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Thread: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

  1. #1
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    "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    I noticed that a lot of the needed debs for making Ubuntu useful, meaning audio/video codecs and so on are spread on several repos.

    I'm hereby proposing that we collect them all in a complete project that will support current stable and current development. This would allow Ubuntu to keep Universe as a "debian-legal" clean repo, while also allowing users to easily add these needed packages to their system in one uniform and easy manner.

  2. #2
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    Quote Originally Posted by im_ka
    good idea.
    maybe we could combine the project with this one: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2353

    I think that project is more of a Universe thing - but anything that's legally shady, I would like to take under this projects wings to shelter Ubuntu from those evil lawyers..

    Regardless people are welcome to contact me to help set this up, meanwhile I'll go learn how to make debs (don't look at me like that, I'm used to ebuilds and abs PKGBUILDs).

    We also need a cool name.

  3. #3
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    oops, sorry for deleting that message, i wanted to edit it...

    anyways, i fully support your idea. some ideas:
    marillat mplayer
    j2re (the source is mentioned somewhere)

    it'd be nice if the user would only have to add one source to get the "doubious" apps.

    btw, i've been using arch too

  4. #4
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    I was thinking we start with gstreamer and related apps seeing as that will have the biggest impact on Ubuntu.

    but sure mplayer and so on would be fine candidates as well..

  5. #5
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    There's a huge problem, and it's right in the subject -- 'legally dubious'.

    We've been reasonably liberal in what we ship, so most anything we've left out will get us sued if we ship it, we believe. That applies to a separate tree, doubly so if we acknowledge right off the bat that they're legally dubious.

    As much as I would love to see Ubuntu support all video/audio/whatever codecs out of the box, shipping the DLLs needed to support WMV (for example) would get us sued for blatantly violating the licence. And that's a risk we cannot afford to take.
    daniel dot stone at ubuntu dot com

  6. #6
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    I assume it wouldn't be a part of the official Ubuntu distro but rather just something on the side, like the various repositories for fedora and redhat. I assume that wouldn't create a problem for the people that does the work at the ordinary Ubuntu tree. However, IANAL so I'm probably wrong.

  7. #7
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    but if some1 does it unofficially, independent from the official ubuntu project...

    christian marillat provides "legally dubious" packages for debian on his own server. does he get sued? gotta ask my law professor about this

  8. #8
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    As I said, it would be done outside of the Ubuntu tree fully unsupported or related to Ubuntu development - like livna.org is for Fedora.

    The point would be to keep Ubuntu's back clean legally but still allow the users to pick the formats they needs - even though I prefer open standards and such we do sometimes need that .avi file to play or people will think we suck donkey butt.

    I'm more than willing to stick my neck out for now, I would like to see them try suing me - most of the stuff we would provide like DVD playback would be perfectly legal at least here in Denmark - and I'm not the moral judge of what people will use it for, or where for that matter, as there would be no profit motive either mp3 support should be fine (it's as far as I can tell legal for none profit), only stuff that requires you to have a license before use like mpeg4 (XVID etc.) would be a problem as well as maybe the NTFS module for the kernel I'm not so sure about the legality of that especially if we were to provide it as a modified installer to allow partition resizing - so maybe a small chat with a lawyer before providing that would be a good idea.

    That being said, something like ICQ/MSN/AIM support which we provide in gaim, in the Ubuntu tree, isn't entirely legal either.

  9. #9
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    Quote Originally Posted by daniels
    There's a huge problem, and it's right in the subject -- 'legally dubious'.

    We've been reasonably liberal in what we ship, so most anything we've left out will get us sued if we ship it, we believe. That applies to a separate tree, doubly so if we acknowledge right off the bat that they're legally dubious.

    As much as I would love to see Ubuntu support all video/audio/whatever codecs out of the box, shipping the DLLs needed to support WMV (for example) would get us sued for blatantly violating the licence. And that's a risk we cannot afford to take.
    Sadly, I must agree with Daniel. Here in the US of A, litigation of all sorts has become so popular, you'd think it was a sport. And IP issues have begun to loom very large in this arena.

    Unfortunately, I don't have an answer. I wish I did - I'd like to have all the "bell 'n whistles" as much as anyone. But I don't think setting up a "rogue" repository (or even encouraging one) is a good answer at this point. There's too much potential for backlash of all kinds - legal, ethical, moral - and the wrong kind of publicity could be very damaging. I really like using Linux and I don't want to see the community get a "black eye" over this.

    For myself, I'm simply going to make the best use of what I have and wait for those that are a lot smarter than me to come up with a "squeaky-clean" solution.

    Mark
    "....I'm a user, not a programmer...."

  10. #10
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    Re: "Legally doubious" Ubuntu repo

    I agree as well.

    It was no problem to Google the necessary information that would tell me how to make Totem play DVD's, etc.........Information is not illegal.

    However, what I choose to do with it may well be?

    Ubuntu as a "primetime free Debian distro" should not incorporate "questionable" packages.

    They are readily available in other Debian depositories if you want them. Any "Linux savvy" user can figure out how to proceed from there. If you aren't Linux savvy, it ain't that hard to learn, man!!!

    I love this Ubuntu Distro!!! Let's do everything we can to keep it going forever, legally or otherwise!!!

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