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Fedora and Google search: the final report




This represents my final report on this matter. My conclusion: it's not practical to pursue a relationship between Fedora and Google at this time, for the following reasons:

1. RED HAT BEARS THE LEGAL RISKS FOR FEDORA.

As much as Red Hat has worked to create an independent governance model for the Fedora Project, in the final analysis, Fedora is a property of Red Hat. This means that any deal made between Fedora and a third party *must* be agreed upon by Red Hat legal.

2. THE BOILERPLATE CONTACT FOR GOOGLE'S CUSTOM SEARCH ENGINE (CSE) IS TOO RISKY FOR RED HAT LEGAL TO ACCEPT.

The terms and conditions for the Google CSE program (http://www.google.com/coop/docs/cse/tos.html) are pretty onerous. The biggest sticking point for Red Hat lawyers is Section 5, in which Google demands unlimited indemnification. Negotiations to resolve this clause have been unsuccessful.

3. MECHANISMS LIKE THE FIREFOX SEARCH BAR ARE SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED FROM THE GOOGLE CSE.

It seems like there are two potential sources of revenue for Fedora in Firefox: the start page (which would probably be low dollar) and the search bar (which would probably be high dollar). In actuality, though, the search bar is *specifically* excluded from the Google CSE agreement, in section 1.4, Appropriate Conduct. Quote: "You shall not, and shall not allow any third party to: ... (f) directly or indirectly access, launmch and/or activate the Service through or from, or otherwise incorporate the Service in, any Web site or other means other than the Site, and then only to the extent expressly permitted herein." Which means that unless we negotiate a deal with Google directly, we can't use the search bar to generate revenue at all.

So that's it. There are no simple avenues to pursue at this point, which means that we are now open to pursue other options (wikia, fedorasearch being the two I like best). We should also consider whether we want to change the default search to use these, which might require a break from the Firefox brand.

--g

--
Greg DeKoenigsberg
Community Development Manager
Red Hat, Inc. :: 1-919-754-4255
"To whomsoever much hath been given...
...from him much shall be asked"


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