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Re: Firefox licensing issue

Arc wrote:

> While Firefox itself is licensed under a free license, there's an issue 
> in the way the Mozilla foundation designed it to include their own 
> package system for extensions and themes.
> Take Firefox 1.5 for example, I've had it for a few hours, downloaded a 
> few extensions.. whoops.  Looking at the readme in Foxytunes, for 
> example, I find non-free terms (below).
> At no point did I see any notification of the license before installing 
> this extension, and only by viewing a text file embedded in firefox's 
> installation directory did I learn of this.  Note that this is covered 
> in a bug report, but no action has been taken yet to fix this problem:
>  https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=275743
> I don't have any recommendation as to how to solve this problem in 
> debian - I'm pointing this out, however, as an issue that the debian 
> community may wish to do something further with.

I don't quite see how Debian could help with this specific problem.
Foxytunes (like any Firefox extension not packaged by Debian) is
third-party software, and it seems to me that the onus of finding out
its licensing terms is on the person who installs it.  Neither Debian
nor the Mozilla foundation can be reasonably expected to maintain a list
of the licenses of every available extension.  (Granted, perhaps Mozilla
should at least audit licenses for extensions listed on mozdev.org...)

Of course it would be very nice for Mozilla to have an API via which
extension authors could state their licenses, and a GUI dialog box that
would pop up the extension license for inspection before installing it.
 Ideally most extension authors would take advantage of the interface.
But this sort of major feature needs to be added upstream.  If such an
interface were added to the Debian package of Firefox, hardly any
extension developers would use it as long as it was Debian-specific.

[Foxytunes license snipped]


Kevin B. McCarty <kmccarty@princeton.edu>   Physics Department
WWW: http://www.princeton.edu/~kmccarty/    Princeton University
GPG: public key ID 4F83C751                 Princeton, NJ 08544

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