Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Mar 2014 23:33 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

The Mozilla Foundation has begun an investigation after tech juggernaut Dell appeared to be asking customers to pay GBP 16.25 ($27) to install its free web browser Firefox on newly purchased Dell kit.

What.

Order by: Score:
Free Software
by stew on Wed 5th Mar 2014 23:37 UTC
stew
Member since:
2005-07-06

That's what they mean when they say that Free software doesn't mean that it costs nothing.

The person charging money for Free software doesn't need to be the author, it can really be anyone.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Free Software
by panzi on Fri 7th Mar 2014 04:06 UTC in reply to "Free Software"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

The problem: The Firefox trademark is not free (hence Iceweasel).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Free Software
by Ford Prefect on Fri 7th Mar 2014 13:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Free Software"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

The Firefox trademark is free to use when referring to the original software.

You are not allowed to use it for your own software. A patched version of the Firefox codebase is considered your own software. So you either acquire a specific license for the trademark or you cannot use it.

This is the reason for Iceweasel, not money.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by OSbunny
by OSbunny on Wed 5th Mar 2014 23:38 UTC
OSbunny
Member since:
2009-05-23

Don't see what the big deal is. No one is going to work for free. Especially a company that sells computers for <5% net margin. The hardware is usually a loss leader. It is used to bring in customers for the extended warranty and other such services.

Edited 2014-03-05 23:41 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by OSbunny
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 6th Mar 2014 00:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by OSbunny"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, the big deal is that it might not be legal. Dell is distributing firefox without Mozilla's consent. Mozilla has some odd licensing/copyright to kind of prevent or at least profit from this kind of behavior.

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/trademarks/policy/

If you are using the Mozilla Mark(s) for the unaltered binaries you are distributing, you may not charge for that product. By not charging, we mean the Mozilla product must be without cost and its distribution (whether by download or other media) may not be subject to a fee, or tied to subscribing to or purchasing a service, or the collection of personal information.


Edited 2014-03-06 00:36 UTC

Reply Score: 12

RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny
by OSbunny on Thu 6th Mar 2014 02:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by OSbunny"
OSbunny Member since:
2009-05-23

Well that's a shame. I thought it was like the GPL where you can sell it if you want to. Red Hat was built on that.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny
by kwan_e on Thu 6th Mar 2014 05:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

From the licence text that Bill posted, it seems it only applies for selling "Mozilla Marks" - ie, the trademarks and stuff that identify it as being original Mozilla. That would mean if they customized Firefox a la Ice Weasel, then they could avoid that problem.

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 6th Mar 2014 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well that's a shame. I thought it was like the GPL where you can sell it if you want to. Red Hat was built on that.


It is very much like Redhat (well since the RHEL/Fedora split post RedHat Linux 9), where the code is FOSS, but the images and trademarked names of the product are not. Dell can't install RHEL without a RedHat license either.

Edited 2014-03-06 15:26 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny
by Soulbender on Thu 6th Mar 2014 06:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by OSbunny"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Yeah, but they are not distributing the binaries. They are installing the binaries on their own product as a service to the customer.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny
by sj87 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 07:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny"
sj87 Member since:
2007-12-16

And how is that not distributing? They distribute Firefox on the machines they sell. They are separately charging for the installation of Firefox so it's clearly not free.

Reply Score: 8

RE[4]: Comment by OSbunny
by computrius on Thu 6th Mar 2014 17:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny"
computrius Member since:
2006-03-26

Firefox is free. What they are going to say is that they aren't charging for Firefox, they are changing for their technician's time to install it for you.

Edited 2014-03-06 17:30 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by OSbunny
by JLF65 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 19:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by OSbunny"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe, but the licence says they can't do that either.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by OSbunny
by Alfman on Thu 6th Mar 2014 19:30 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by OSbunny"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

JLF65,

Maybe, but the licence says they can't do that either.


I think many people are ignoring this. Maybe they expect Mozilla to look the other way since it's FOSS, but it doesn't mean it's not a violation of Mozilla's terms for it's registered trademark.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny
by hussam on Thu 6th Mar 2014 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by OSbunny"
hussam Member since:
2006-08-17

Well, the big deal is that it might not be legal. Dell is distributing firefox without Mozilla's consent. Mozilla has some odd licensing/copyright to kind of prevent or at least profit from this kind of behavior.

