EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Beyond Trademarks, Intellectual Monopolies at Canonical Raise Questions

Posted in Debian, Intellectual Monopoly, Ubuntu at 12:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On the shoulders of giants but without shoulders of one’s own

Summary: How Canonical impedes dissemination of work that Ubuntu inherits from other projects, such as Debian and GNU

Linux Mint KDE [1] and Linux Mint Xfce [2] are two examples of Linux Mint releases that widely deviate from Ubuntu, unlike the GNOME (and derivatives like Mate and Cinnamon [3]) version of Linux Mint 16. When there were gentle arguments about security of Linux Mint Clement Lefebvre made it known that Canonical wanted Mint to license Ubuntu binary packages. This angle is being explored again [4] because products like MintBox [5] rely on Canonical giving access to those binaries (otherwise they become less secure). Jim Lynch’s studying of this relies on a bit from DistroWatch that says: “Clem claims he has been asked by Canonical’s legal department to license the binary packages used by Ubuntu. To me this is a scary thought. Ubuntu is a base distribution for many projects, some of them (such as Mint and Kubuntu) are quite successful.

Clement Lefebvre“Clem’s statement makes me wonder if Canonical has approached other open source projects about licensing the right to access Ubuntu’s package repositories. If so, what might follow? Would derivative distributions need to pay to use Canonical’s packages? How would Canonical enforce such a policy, with lawyers, by blocking access to the repositories if a user isn’t using Genuine Ubuntu?”

Should Canonical start signing licences to use Debian packages too? It looks like trademarks are no longer the only type of Intellectual Monopolies we should debate.

Canonical is growing increasingly selfish and isolated, with hardware deals around something called “Ubuntu Touch OS” [6,7,8] (hardly GNU/Linux) and work around Canonical copyrights [9] (Unity). No wonder some people see the “ugly” side [10]. In his latest talks across the UK Richard Stallman was discouraging adoption of Ubuntu by members of the audience.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Mint 16 KDE Edition Release Candidate Uses KDE 4.11

    Clement Lefebvre has announced earlier today, December 8, that the Release Candidate (RC) version of the upcoming Linux Mint 16 KDE Edition operating system is available for download and testing.

  2. Linux Mint Xfce 16 RC “Petra” Still Looks Beautiful and Minimalistic, Download Now
  3. Will Canonical force Linux Mint to license Ubuntu binary packages?
  4. MintBox 2 review – not as fresh, still as minty

    The MintBox 2 is here, and it’s more powerful than ever. Just how much power are you getting for nearly £400 though?

  5. Hey Linux newbie: If you’ve never had a taste, try perfect Petra … mmm, smells like Mint 16

    The recently released Mint 16, nicknamed Petra, might be the perfect Linux desktop for newcomers.

    At its core is Ubuntu 13.10, but on top of this are desktops Mate and Cinnamon, the latter being the Mint project’s homegrown user interface.

  6. Ubuntu Touch OS wins its first smartphone partner

    Canonical has inked its first deal with partner who’ll put the Linux-basd operating system on its phones, founder Mark Shuttleworth reveals.

  7. Report: Ubuntu Touch OS Finally Finds a Smartphone Partner
  8. Canonical Sign First Ubuntu Touch Hardware Partner, ‘High-End Phone’ To Debut in 2014
  9. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Integrate Default Torrent Scope for Unity
  10. Ubuntu 13.10: The good, the bad and the ugly
Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. saulgoode said,

    December 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm


    This is not about licensing the right to access Ubuntu’s package repositories, it is about a distributor of GPLed software being able to reference those repositories as meeting compliance requirements for making the source available.

    The view of the Free Software Foundation is that the requirement is for the distributor of the software to make the source available, or arrange with an agent to handle the task. It is not acceptable for a distro to point to the upstream hosting of source files, nor is it acceptable for one distro to point to the source code repositories of another distro, barring the existence of an agreement between the two distros that such linking is acceptable.

    Canonical/Ubuntu has been somewhat unique with regard to this, as they at one time deemed it acceptable for derivatives to link to Ubuntu’s source repositories and thus avoid the expense and hassle of mirroring sources. I’m not aware of any other distros that have agreed to host sources for their derivatives.

    Nonetheless, Canonical is well within their rights to cancel this agreement and given the popularity and the commercial aspects of the Mint project, it is not unreasonable to expect it to carry its own water, so to speak.

What Else is New

  1. The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'

    Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)

  2. The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO

    With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents

  3. EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)

  4. What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism

    A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)

  5. EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night

    Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment

  6. The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors

    The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation

  7. Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident

    A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

  8. When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles

    A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views

  9. Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires

    Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires

  10. Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

    The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

  11. Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  12. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  13. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  14. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  15. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  16. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  17. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  18. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  19. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  20. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  21. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  22. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  23. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  24. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  25. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  26. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  27. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  28. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  29. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  30. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts