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Re: Firefox and Moonlight (Mono) "Free Software" Status?



Verily I say unto thee, that Rahul Sundaram spake thusly:
> Keith G. Robertson-Turner wrote:

>> Any comments on the following, and how it might pertain to future
>> releases?:
> 
> Moonlight:
> 
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/ForbiddenItems#Moonlight

Thank you. I hadn't actually seen that page, but I was aware that you'd
blocked Moonlight as non-Free. Indeed, this is why I'm so surprised that
you don't block Mono for the same, or similar, reasons.

> Mono has been discussed extensively in the past. So just refer to
> list archives for details.

In advance of reviewing the archives, I'd just like to reiterate
concerns that have been made about Mono elsewhere:

[quote]
I read the agreement between Xandros and Microsoft, and one of the
excluded products was Mono, so Microsoft promises to not sue Xandros
over their distribution but excluding Mono and a few other products,
i.e. they reserve the right to sue over Mono. I wonder if this is an
interesting preview of on what basis they want to fight the free world.

Interestingly, the Novell deal seems to be different, Mono is not
excluded from the Novell deal. So Microsoft seems to be promising not to
sue Novell over Mono, but keeps the option open for Xandros. Weird but true.
[/quote]

http://commandline.org.uk/linux/2007/aug/5/be-careful-who-you-kiss/

Coupled with the revelations of Microsoft's agenda for Moonlight, I'd
say it's pretty clear that Mono is a serious (and unnecessary) risk,
since Mono is encumbered by similar terms, by the same patent holder.

> Firefox: EULA shown is just MPL/LGPL/GPL and doesn't really make it 
> non-free anymore than showing EULA in previous Fedora releases made
> it non-free.

Having read the EULA, I see there is considerably more in there than
just the MPL, in fact there is no mention of the GPL at all, and only a
very brief reference to the MPL. The vast majority of the document
details Intellectual Property restrictions, and other insidious elements
such as export restrictions.

Also, I really don't think that Free Software should require an
affirmative confirmation of license acceptance to allow use of that
software, especially when what one is "accepting" is the revocation of
one's rights WRT that software.

The EULA itself does not even read like an expression of Freedom, but
much more like a corporate declaration that /inhibits/ Freedom. In fact
I couldn't even locate a copy of that version of the license on Mozilla
Corp's Website, to review before deciding whether or not to download the
software, although this is a preview release, so that may (hopefully)
change. Ultimately I had to download the tarball, and even then I could
not find a license file to read, I had to actually run the software to
see the (presumably embedded) license. I've published a copy here (I
assume that publishing a copy of the license is not, in and of itself,
some form of Intellectual Property violation):

http://slated.org/firefox_3_is_this_really_free_software

[quote]
By clicking the "Accept" button, or by installing or using the Mozilla
Firefox Browser, you are consenting to be bound by the Agreement. If you
do not agree to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, do not click
the "Accept" button, and do not install or use any part of the Mozilla
Firefox Browser.

...

Mozilla, for itself and on behalf of its licensors, hereby reserves all
intellectual property rights in the Product, except for the rights
expressly granted in this Agreement. You may not remove or alter any
trademark, logo, copyright or other proprietary notice in or on the
Product. This license does not grant you any right to use the
trademarks, service marks or logos of Mozilla or its licensors.

...

8. EXPORT CONTROLS. This license is subject to all applicable export
restrictions. You must comply with all export and import laws and
restrictions and regulations of any United States or foreign agency or
authority relating to the Product and its use.

9. U.S. GOVERNMENT END-USERS. This Product is a "commercial item," as
that term is defined in 48 C.F.R. 2.101, consisting of "commercial
computer software" and "commercial computer software documentation," as
such terms are used in 48 C.F.R. 12.212 (Sept. 1995) and 48 C.F.R.
227.7202 (June 1995). Consistent with 48 C.F.R. 12.212, 48 C.F.R.
27.405(b)(2) (June 1998) and 48 C.F.R. 227.7202, all U.S. Government End
Users acquire the Product with only those rights as set forth therein.
[/quote]


IMHO this is non-Free, and obviously both Debian and FSF agree with me,
since they have each forked Firefox.

Personally I just don't see why there should be an issue switching to
the Freest available version of any given software.

> However refer
> 
> https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=447661

Thank you.

-- 
Regards,
Keith G. Robertson-Turner


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