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/trademarks/policy/

"If you are using the Mozilla Mark(s) for the unaltered binaries you are distributing, you may not charge for that product. By not charging, we mean the Mozilla product must be without cost and its distribution (whether by download or other media) may not be subject to a fee, or tied to subscribing to or purchasing a service, or the collection of personal information.
"
Yes. They will probably eventually have to make a deal with Mozilla or use the unofficial branding if they are shipping it with windows. If they offer a service where they "download" from mozilla servers/mirrors and install it for you, then it should not be a problem.

Edited 2014-03-06 17:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny
by HappyGod on Fri 7th Mar 2014 05:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by OSbunny"
HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

Of course it's legal. They are charging you for the labour to install it on the box, not for the software itself.

Just the same as if you wanted a copy of the install media to go with it, they'd charge you for the DVD.

Nothing to see here folks.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny
by robertojdohnert on Fri 7th Mar 2014 15:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by OSbunny"
robertojdohnert Member since:
2005-07-12

All Dell is going to say is that they arent selling the software but rather charging a service fee for the installation which I think is a load of crap, excuse me for my lack of a better term, all this stuff is automated and all it is is a checkmark on the mass installer. This kind of tactic reminds me of MS-DOS and C/PM, where IBM sold MS-DOS for 40 bucks and CP/M for 240 bucks, and said they were letting the market decide.

-------------

Roberto J. Dohnert
Lead Developer
Black Lab Linux
http://www.blacklablinux.org

Reply Score: 0

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Thu 6th Mar 2014 00:37 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Mozilla is investigating why Dell is charging a fee for providing a service? What a waste of time & money on their part. If someone is offering their time for sale to provide you a service, such as installing software, then that's what you're paying for. Dell isn't selling Firefox and nobody is buying it.

Reply Score: 0

Fee for installation, not for the browser
by zlynx on Thu 6th Mar 2014 00:52 UTC
zlynx
Member since:
2005-07-20

Dell's build process is probably automated. So getting someone to go to a particular machine and install non-standard software is going to cost.

I don't see the big deal.

Reply Score: 5

Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Dell's build process is probably automated.


Yup. It'd be pretty difficult to do it at scale in any other way.

So getting someone to go to a particular machine and install non-standard software is going to cost.


Now that doesn't make sense, does it? The build process is automated. That includes the ability to customise an install. There isn't some guy sat at a bench manually downloading & installing Firefox on every single machine. Even if there were, at £16.25 a pop that guy would have to be one of the best paid employees at Dell.

Edited 2014-03-06 11:00 UTC

Reply Score: 8

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Takes effort to update the install tool. Also the cadence of releases of firefox is fast enough that any install tool would be out of date within a few weeks.

Reply Score: 2

Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

So should Dell charge you £16.25 if you want the latest Windows Service Pack installed? After all, just imagine the effort to add those to the installation tool.

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

They don't change nearly as regularly, A service pack comes out maybe once every year, a firefox update is around 6 weeks I believe.

I do think it is far too expensive, but that is the beauty of it, if you don't think it is worth the cash you are given the choice to not have that option.

Edited 2014-03-06 18:30 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

It takes time for someone to make sure the machine is getting the correct image, and it also takes time to create the image for that particular software load out.

Dell will also charge for setting BIOS settings outside of the default, RAID configuration, drive partitioning, setting Power Options, asset tagging, and installing Firefox as part of their "Configuration Services" options. These are customizations that deviate from the norm and slow down their production line.

Bottom line, customizations cost Dell time because of the labor needed to implement, track, and maintain the configurations. They are going to charge for their time, and they have a right to charge for it.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Flatland_Spider,

Dell will also charge for setting BIOS settings outside of the default, RAID configuration, drive partitioning, setting Power Options, asset tagging, and installing Firefox as part of their "Configuration Services" options. These are customizations that deviate from the norm and slow down their production line.


Did you actually go try it? For example on a Dell Precision T7600, I can choose any raid level I want, and even different partition & disk drive options. Configuration doesn't change the price, only adding new software licenses or hardware.

Lots of businesses use automated windows provisioning for inhouse needs, I imagine dell does as well. Why waste a tech's time when they can just automate the install? Just because it takes time for *us* to install it doesn't strictly mean it takes much time for Dell. Even when done manually, 10 minutes (quoted in article) seems much too long.

Edited 2014-03-06 19:26 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Huh?
by dennisma on Thu 6th Mar 2014 01:07 UTC
dennisma
Member since:
2013-12-05

Makes sense that Mozilla would want to question why is Dell charging money.

