Can't read software license before installation, confusing "open source" vs. "proprietary" mention

Bug #992872 reported by Fabián Rodríguez on 2012-05-01
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
software-center (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

The current license information presented by USC is incomplete and confusing.

It lists "open source", "proprietary" and "unknown" and doesn't present the license itself which can lead to installing and using software without knowledge of not following the conditions on such licenses. This confusion is already reported in Bug #435183. This bug is not about that, but rather a mechanism to view and refuse/accept such licenses in full - particularly non-free licenses.

In the case of free open source software the specific license should at least be mentioned ("GPL v3", etc.) but most importantly, linked to and be available to accept/refuse before installation - perhaps even having a "accept all GPLv3 licenses for this and future installations).

Aplogies in advance if I lack the time to document other suggestions, I've decided to file this bug with the above commentary only so other can relate to it / augment it accordingly.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 12.04
Package: software-center 5.2
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.2.0-23.36-generic 3.2.14
Uname: Linux 3.2.0-23-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.0.1-0ubuntu7
Architecture: amd64
Date: Tue May 1 17:16:32 2012
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" - Release amd64 (20111012)
PackageArchitecture: all
SourcePackage: software-center
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to precise on 2012-03-06 (56 days ago)

Fabián Rodríguez (magicfab) wrote :
description: updated
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

This bug report is invalid, because USC already presents licenses that you need to accept before installation.

It is not necessary to read or accept a redistribution license just to use software. The GPLv3, for example, is explicit about this in section 9: "You are not required to accept this License in order to receive or run a copy of the Program." (If this wasn't the case, Juju and other software that automates software installation would frequently be stuck waiting for user input.)

You are thinking of end-user license agreements. Software in the official Ubuntu repositories seldom has an EULA, presumably because this would conflict with section 7 of the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Software in MyApps can have an EULA; when it does, this is presented during the payment process (see bug 781044).

Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Fabián Rodríguez (magicfab) wrote :

Acceptance of a license is not conditional to its availability for money or not.

You make the exact point this bug is about. One should not have to engage in the installation of any package before being able to at least read the license as I stated initially, much like screenshots are available in many cases. Otherwise you make the implicit assumption any and all such licenses are accepted beforehand which effectively invalidates them in most jurisdictions.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

I don't understand your reference to "availability for money or not". As far as I can tell, neither of us had mentioned money. If you think it is relevant to this issue, could you elaborate?

From "accept all GPLv3 licenses for this and future installations", I understood your use case to be that you thought you needed to accept these licenses before installation. I have explained why this is not the case. Now you are drawing a parallel between previewing licenses and previewing screenshots. But screenshots are useful to judge what normal use of the software will be like -- whether it is a game, font, or other application. Distribution licenses are not interesting in this way, because normal use of the software does not include redistributing it.

So if you think this is still a valid issue, what we need first is a valid use case.

Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
status: Invalid → Incomplete
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for software-center (Ubuntu) because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
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