
> like. Those are permissions that generally simply aren't available with
> proprietary software, whose distributors often want a measure of control
> that free software developers willingly give up.

I think this is an important point, Ubuntu (and other distros) do such
a good job of providing free software in an accessible way that it's
easy to forget the problems that less free licenses cause (which
causes frustration from newer users in particular when certain things
aren't available).

Thanks for taking the time to write a detailed reply, it's useful for
people to know the limitations and problems caused by the licenses
Adobe and others use.

> I've written this post from a pragmatic standpoint, because I know that
> some people are dissatisfied with the answer we usually give. I do think
> that the ethical answer is really the more important one: we don't
> distribute Flash with Ubuntu because we believe it is contrary to our
> goal of advancing free software. Nevertheless, I wanted to make it clear
> that the ethical answer is not the only reason we can't distribute Flash
> with Ubuntu: even if we were to compromise our ethics, it wouldn't make
> any difference. We just don't have the necessary rights.

I'm personally very glad that Ubuntu doesn't distribute Adobe's flash
and will continue to do so (regardless of the practicalities).
Ubuntu's attitudes and actions with regards to free software greatly
helps the advancement of free software in general (maybe contriversial
but it's certainly what I believe).

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