What I don't understand is WHY would anyone want Dell to install ANYTHING but the base OS and drivers to begin with? I HATE it when OEMs install all that crappy bloatware.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Huh?
by Soulbender on Thu 6th Mar 2014 06:14 UTC in reply to "Huh?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

What I don't understand is WHY would anyone want Dell


You can just cut the rest of that sentence,

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Huh?
by lucas_maximus on Thu 6th Mar 2014 07:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Huh?"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Their business laptops and desktops have always been solid.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Huh?
by Morgan on Thu 6th Mar 2014 11:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Huh?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I have to agree, the Latitude D6xx series were built like tanks. I had two of them, one with Nvidia graphics and one with Intel.

They were also very hobbyist friendly; just about any OS would boot and run on them, and unlike most HP/Compaq machines, they would accept any brand of wireless PCI-E card. I replaced the Broadcom-based card in one of mine with an Atheros, and ended up with 100% open source supported hardware.

Edited 2014-03-06 11:40 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Huh?
by lucas_maximus on Thu 6th Mar 2014 17:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Huh?"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I had a D430 at work until recently. Sold it to a friend of mine and it is still working well.

I ran OpenBSD/FreeBSD/Fedora with almost no issues.

Edited 2014-03-06 17:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Huh?
by henderson101 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 13:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Huh?"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Their business laptops and desktops have always been solid.


Really? Do you have hard figures or is that anecdotal?

My experience has been that Dell use the cheapest parts possible and reliability is not really their key target. I've had 3 Dell laptops die on me (Inspiron 7500 in the mid 2000's, then a D820 and a D830 died with in 3 months due to faulty NVidia chip sets.) Given that I've used other manufacturers in between, those models, more reliable laptops aren't that hard to find from *other* manufacturers.

More bizarre is that you can order 3 of a specific model from Dell, then a week or more another 3, and the actual hardware delivered could be drastically different. Back in the 2000's company I worked for used the Inspiron 7500 for field developer machines, and pretty much every replacement machine we got was vastly different from the previous batch. From the screen size to the actual ports. It was truly a crap shoot as to what they actually delivered.

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: Huh?
by MOS6510 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Huh?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I think this has become less of an issue with Dell, the changing of internal components. What does happen is that you order desktop type X and when you want another X they no longer offer it.

Dell used to be very good at getting components for the right price and putting them in their machines. So if a component from another supplier became cheaper they'd just switch while they kept selling a PC with the same model number as a week earlier.

They do sell these long support computers where you are guaranteed you can get spare parts for well, a long time.

We've been doing business with Dell for some time and they are moving in the right direction. They've bought a number of companies/products to expand their portfolio and are no longer a company that is only good at building cheap PCs.

Sent from my Dell XPS 15 laptop.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Huh?
by lucas_maximus on Thu 6th Mar 2014 16:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Huh?"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

The important word was business. I don't like their consumer kit, but their business kit has been solid.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Huh?
by Alfman on Thu 6th Mar 2014 17:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Huh?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

The important word was business. I don't like their consumer kit, but their business kit has been solid.


Ditto.

I won't buy consumer gear from them anymore. I've gone through hell in dealing with Dell's totally incompetent consumer products division. However the server gear been solid been for me. I buy used Dell servers off of ebay because they're plentiful and exceptionally well built. It would take serious abuse to break one.

I wouldn't mind trying out HP's server products, but their ILO licensing is a deal breaker and frankly I've had no compelling reasons to switch in the 15 years I've been working with Dell servers (other than retaliation for terrible experience on the consumer end).

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Huh?
by henderson101 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 17:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Huh?"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Why would the kit I'm talking about not be for business? We had a business account manager at Dell etc handling the purchasing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Huh?
by hobgoblin on Sun 9th Mar 2014 14:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Huh?"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

This pretty much sums up the personal computer market.

The consumer models are rarely worth it, unless we are talking something off the gaming range.

the business ranges however will likely be rock solid no matter the brand (bar the odd production fluke from some supplier).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Huh?
by Flatland_Spider on Thu 6th Mar 2014 18:05 UTC in reply to "Huh?"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Dell's don't have a lot of bloatware. The stuff they install is either driver related or actually useful, at least on their Latitude and Precision lines. I don't have much experience with their Inspiron lines.

Reply Score: 2

Service
by Jbso on Thu 6th Mar 2014 01:54 UTC
Jbso
Member since:
2013-01-05

It's charging for a service, like when the non-tech-savvy pay someone to reinstall Windows for them when they bork it. Nothing illegal or even, in my opinion, unethical. It's certainly a poor value, however. Who wants an alternative to IE (or knows there are alternatives) but doesn't know how to install one themselves?

I guess there could be trademark issues in how it's presented (if it sounds like paying for Firefox rather than for the service).

Reply Score: 4

RE: Service
by OSbunny on Thu 6th Mar 2014 02:17 UTC in reply to "Service"
OSbunny Member since:
2009-05-23

Who wants an alternative to IE (or knows there are alternatives) but doesn't know how to install one themselves?


Firefox went mainstream ages ago. So yeah people who don't know shit about computers use it too.

Reply Score: 5

The real question here is ...
by Jondice on Thu 6th Mar 2014 04:47 UTC
Jondice
Member since:
2006-09-20

who knows enough about computers to want to install an alternative browser but not enough to do it themselves?

EDIT: nvm, I see someone else had this same thought already ;)

Edited 2014-03-06 04:49 UTC

Reply Score: 3

The "source"
by Soulbender on Thu 6th Mar 2014 05:58 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

obviously have no idea what he/she is talking about. Nowhere in the MPL does it state that you may not charge for the service of installing Firefox.e

Heck, lets see what the LGPL (what much of the Firefox code is using) says:
"You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee."

Incredibly bad value for money? Sure.
License violation? No.

Edited 2014-03-06 06:13 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: The "source"
by sj87 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 07:47 UTC in reply to "The "source""
sj87 Member since:
2007-12-16

This has nothing to do with LGPL so it's irrelevant to quote it. Mozilla does not give away its trademarked logos with LGPL, they are under a separate license. That particular license states it's not allowed to sell Firefox (the Mozilla-branded browser).

Sure, Dell will most certainly argue they are not selling but simply charging for a service. That's all LEGAL JARGON and Mozilla department will of course investigate if it should be seen like that or not.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: The "source"
by cdude on Thu 6th Mar 2014 10:22 UTC in reply to "RE: The "source""
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

and as this case shows its good they do that. Users may left with the impression Firefox isn't free while e.g. IE is and then not even try to get Firefox from somewhere else what hurts the brand. Dell should rename and rebrand to "Dell's Browser" so users not end believing the $20 are for Firefox while they are, in fact, for Dell.

Imagine another scenario where Dell bundles the Ask-toolbar and distributes it as Firefox. Thats not okay either because users would hate Firefox, not Dell, for that till they know its Dell's innovation whats totaly invisible, as in not written anywhere at all, in this "offer".

Dell needs to make clear its there offer, and only theres, not Mozilla's so users know who gets that $20 and that this offer is different from what you get at firefox.org.

Edited 2014-03-06 10:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: The "source"
by Soulbender on Thu 6th Mar 2014 14:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The "source""
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Dell should rename and rebrand to "Dell's Browser" so users not end believing the $20 are for Firefox while they are, in fact, for Dell.


Actua;ly, all they have to do is change the worlding to something like:
"Fee for installation of Firefox browser"

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: The "source"
by JLF65 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 19:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The "source""
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Except as mentioned several times, Mozilla's license for trademarked images and names forbids charging a fee for ANY reason, be it the software, installation, or upkeep.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The "source"
by cdude on Thu 6th Mar 2014 20:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The "source""
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

You probably mean "Dell's installation service for Mozilla firefox browser ($n)" since it needs to be clear what you buy from who. You not buy from Mozilla, since they never see the money, and you not pay for firefox, because thats for free, but for Dell's installation service which happens to install firefox, in this case.

Assuming that Firefox-install.exe was not modified and that Dell makes clear what you buy from who its legal to do so, I think also for Mozilla's trademark policy, because then its clear they not charge for Mozilla Firefox but for the Dell Installation Service on top. Then customers may notice that Dell asks for insane $30 for a one-time download and a 2-line program that starts the Mozilla Firefox Installer afterwards (assuming here they don't just give instructions like "Now execute the setup.exe" after download).

Edited 2014-03-06 20:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: The "source"
by cdude on Thu 6th Mar 2014 20:53 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The "source""
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

Reading the linked article again it could also mean Dell's installation service is to pre-install the Mozilla Firefox browser on a new PC purchase. If that's the case why don't they write it? It means customers can skip the IE "experience" and IE will lose long term its stand as most used browser to download other browsers :-)

Hopefully this service comes in future, not only for browsers but also OS's, for any PC purchase. Ideally with more realistic price-tags.

