Mozilla Responds to the EULA Controversy

Sep 16, 2008

At Mozilla’s request, Ubuntu users are required to read an extensive End-User License Agreement (EULA) before they can use the Firefox browser. The head of the Mozilla Foundation, Mitchell Baker, has responded to the hefty criticism of this plan.

“We (meaning Mozilla) have shot ourselves in the foot,” declares Mozilla Foundation’s Mitchell Baker in the blog in response to the controversy. However, rather than address the license agreement bundling issue, the statement simply claims that the wrong version was used. Truly the content of the EULA had led many contributors to the Ubuntu mailing list to conclude that Mozilla Firefox was no longer free software.

Baker wants to correct this impression. She emphasizes that “yes, the content of the license agreement is wrong. The correct content is clear that the code is governed by FLOSS licenses, not the typical end user license agreement language that is in the current version.” She sees this as a “giant error” that needs immediate correction.

Not only does Baker recognize the fundamental problem, she also sees the importance of how the license is presented and promises further dialogue and to address further concerns on the subject. Another matter is how the services relate to the software and that the FLOSS license should properly address this issue.

Baker once more deflects the fundamental criticism of whether users should even be concerned with the licensing by focusing on content: “Again, if we had the correct content I think this would be less of an issue because then we would be telling people about FLOSS licenses.” During the course of the dialogue, many users had argued that Ubuntu should perhaps go with a different browser.

The result is that Mozilla Corporation’s marketing has fairly much contradicted its corporate mission, to promote and market Mozilla Foundation’s free browser. Baker ends her statement with “We take this very seriously and are working hard to fix it.”

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