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Thread: Ubuntu wants to restrict derivatives using their repositories, to prevent competition

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    I think CentOS does something similar to RedHat like Mint does to Ubuntu. And they unpack RedHat packages, replace every occurrence of "RedHat" with "CentOS" (both names are 6 characters long) in order to avoid trademark infringement, and pack them again.
    No, they don't. They use Ubuntu main repo in addition to a small repo for some of their own homebrewed apps. If they repacked the packages, and held them in their own servers, and used their own bandwidth, then this issue wouldn't exist.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dh04000 View Post
    No, they don't. They use Ubuntu main repo in addition to a small repo for some of their own homebrewed apps. If they repacked the packages, and held them in their own servers, and used their own bandwidth, then this issue wouldn't exist.
    Maybe you misunderstood. I said that CentOS is a non-commercial derivative of RedHat like Mint is to Ubuntu. CentOS way (not Mint's way, at least currently) of evading trademark infringement is to remove all RedHat strings. Mint does not attempt to remove anything Ubuntu.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    Maybe you misunderstood. I said that CentOS is a non-commercial derivative of RedHat like Mint is to Ubuntu. CentOS way (not Mint's way, at least currently) of evading trademark infringement is to remove all RedHat strings. Mint does not attempt to remove anything Ubuntu.
    Oh, My mistake. Yeah, Mint should really do what Centos does.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dh04000 View Post
    "When asked if Canonical was hoping to collect a fee for using their binary packages, Clem responded, "Money isn't a primary concern. Although the original fee was in the hundreds of thousands pounds, it was easily reduced to a single digit figure. The licensing aims at restricting what Mint can and cannot do, mostly in relation to the OEM market, to prevent Mint from competing with Canonical in front of the same commercial partners."

    Good. If they want to be a community OS and use Ubuntu-paid (multi millions in cost btw) servers fine, but if they want to be a commercial OS then they need to buy their own servers, and bandwidth.
    What makes you think Canonical pays "multi millions" for hosting? They rely on a bunch of mirrors. That is, FREE mirrors, people voluntarily mirroring Canonical's servers, and without those Canonical's repositories wouldn't be able to function. So they're not even paying the bulk of the hosting costs themselves, they're rather relying on the community to do the work for them there as well.

    And the point is, that they're not asking Mint for money for using their servers. They're asking Mint to license the binaries of open source code, code which Canonical does not own, and is trying to enforce license terms that would prevent Mint from competing with Canonical on the OEM market. That goes against the spirit of free software, and the GPL license as well, and Canonical has no legal standing here - they have no right to control how free, GPL-licensed software is used, no matter if they compiled it to a binary or not.

  5. #15
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    Default Mint could dump Ubuntu for upstream Debian over this, makes me want to do same

    Quote Originally Posted by dee. View Post
    What makes you think Canonical pays "multi millions" for hosting? They rely on a bunch of mirrors. That is, FREE mirrors, people voluntarily mirroring Canonical's servers, and without those Canonical's repositories wouldn't be able to function. So they're not even paying the bulk of the hosting costs themselves, they're rather relying on the community to do the work for them there as well.

    And the point is, that they're not asking Mint for money for using their servers. They're asking Mint to license the binaries of open source code, code which Canonical does not own, and is trying to enforce license terms that would prevent Mint from competing with Canonical on the OEM market. That goes against the spirit of free software, and the GPL license as well, and Canonical has no legal standing here - they have no right to control how free, GPL-licensed software is used, no matter if they compiled it to a binary or not.
    Mint already keeps a Debian-only version for insurance, probably due to Canonical's erratic behavior. Mint should ask Ubuntu to submit a list of all packages containing Ubuntu branding or trademarks so they delete or repackage each offending item. If Ubuntu does not play ball and this is about binaries and not servers, Mint should then dump Ubuntu and base Mint 17 and later on Debian unstable. They could easily look for and copy the "freeze dates" Ubuntu uses to get the same Debian Unstable snapshots as a starting point.