Edited 2014-03-06 21:00 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: The "source"
by zima on Wed 12th Mar 2014 23:32 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The "source""
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

You not buy from Mozilla, since they never see the money, and you not pay for firefox [...] then its clear they not charge for Mozilla Firefox

Also, "not" is not a substitute for "don't".

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The "source"
by zima on Wed 12th Mar 2014 16:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The "source""
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Dell needs to make clear its there offer, and only theres

When will you finally learn the difference between "there" and "their"?

Edited 2014-03-12 16:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: The "source"
by ddc_ on Thu 6th Mar 2014 10:42 UTC in reply to "The "source""
ddc_ Member since:
2006-12-05

Incredibly bad value for money? Sure.
License violation? No.

Sure it's not license violation – It is trademark terms of use violation. If Dell was selling IceWeasel or whatever else unbranded Firefox build, there would be no legal problem. In Mozilla's own words:
For example, it's OK if your website says, "Internet browser customization services for Firefox available here." It's not OK, though, if it says, "Firefox Internet browser customization services sold here," or "custom Firefox Internet browsers available here," since the first suggests that Mozilla is related to your business, and the second is confusing as to whom -- you or Mozilla -- performed the customization.

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/trademarks/policy/

That is: Dell does something explicitly disallowed by Mozilla's trademark policy.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: The "source"
by Soulbender on Thu 6th Mar 2014 14:15 UTC in reply to "RE: The "source""
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

So basically the problem is not that they charge for it, the problem is the wording. Change the wording and charging an exorbitant amount is perfectly fine.

Edited 2014-03-06 14:16 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: The "source"
by JLF65 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The "source""
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Change the wording AND all names and images in the product itself, like IceWeasel does. So any reference to Mozilla or Firefox would be changed to Dell and Funky Expensive Free Browser, and all icons and images changed to new ones.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The "source"
by umccullough on Thu 6th Mar 2014 22:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The "source""
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Change the wording AND all names and images in the product itself, like IceWeasel does. So any reference to Mozilla or Firefox would be changed to Dell and Funky Expensive Free Browser, and all icons and images changed to new ones.


They shouldn't have to - there are fair uses for trademarks as well, and I suspect this will be found to be one of them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The "source"
by umccullough on Fri 7th Mar 2014 01:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The "source""
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

"Change the wording AND all names and images in the product itself, like IceWeasel does. So any reference to Mozilla or Firefox would be changed to Dell and Funky Expensive Free Browser, and all icons and images changed to new ones.


They shouldn't have to - there are fair uses for trademarks as well, and I suspect this will be found to be one of them.
"

And for the idiot that mod'd me down - you clearly don't understand what mozilla's trademark guidelines represent. IceWeasel was named as such because it was a modified version of Firefox, rebuilt by the Debian maintainers. It was not a simple redistribution of the official binaries like Dell is doing here.

Trademark law is not strong enough to prevent someone from reselling or redistributing what they have legally obtained. If that was the case, I assure you that software companies would be using trademark law to prevent reselling used copies of their products.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The "source"
by umccullough on Thu 6th Mar 2014 22:20 UTC in reply to "RE: The "source""
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

That is: Dell does something explicitly disallowed by Mozilla's trademark policy.


I suspect Dell will argue that it's fair use of the trademark in this case since they are not selling the software, but the service of installing it.

I also suspect Dell will end up changing this so that the "charge" is clearly indicated as a "customized software installation" charge rather than for Firefox itself.

I've "charged" people to install Firefox before - well, similar to this. If I go to a business and install Firefox on 10 computers, I'm going to charge them for the time it takes me to do so.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: The "source"
by Alfman on Thu 6th Mar 2014 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The "source""
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

umccullough,

I've "charged" people to install Firefox before - well, similar to this. If I go to a business and install Firefox on 10 computers, I'm going to charge them for the time it takes me to do so.


That's funny, I'm surprised a business would pay consultants to do that. Regardless, there's still a difference in that you (edit: probably) weren't actually distributing firefox yourself, whereas Dell is.


I also suspect Dell will end up changing this so that the "charge" is clearly indicated as a "customized software installation" charge rather than for Firefox itself.


I don't believe Dell would continue distributing Firefox for a fee against Mozilla's wishes should Mozilla ask them to stop. I predict they'll either stop charging a fee, or stop distributing it.

