[conspire] Fwd: Ubuntu 6.10

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Mar 22 18:08:28 PDT 2007

I wrote:
> Quoting Edmund J. Biow (biow at sbcglobal.net):

> > The demand for an "evil inside" distro that doesn't even require 
> > EasyUbuntu is so much that in the last 30 days the No. 10 download on 
> > distrowatch is the very new Mint, a modified stripe of Ubuntu with all 
> > the evil proprietary code incorporated in the distribution image.
> I'm intending to have a closer look at both that and Sabayon.  One of
> the operational problems of including _some_ proprietary software
> directly into the image is that you can easily make it unlawful to
> further redistribute, sometimes unintentionally.
> For example, Linux Mint 2.1 "Bea" includes Macromedia's Flash
> interpreter for i386 Linux.  Flash is licensed for free-of-charge
> download from Macromedia's site (they authorised themselves!), but not
> for subsequent distribution except by specifically authorised agents of
> the company.  It's possible that the Linux Mint developers signed up
> with Macromedia to be authorised distributors -- though I doubt it --
> but that leaves the rest of us:  If I download the 2.1 "Bea" ISO and
> burn a copy, so far so good.  But, if I then my CD for you at a CABAL
> meeting to take home, I'm committing an act in technical violation of 
> Macromedia's copyright.  Macromedia's not likely to object, let alone to
> sue me -- but they could.  And other proprietary software publishers are
> more zealous, e.g., Adobe.  You won't ever see redistributable Linux 
> ISOs that incorporate Adobe Acrobat Reader on random public ftp/http sites -- 
> even though Acrobat Reader itself is free of charge to download from
> Adobe and authorised agents.  Ever wonder why?  Because it's _both_
> illegal _and_ something the infringed copyright's owner goes after
> people for.
> > If big distros like Ubuntu & openSUSE make it harder for people to do 
> > what they want to do with their machines, they'll simply switch to other 
> > flavors that they think are more accommodating like Mint. 
> As it is, they actually tend to make it pretty damned easy, within
> limits set by their desire to keep their ISOs lawful for the public to
> redistribute -- which Linux Mint appears not to be.

Linux Mint have now confirmed my analysis in a very unambiguous and direct
fashion -- by releasing beta1 of a variant called "Light" edition.
Quoting the release announcement:

   This is the first release candidate for the Light edition of Bianca.
   The purpose of the Light edition is to bring a version of Linux Mint
   which doesn't contain proprietary software, patented technologies and
   support for restricted formats. In some countries where the legislation
   allows software patents to be enforced the Light edition provides a way
   for the user to legally download Linux Mint. The following items are not
   present in the Light Edition: Macromedia Flash, support for encrypted
   DVDs, Windows codecs, support for restricted file formats (MP3), Unrar
   and Sun Java 1.5."

I suspect that, if Adobe ever get mediaeval on their ass about shipping
unauthorised copies of the Macromedia Flash player, they may end up
rethinking their main edition, too.

Reminder:  CABAL meeting on Saturday.  Looks like really great weather!

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