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Re: Opera in your repos

On Wed, 5 Aug 2009, Ilya Shpan'kov wrote:

> Hi,
> I work in Opera Software - yes, we make a proprietary browser ;)
> Last 7 years I use GNU/Linux and know that, for example, in Russia the
> Opera browser is very popular in GNU/Linux Community. Unfortunately, not
> always I can see this browser in the non-free repos. Well, there is a
> question: whether Opera is included to your distro and if not - how we can
> fix this problem? We are ready for any discussions, technical help or
> agreement, if necessary.

As explained by Ana, Debian is about making a free operating system,
so we usually try to remove software from non-free when we have free
alternatives, not add more.

Anyway, I'll give you a more technical answer.

I see at least two problems in putting Opera in non-free:

First one, the End User License Agreement does not say anything about
redistribution. It is allowed at all? Under which conditions? Do those
conditions last forever, or may Opera Software terminate them at their
wish? Bear in mind that there are sites like snapshot.debian.net that
would copy each and every upload of opera from non-free to be archived
forever. If we can't do that it would probably not worth the effort.

The second problem I see is the discrimination against some
users. From the LICENSE text:

 You are entitled to use the Software on all personal computers
 (laptops/desktops). "Use" means loaded in temporary memory or
 permanent storage on the computer.

 You may not use the Software on non-PC products, devices, or embedded
 in any other product, including, but not limited to, mobile devices,
 internet appliances, set top boxes (STB), handhelds, PDAs, phones, web
 pads, tablets, game consoles, TVs, gaming machines, home automation
 systems, or any other consumer electronics devices or
 mobile/cable/satellite/television or closed system based service.

Well, the fact is that Debian aims to run on all those devices too.

Putting opera.deb in non-free would be deceptive to those users, as
most people assume that if something is in non-free, then the software
might be proprietary but at least use is not restricted, which would
not be the case here.

As Debian is about creating a free operating system, we don't have any
system or procedure to force people to accept licenses before dowloading
packages. With current tools, whoever bothers to package Opera for
non-free would probably add a debconf question in the line of "Are you
using an ordinary PC (laptop/desktop) or you are using something else?".

If I had to answer questions like that after installing something, I
am not sure I would be glad of doing so from a Debian server.


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