Well either way, this is a bit of a rhetorical debate as none of us are really going to be the least bit impacted by it. I find it humorous that this trivial little article has 77 comments and counting ;)

Edited 2014-03-06 23:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The "source"
by umccullough on Fri 7th Mar 2014 01:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The "source""
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26


"I've "charged" people to install Firefox before - well, similar to this. If I go to a business and install Firefox on 10 computers, I'm going to charge them for the time it takes me to do so.


That's funny, I'm surprised a business would pay consultants to do that. Regardless, there's still a difference in that you (edit: probably) weren't actually distributing firefox yourself, whereas Dell is.
"

Well, said service starts with: "Our machines are showing popups and we think they're infected with viruses!".

And the services rendered usually include installation of Chrome and/or Firefox as the default browser.

To be clear, if someone called me and said: "I want to install firefox", I would not run down there and charge them for the privilege of doing it for them, but I would certainly count it toward any time I spend working on their machines. Just like Dell would likely charge for additional time spent configuring a computer being built for one of their customers.

Reply Score: 2

What about...
by malxau on Thu 6th Mar 2014 08:24 UTC
malxau
Member since:
2005-12-04

...if I buy Red Hat/Solaris, and they distribute Firefox? Or if I buy a magazine with a cover disc? Or if I buy media from the Ubuntu store?

I don't know if Mozilla can stop this or not, but I'm struggling to find the difference between Dell and the rest; and I doubt that it's really in Mozilla's interests to prevent all of that distribution.

Reply Score: 3

RE: What about...
by henderson101 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 13:15 UTC in reply to "What about..."
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

...if I buy Red Hat/Solaris, and they distribute Firefox?


Do they charge a specific fee to install Firefox? I doubt it.

Or if I buy a magazine with a cover disc?


Would the magazine's cover price change if they didn't include Firefox? I doubt it. A lot of magazines specifically get licenses or agreements from the likes of Mozilla to allow them to distribute the software on their cover disks. They don't usually just have an intern downloading random apps from the internet and then directly creating an image for burning the Cover disks.

Or if I buy media from the Ubuntu store?


Are they explicitly charging for Firefox, or the physical media to be created? Again, they likely have an agreement, or just don't do that.

I don't know if Mozilla can stop this or not, but I'm struggling to find the difference between Dell and the rest; and I doubt that it's really in Mozilla's interests to prevent all of that distribution.


Mostly, probably not. If a piece of Mozilla software is included in a piece of media, but the media is specifically charging for the application, I doubt it's an issue. But then INAL. But what Dell is doing here is fairly different, isn't it? They are specifically charging for the software to be installed. If they put Firefox on a CD that is included as part of the package, they'd probably get away with it.

Reply Score: 4

Gee
by RshPL on Thu 6th Mar 2014 10:39 UTC
RshPL
Member since:
2009-03-13

That is a common thing to charge lots of money for simplest IT services. I have seen much much worse prices at any random local IT store. Time = money and I bet nobody fancies doing 1000 installations of Firefox per day so the price has to be detrimental. Better complain about parking space pricing.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Gee
by zima on Sat 8th Mar 2014 15:12 UTC in reply to "Gee"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Better complain about parking space pricing.

Parking space pricing is specifically designed, in most cities, to dissuade people from using cars (there simply isn't enough room for all of them), the pricing won't ever go down.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Fergy
by Fergy on Thu 6th Mar 2014 10:50 UTC
Fergy
Member since:
2006-04-10

I never knew there were so much evil/stupid persons on OSnews.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Fergy
by RshPL on Thu 6th Mar 2014 11:04 UTC in reply to "Comment by Fergy"
RshPL Member since:
2009-03-13

Prices match demand and supply ... there is no evil agenda as you are not forced to neither use Firefox nor pay for its installation.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Fergy
by kwan_e on Thu 6th Mar 2014 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Fergy"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I'm pretty sure scamming people out of money by taking advantage of their ignorance is kind of evil. But then again, people like me tend to have stricter standards.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by Fergy
by RshPL on Thu 6th Mar 2014 13:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Fergy"
RshPL Member since:
2009-03-13

Scamming is evil but providing a specific service for specific value is hardly a scam. Take luxury goods, they are very often severely overpriced ... as most often people can install Firefox themselves it is a kind of luxury.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Fergy
by lucas_maximus on Thu 6th Mar 2014 16:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Fergy"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

How are they being scammed?

