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Re: [gNewSense-users] RFC Firefox Free Software

From: Michael Kaye
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] RFC Firefox Free Software
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 10:50:02 +0000

> On Tuesday 14 November 2006 22:28, Atanu Datta wrote:
> > > But there are some real free software issues about Firefox.  The biggest
> > > one is that it is set up to offer downloads of non-free plug-ins from
> > > Mozilla's own site.
> This is the acid test isn't it?  If Firefox is not free, then we must not
> distribute it.  Full stop; and that means the repositories.

Well no, it is free, but it invites you to use non-free.

I disagree. Firefox is not Free -
(also see the link, at the bottom of that post, to the discussion
between Mozilla and Debian on the issue).

Firefox includes non-free artwork. It also requires that any
modifications you make are approved by Mozilla before you distribute
them (placing a restriction on Freedom 3

If you choose to remove the non-free artwork, as Debian decided, then
you are not allowed to call the programme Firefox. That's where the
name "IceWeasel" came from. The proposed solution for Debian is to use
a compilation switch to remove the non-free artwork/branding, and call
the resulting application "IceWeasel". If you use a name other than
"Firefox" you are also able to distribute your own modifications
without going to Mozilla for approval.

Firefox's promotion of non-free plugins is a separate, but important,
issue. The Gnuzilla IceWeasel (
addresses that particular issue.

I would like to see the Gnuzilla IceWeasel in gNewSense, but I
understand the effort that would require. Firefox can be made Free by
using the Debian approach of simply changing the name and removing the
artwork, but that still leaves the issue of promoting non-free

Cutting Free -
Free Software at the cutting edge

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