Note: this request was discussed at the Ubuntu Technical Board meeting on 2011-03-24 with an unanimous decision not to make the requested alterations to Ubiquity, the Ubuntu installer. Full details can be read on command #19 onwards and in the discussion preceding the decision, which is available at:
AGREED received: Ubuntu will not enable ubuntu-restricted-* installation by default, and will retain its stance
Final result is 0 for, 5 against. 0 abstained. Total: -5
Original report request:
Installer – The option to 'install third-party software' when installing Ubuntu should be selected by default.
There are two issues regarding this change:
1) Legal - We are currently checking the legal fine print regarding changing this option from 'not selected by default' to 'selected by default'. Legal have given us the provisional OK for this change, they are doing a final check of the EULA details atm. This issue is in legal's hands, and a final answer should arrive shortly.
2) Usability - We want free software to take over the world! And we want it to grow beyond the bounds of enthusiasts and to get casual non-techy users into the world of open source software. To do this we have to match the experience they receive from proprietary software. For example people expect YouTube to just work. If YouTube doesn't work they will say, "I tried this new computer, it looked quite nice but when I went to YouTube it didn't work so I want back to using my Mac/PC". There is a low tolerance for failure in common and basic usecases. In the world we want to get to, all the functionality users expect will be deliverable with open source software. But to get there we need to massively increase our user base and attract more developers and companies to the open source ecosystem. And we won't be able to do that if we can't meet basic casual user expectations along the way. To beat the proprietary competition our no. 1 priority has to be delivering the best possible experience to our users. Unfortunately to do this today we need to we need to let users use some elements of proprietary software. However unless we meet user expectations we will never get the user base required to support the development of open source alternatives. And when the open source alternatives match the quality of their proprietary equivalents it will no longer be necessary to have this option.
This change only proposes changing the selection of a pre-existing option in the installer to selected by default. No other changes are proposed with regards to the 'install 3rd party software' functionality that currently ships in Ubuntu.