    This whole thing makes me want to do the same, but for an established personal fork with myriad customizations and many saved images a reinstall from a stock installer is a bear of a job, and a crossgrade to Debian Unstable is also a nasty job, even with the easy availablity of extra copies of the starting point OS image. I suppose I could rip out Upstart and replace it with Systemd, and replace LightDM with MDM so as to be rid of all Ubuntu's CLA-licensed software, then set up APT to always prefer Debian repos but pull from both for a gradual crossgrade.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dee. View Post
    What makes you think Canonical pays "multi millions" for hosting? They rely on a bunch of mirrors. That is, FREE mirrors, people voluntarily mirroring Canonical's servers, and without those Canonical's repositories wouldn't be able to function. So they're not even paying the bulk of the hosting costs themselves, they're rather relying on the community to do the work for them there as well.
    When installing ubuntu, repositories are set to canonicals main or server for ......... country. i cant recall ever adding a mirror since the default speed was fine. What's canonicals bill?? No idea. How many folk actually bother adding a mirror repository to the sources.list, either manually or via the software centre, appears rather minimal though.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dee. View Post
    What makes you think Canonical pays "multi millions" for hosting? They rely on a bunch of mirrors. That is, FREE mirrors, people voluntarily mirroring Canonical's servers, and without those Canonical's repositories wouldn't be able to function. So they're not even paying the bulk of the hosting costs themselves, they're rather relying on the community to do the work for them there as well.
    And I guess the thousands of packages in the Ubuntu repositories magically build themselves, causing no cost to Canonical. Get real!
    That goes against the spirit of free software, and the GPL license as well, and Canonical has no legal standing here - they have no right to control how free, GPL-licensed software is used, no matter if they compiled it to a binary or not.
    Really? Which part of the GPL does not allow you to provide binary packages of open source software to your conditions?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vim_User View Post
    And I guess the thousands of packages in the Ubuntu repositories magically build themselves, causing no cost to Canonical. Get real!
    Really? Which part of the GPL does not allow you to provide binary packages of open source software to your conditions?
    Thousands of packages? You mean the ones Canonical gets for free from the community, mostly from Debian etc.? Talk about hypocrisy... Canonical gets 99% of their codebase for free, with no obligation apart from that of the open source license, which allows them to even exist as a distribution, thanks to thousands of volunteers and community members who maintain that code pro bono. They rely on so much volunteer work, yet when they add some patches to GPL code and build a few packages, they're suddenly the great benefactors here? Get real.

    And yes, the GPL places very specific terms under which you're allowed to distribute binary packages of the code. You have to include source code, you have to keep the same license terms intact (share alike)... no one who distributes a GPL-licensed code, either in binary or source form, has any right to dictate to anyone else what they are allowed to do with the code or how they're allowed to use it. That is exactly what the GPL license is meant to prevent, it's meant to provide the four freedoms equally to everyone: to use, examine, modify and distribute the software, without any restrictions apart from those outlined in the GPL license, which are designed only to ensure that no one can take those rights away from you.

    It is fine to charge money for binaries. That's not the problem here. Again, Canonical is not asking for money to cover their hosting expenses, nor are they asking money to cover the cost of building/maintaining the packages. They are telling Mint that Mint has to accept Canonical's license terms in order to use binaries used by Canonical, they're trying to dictate how others can use open source (probably most of it GPL-licensed) code, in order to restrict their competition. They want to prevent Mint from competing for the same OEM deals. That is a page from the book of microsoft - it's anticompetitive and flies entirely against the spirit of FOSS.

  9. #19
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    GPLv3 states:

    You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to propagate or modify it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License (including any patent licenses granted under the third paragraph of section 11).
    Each time you convey a covered work, the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensors, to run, modify and propagate that work, subject to this License.
    You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License. For example, you may not impose a license fee, royalty, or other charge for exercise of rights granted under this License, and you may not initiate litigation (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that any patent claim is infringed by making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the Program or any portion of it.
    So Canonical is not allowed to add on any external licensing terms on top of a GPLv3 license. That's up to the copyright holders of the software in question to decide. They can only distribute a GPL-licensed software under the terms of the GPL license, if they try to distribute with terms that are not compatible with the GPL license, they are in violation of the GPL license.

    What they're trying to do is demand an external license from Mint for their binary packages. That is not allowed in GPL, the GPL requires to keep the license terms and conditions intact, ie. Canonical received the software under the GPL license, therefore they can only distribute it under the GPL license, and can't add their own arbitrary terms on top of the terms of the GPL.

    Note that the GPL license explicitly allows charging money for distribution (of either the binary or source form). It does not, explicitly or otherwise, allow dictating to the recipients how they can use the software, apart from the terms of the GPL license itself.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vim_User View Post
    And I guess the thousands of packages in the Ubuntu repositories magically build themselves, causing no cost to Canonical. Get real!
    Unlike bandwidth, however, Canonical don't incur any extra costs through Mint or other distros using them. They need to compile all the binaries anyway, so forcing third-parties to rebuild them would simply double the overall cost to no gain. Asking for major 3rd-party users to contribute to the fixed cost might be reasonable, but that doesn't seem to be Canonical's main goal.

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