Licensing Feedback

We’re editing the language and working in the comments as appropriate.  Although there were a number of questions, not all addressed in this post, one comment asked how this proposal differs from the Fedora implementation. In its fundamental concept, it doesn’t really differ. We used some different words, referenced the MPL specifically, and took out as much extraneous material we could (material originated by Mozilla not Fedora). It was also suggested that we work in a larger open discussion with all the stakeholders who are working towards integrating web services into the linux desktop… This is an excellent suggestion which we should do.

10 Responses to Licensing Feedback

  1. Chip Bennett says:

    Thanks for continuing to keep us updated on the progress.

    One question I really would love to see answered:

    Can distros package branded Firefox with the non-free services disabled by default (and by correlation, *not* present their users the end-user agreement for those non-free services)?

  2. John Lilly says:

    Hi Chip — that’s a product & user experience question more than a legal question. It’s something we’ve thought about in the past, and not done — our view right now is that the services are an important part of the product. We’ll keep looking at this, but it’s a separate issue from the legal issues that Harvey is addressing.

  3. jef says:

    As a note of interest with regard to a larger discussion on web services, PJ from groklaw fame may have an interesting suggestion in using the SFLC as a facilitator with regard to a discussion on the legal issues surrounding web services.

    I was personally thinking freedesktop, but since the biggest issues here are fundamentally legal in nature and not technical, the SFLC might indeed be a very good facilitator for a stakeholder discussion concerning web services.

    Honestly I don’t know where to try to do this sort of thing. I just know it shouldn’t be stuck inside distribution specific communication channel like one of the Fedora lists. Or else we are just going to keep spinning our wheels, re-inventing wheels and never actually get moving forward.


  4. Chip Bennett says:


    Thanks for the reply.

    I’m not sure I agree that my question is purely a “product and user experience” issue, since my question regarded Mozilla’s willingness not to revoke distributions’ branding rights (see: Debian/IceWeasel) for modifying the binary.

    If Mozilla were to disallow Ubuntu from using Firefox branding if the Ubuntu Firefox package disabled the services by default, then the issue would very much be a legal question.

  5. kafpauzo says:

    This is a huge improvement compared to that click-through EULA! Thank you, Mozilla!

    I know little about FOSS and can’t comment regarding FOSS principles, so I’m commenting personally, as someone who remembers the initial feeling of warm welcome when migrating from Windows to Ubuntu. From this viewpoint I think the changes are a huge improvement. Much appreciated!

    The wordings could be more inviting, but if I understand you correctly you’re working on just that, so I suppose you already have ideas for this and don’t need mine.

    Regarding the legalese, in my opinion the same message can be given with friendly and inviting words instead of legalese.

    The problem with legalese is that the wording shows a pushy attitude. It says “You better accept what we’re saying. Accept this or leave!”

    While saying it this way is technically correct, you can just as well say the same thing with a friendly smile while holding the door open in invitation. After all, if you’re sued, and the court checks if you informed your users, the deciding factor isn’t whether your wording was pushy, it’s whether the information was there and was clear.

    If you find that legalese can’t be avoided after all, you could still explain almost all of it invitingly where you now have legalese, and then at the bottom have a link to legalese that says essentially the same thing.

    I think it’s necessary that you inform users that Firefox contacts Google regularly for this service, if this is indeed the case. Some people feel that it’s risky for our civil liberties that such a huge amount of private information gets concentrated at one entity. People have a right to know and decide.

    (In fact I wish that instead Google sent the phisher-and-scammer database to you (Mozilla), and the browser contacted your servers to get it.)

    In any case, I’m very happy about the great improvement that you have made in how this is presented. I feel very optimistic. Thanks!

  6. Pingback: An update on the Firefox EULA issue « I’m Just an Avatar

  7. Paul Sladen says:

    Thank you for all the work so far, and for feeding back to people in general via the blog updates.

    Are there any further updated wordings for general review yet?


  8. John Gilmore says:

    It does seem quite odd that the terms say, “You are agreeing to these terms you haven’t seen UNLESS you go in and fiddle with your settings”, rather than “When you turn on this setting, not only will we violate your privacy by sending all your URLs to Google, but we’ll also require you to agree to this set of terms — click HERE to agree and turn it on.”

    All the Mozilla source code I’ve seen is licensed under three licenses, not under the MPL. As the most popular free license, a lot more people understand what “GPL” means. Telling them the truth about the triple license should give them more comfort that they know what they are allowed or disallowed from doing. They should know they can always ignore the MPL and just go with the GPL rules if they want to.

  9. Iang says:

    By way of apologies for questions that might be out of context, I’m somewhat overwhelmed by this issue and haven’t fully grokked it. However, I feel there are substantial parallels between this issue and the 3-party relationship between users, Mozilla and the CAs.

    Does this agreement cover the general context of certificates? Can a CA rely on this agreement to describe how the user is presented information concerning certificates? Can a user rely on the agreement when understanding her risks, liabilities and obligations in dealing with a certificate displayed by Firefox?

    I’m specifically thinking of the language in 5. Limitation of Liability.

  10. Faggot72 says:

    But she has been more recently stressed out because of work, and rightfully so. ,