Will Canonical force Linux Mint to license Ubuntu binary packages?

Today in Open Source: Linux Mint may have to license Ubuntu binary packages. Plus: Firefox 26 available for download, and a Linux Mint 16 Xfce RC screenshot tour

Canonical and Ubuntu binary package licensing

DistroWatch has a very disturbing report about Canonical possibly trying to force Linux Mint to license Ubuntu binary packages.

Clem claims he has been asked by Canonical's legal department to license the binary packages used by Ubuntu. To me this is a scary thought. Ubuntu is a base distribution for many projects, some of them (such as Mint and Kubuntu) are quite successful.

Clem's statement makes me wonder if Canonical has approached other open source projects about licensing the right to access Ubuntu's package repositories. If so, what might follow? Would derivative distributions need to pay to use Canonical's packages? How would Canonical enforce such a policy, with lawyers, by blocking access to the repositories if a user isn't using Genuine Ubuntu?

More at DistroWatch

I must admit that this story flew beneath my radar until I bumped into it in the DistroWatch Weekly article. I find the possibility of this quite chilling. Canonical has already generated a lot of ill will with Unity and search tracking, among other things.

The article is being quite kind when it calls the possibility of licensing "short-sighted." I think it will anger many Linux users and developers. Whether or not Canonical has the right to do it is totally beside the point. The mere fact they are considering it indicates that the company may have totally lost touch with the true spirit of the open source community.

Canonical would do well to totally reconsider this policy. It should be stopped now before it goes any further and does serious damage to the company's reputation in the open source community.

Firefox 26 available for download

Softpedia is reporting that Firefox 26 is now available for download.

Among the changes brought by Mozilla Firefox 26.0, we can mention support for the H.264 video format on Linux systems, support for MP3 decoding on Windows XP, social bookmarking support added to the Social API, support for script-generated password fields on the Password Manager, implemented “click to play” functionality on all plugins, and Windows users can now perform updates without write permissions to the Firefox install directory.

Download Mozilla Firefox 26.0 for Linux Download Mozilla Firefox 26.0 for Windows Download Mozilla Firefox 26.0 for Mac OS XMore at Softpedia

I'm currently using Firefox 25, so it looks like I'll be doing an update shortly, along with lots of other people. I'm very glad to see H.264 support for Linux in this release.

Screenshot tour of Linux Mint 16 Xfce RC

The Coding Studio has a screenshot tour of Linux Mint 16 Xfce RC. Check it out if you want to see what the next version of Linux Mint 16 Xfce will look like.

Linux Mint 16 RC (Xfce) was quietly released. The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 16 'Petra'. Linux Mint 16 is the result of 6 months of incremental development on top of stable and reliable technologies. This new release comes with updated software and brings refinements and new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use. Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components.

More at The Coding StudioHat Tip: Lxer

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.


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