Over the weekend people who got and ran an update to Firefox 3 on test builds of Ubuntu Intrepid have been greeted with an End Users Licensing Agreement (EULA) (the bug report on the issue). Users were thrown by it, because we hadn’t seen it at any time before, although we’re hearing Windows users sometimes got it. There were several issues with the EULA, ranging from a question of whether the EULA conflicted with other licenses that cover software made available to Ubuntu users, to the possibility that some of the EULA may not even be legal in some countries. The fact that the EULA is presented for agreement in most, if not all CAPS, which has been called rude for several years, not to mention that its simply hard to read. And of course if you decline the EULA it doesn’t prevent you from actually using Firefox anyway.
Some Ubuntu users have been suggesting that it may be time to switch from Firefox to Iceweasel or GNOME’s Epiphany web browser, the latter using the Apple Webkit browser engine. Personally, this user has long said what Ubuntu includes isn’t strictly Firefox because of the changes they make, such as removing the automatic update feature, a major selling point in Mozilla Firefox. But that’s probably just me.
Mozilla’s Mitchell Maker posted to her blog about the matter, admitting that the content of the EULA itself is wrong, and Mozilla is working to fix the EULA that’s popping up in Firefox distros.
Rather than try to distill all of the posts I’ve seen on Planet Ubuntu, Ubuntu Weblogs (Planet Ubuntu Users) and Planet Mozilla I hope you don’t mind if I simply list all of the posts with their links. I’m pressed for time this afternoon and I’d rather get this published now than hold on to it for another day and possibly risk user’s possibly not be able to find one of these links. I’ll post them all in one list, in chronological order according to the time stamps that Evolution has for them on my computer.
- Risto H. Kurppa: User needs to approve Firefox EULA in Intrepid on first run? (also includes a link to the discussion on the Launchpad bug report about it)
- Stefano Forenza: Firefox EULA to clutter Ubuntu User’s Experience (also includes a link to the discussion on the Launchpad bug report about it)
- Pavel Rojtberg: So Mozilla is getting cocky again (looks at the branding issues that seem to be at the root of the matter)
- Mark Van den Borre: TMbuntu
- Mitchell baker: Ubuntu, Firefox and License Issues (finally, a response from Mozilla, thins one coming from the Mozilla Foundation chairperson and a CEO, as well as the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation, although I’m not entirely sure those titles are current. Mitchell admits Mozilla screwed up, and they’re working to fix things)
- Harvey Anderson: Firefox EULA in Linux Distributions (Harvey’s one of the Mozilla people working to fix the issues, and he discusses the problem, as well as how they’re working to resolve it)
- Lucas Nussbaum: Is Mozilla the new XFree86? Could Ubuntu actually help? (Lucas hopes Mozilla listens to the Free Software community, or they’ll lose market share to Webkit. Personally I’d like to check out Webkit on Ubuntu without having to compile so frigging much of it)
I look forward to seeing how this ultimately gets resolved, although I wouldn’t mind if Ubuntu lost Firefox, or at least a browser called Firefox, once the dust settles. Having used Firefox/Linux code from Mozilla for so long I’d really like to see Ubuntu stop calling their modified code “Firefox”. But that’s still just me. YMMV. I’ll try to post updates once they’re available.