The wording is quite clear, you pay for Dell to install Firefox for you. Yes it is expensive and IMHO unnecessary but it isn't a scam.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Fergy
by kwan_e on Thu 6th Mar 2014 22:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Fergy"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

How are they being scammed?


It seems you and RshPL have reading problems. See, this is what I wrote:

"I'm pretty sure scamming people out of money by taking advantage of their ignorance"

It seems you two just read this:

"I'm pretty sure scamming people out of money"

But if you included this part of the original sentence:

"by taking advantage of their ignorance"

Which qualifies as the EXPLANATION of why I use the word scam. In fact, a scam is pretty much taking advantage of someone's ignorance and so I was actually redundant and so you two really should have figured it out on your own purely from the word "scam".

The ignorance they are taking advantage of is obviously their ignorance of how to install a browser. That knowledge is not really specialized and easily remedied by providing a simple link without payment. Therefore to take advantage of it by charging money is by definition a scam. Just because you can do it doesn't mean it's ethical or moral. Or, maybe it is ethical and/or moral, but, as I said, some people have better standards of ethics/morals than the absolute baseline that you accept.

And this line of reasoning that "hey I'm just providing a service" is precisely the same twisted reasoning that scammers use to excuse their behaviour. So it really says something about the people who use it in defence of this scam.

Is it a person's fault, especially in this case, that they're ignorant? Possibly. Does that mean you HAVE to take advantage of their ignorance? No. And if you don't HAVE to do take advantage of that ignorance, and there doesn't seem to be a legal obligation for them to provide this service, then that is pretty scummy, if not scammy, behaviour. But it is scammy because that's the practice the word is created for.

Edited 2014-03-06 22:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Fergy
by lucas_maximus on Fri 7th Mar 2014 09:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Fergy"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

There is no scam, therefore they cannot be scammed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Fergy
by kwan_e on Fri 7th Mar 2014 13:15 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Fergy"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

It is a scam.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by Fergy
by lucas_maximus on Fri 7th Mar 2014 18:19 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Fergy"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I disagree

Reply Score: 2

On Dell's side
by jessesmith on Thu 6th Mar 2014 12:28 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

This seems to be a pretty clear case. Dell is offering a service and charging customers a small fee for it. There is nothing here which would violate Mozilla's copyright or trademark. If you paid a tech to come to your home and install Firefox for you it would probably cost more than what Dell is charging. Seems Dell has found a way to give their customers a better web experience and make a little money from it. I don't see what the problem is. Everyone here wins. The customer gets a better browser, Dell pockets some money and Firefox's userbase increases. There is no victim and no violation of license.

Think of it this way, if Mozilla complains about Dell offering to install Firefox, then that means Mozilla should also be going after individual techs who install Firefox as part of their services or Linux distributions who supply Firefox in their repositories.

Reply Score: 6

RE: On Dell's side
by henderson101 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 13:17 UTC in reply to "On Dell's side"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

There is nothing here which would violate Mozilla's copyright or trademark...


..apart from the fact Mozilla specifically prohibits any charges for redistributing the Mozilla branded software. That part probably isn't helping Dell's case much.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: On Dell's side
by RshPL on Thu 6th Mar 2014 13:51 UTC in reply to "RE: On Dell's side"
RshPL Member since:
2009-03-13

That's easy to circumvent. You do not charge for the redistribution part but for the time of the human worker.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: On Dell's side
by lucas_maximus on Thu 6th Mar 2014 18:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: On Dell's side"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Which is what Dell are charging for.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: On Dell's side
by JLF65 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 19:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: On Dell's side"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Which is still against Mozilla's license for Firefox.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: On Dell's side
by jessesmith on Thu 6th Mar 2014 20:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: On Dell's side"
jessesmith Member since:
2010-03-11

It is not. I just read through their trademark license and there is nothing preventing anyone from performing an installation service (for a fee), so long as the binary files are not altered. This is a pretty clear cut legal issue, assuming Dell is offering to install Firefox from the Mozilla repositories and is not offering to actually sell the browser , they are perfectly within the limits of the license.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: On Dell's side
by Alfman on Thu 6th Mar 2014 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: On Dell's side"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

jessesmith,

It is not. I just read through their trademark license and there is nothing preventing anyone from performing an installation service (for a fee)


What is your source for that information?

When I go to Help -> About -> End User Rights
"You are not granted any trademark rights or licenses to the trademarks of the Mozilla Foundation or any party, including without limitation the Firefox name or logo. Additional information on trademarks may be found here."

