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Re: Firefox-3 isn't free software. Anything free and usable for GNU?

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Firefox-3 isn't free software. Anything free and usable for GNU?
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 21:14:54 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

mike3 <> wrote:
> On Sep 15, 1:32?pm, Alan Mackenzie <> wrote:
>> David Kastrup <> wrote:
>> > Alan Mackenzie <> writes:
>> >> I was just starting Firefox-3 on a GNU/Linux system, when up popped a
>> >> obnoxious "end-user Software License agreement", to which you've got
>> >> to agree before the program will start properly. ?Part of this is
>> >> agreeing to their "privacy policy" (a privacy policy for a PROGRAM???)
>> >> which you can't read, unless you've got another working browser, since
>> >> it only gives a web address (
>> >> In essence, this rambling, turgid, patronising web page says that
>> >> Firefox will "phone home" in the event of a crash (and maybe at other
>> >> times too), transmitting private and personal information to Mozilla,
>> >> which they may use in any fashion whatsoever without regard to
>> >> privacy.
>> >> (Actually, they say they'll treat it with proper respect, but that
>> >> they can change their "privacy policy" in any way at any time, without
>> >> telling anybody, including you, about it, and that it's up to you to
>> >> watch this page continually, just in case it changes).
>> >> Does anybody here know of any genuinely free web browser which runs
>> >> well in X-Windows running on GNU/Linux?
>> > It is genuinely free, so feel free to throw out all the code that does
>> > phone home.

>> I don't think it's completely free: there are restrictions on using it.
>> (You've first got to accept their licensing terms, some of which are
>> difficult to read).

> <snip>

> Hmm. What exactly is so unfree about the agreement? I found it here:

> Beyond the privacy policy stuff I really don't see what exactly would
> be additional restrictions in the license that the free licenses do
> not offer.

I don't think I did, either.  I wasn't going to waste time trawling
through the foul language of the license.  By definition, you can run
free software for any purpose; this license imposes restrictions on
running the software.  Therefore it is not free.

And the "privacy" policy was utterly outrageous.  They reserve the right
to change it without notice, without restriction.  It's not worth the
paper it's not written on.

> Plus you can always get the source code version licensed under the
> Free MPL license and just compile your own binary...

"just" ;-)  Actually, I'm currently building an IceCat.  Hopefully,
being part of GNU, it won't have the restrictive license.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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