05.26.10

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Canonical Adds Skype (Proprietary Software) to the Ubuntu Repository (Corrected)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 2:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Correction: Popey tells us that “Canonical added Skype to the Canonical partner repo, not the Ubuntu repo.” (Phoronix was wrong)]

Old phone

Summary: Despite the FSF’s caution (arguing that giving people proprietary software would discourage freedom in the long term too) Canonical opens the door to non-Free software

TREAD carefully, folks. As Phoronix puts it:

Again this is a closed-source version of Skype. We do know that an open-source side to Skype is being worked on and an update is expected soon, but with Canonical now pushing this Skype binary into Ubuntu Lucid makes us wonder if Skype and Canonical are working together on this new version or have any other dealings. Traditionally, Skype has not been available via distribution repositories but users have had to acquire it via their web-site.

Skype’s ‘open source’ is more of a PR thing. Skype’s guts are to remain proprietary. Is Canonical’s move perhaps a sign that Skype will become Free software? That seems highly unlikely. In any event, Fedora 13 has just been released and its policies are more strict.

“Instead of worrying about what somebody else is going to do, which is not under your control, the important thing is, what are you going to decide about what is under your control?”

Richard Stallman

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 26, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Gravatar

    It’s fine that they add it to the partner repository. I’d prefer they didn’t but it does make things more convenient, though perhaps in the right direction.

    With Voice Over Internet Protocol, the most important characteristic is to keep using an open protocol regardless. It is the protocol that opens up or closes off a network of people. That means look for SIP and USE IT. A popular VoIP program that uses SIP is Ekiga. It is still in the Ubuntu Repositories.

    Skype’s neither open source nor open standards. It is an example of the Microsoft style use of the label ‘open’ for marketing closed products.

    It’s too bad. Canonical and their distro Ubuntu were of to a good start before the Microsofters (Jo and the Mono Guard and Matt and co) started to bend it away from Free and Open Source.

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