"Here" is a link which goes to:

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/trademarks/policy/

If you are using the Mozilla Mark(s) for the unaltered binaries you are distributing, you may not charge for that product. By not charging, we mean the Mozilla product must be without cost and its distribution (whether by download or other media) may not be subject to a fee, or tied to subscribing to or purchasing a service, or the collection of personal information. If you want to sell the product, you may do so, but you must call that product by another name—one unrelated to Mozilla or any of the Mozilla Marks (see the sections on "Modifications" and "Related Software" below). Remember that we do not want the public to be confused.



Mozilla is well within it's rights to deny use of it's trademarks to anyone at all for any reason whatsoever. I don't see how Dell has much of a leg to stand on.

Maybe the confusion is coming from the copyrights under the MPL (which doesn't prohibit reselling the software) versus the rights related to Mozilla's trademark.

Reply Score: 3

Yeah.. and?
by vtpoet on Thu 6th Mar 2014 13:07 UTC
vtpoet
Member since:
2013-12-31

My vote's with those who say they're charging for a service. Why not? Heck, if someone is weighed down with *that* much spare cash in their wallet that they can't be bothered to install the software themselves, I think it's only nice and polite to help them lighten the load. I think it's a beautiful model.

Dell should start selling laptops without Windows and then charge to install it. Duh. There's a huge source of revenue right there. Frankly, the sky's the limit.

Would you like your laptop shipped with the lid open or closed? We charge for that too. Please select...

Reply Score: 6

Simple case
by Lava_Croft on Thu 6th Mar 2014 15:25 UTC
Lava_Croft
Member since:
2006-12-24

Dell is using the Mozilla trademark in order to leech some more money off of their customers, while giving the impression that Firefox costs money in the process.

Good work.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Simple case
by ilovebeer on Thu 6th Mar 2014 16:16 UTC in reply to "Simple case"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Dell is using the Mozilla trademark in order to leech some more money off of their customers, while giving the impression that Firefox costs money in the process.

Good work.

They are not giving the impression that Firefox costs money. They're clearly selling an optional "installation service", making no reference of any kind to any cost for Firefox itself. That's a leap you're making based on nothing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Simple case
by Lava_Croft on Thu 6th Mar 2014 17:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Simple case"
Lava_Croft Member since:
2006-12-24

Basic marketing, it creates a link between Firefox and added cost.

The Windows browser is free, right?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Simple case
by ilovebeer on Thu 6th Mar 2014 18:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple case"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Basic marketing, it creates a link between Firefox and added cost.

Only if you completely ignore the fact they say very directly the fee is for a service. The only link to cost is that service. No basic marketing here, only basic comprehension or the lack of.

While I see no confusion what-so-ever in what they're selling, further clarification may indeed help those who aren't quite `up to speed`.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Simple case
by JLF65 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 19:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple case"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

His point is that the user sees this: Windows comes with a free browser, but to use Firefox he must pay a fee. No matter WHO gets the money, Firefox is not free to him, and it sours his opinion of Firefox, not Dell.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Simple case
by ilovebeer on Thu 6th Mar 2014 22:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Simple case"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

His point is that the user sees this: Windows comes with a free browser, but to use Firefox he must pay a fee. No matter WHO gets the money, Firefox is not free to him, and it sours his opinion of Firefox, not Dell.

I'm a user and did not see that at all because nowhere does it say or imply the user is paying a fee for or to use Firefox. Dell's wording explicit states the fee is for an "installation service". They are not scamming or being deceptive in any way. If people insist on being as stupid as you described, maybe as a courtesy Dell should add, "FIREFOX IS FREELY AVAILABLE. YOU ARE NOT PAYING US FOR IT OR TO USE IT. YOU ARE PAYING US TO INSTALL IT FOR YOU RATHER THAN DOING IT YOURSELF." ...in other words, offering to sell you an "installation service".

Reply Score: 3

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 15:44 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

Isn't Windows supposed to ask which browser you prefer anyway?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Alfman on Thu 6th Mar 2014 16:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

MOS6510,

Isn't Windows supposed to ask which browser you prefer anyway?


No US versions never had this.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Thu 6th Mar 2014 17:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

The story started in the UK it seems, although it's always hard to tell if that's Europe or not as that tends to change depending on the subject.

Reply Score: 3

It's all about context
by drcoldfoot on Thu 6th Mar 2014 16:41 UTC
drcoldfoot
Member since:
2006-08-25

I believe that Dell is charging for the "Installation" of the software. Not that I agree with this alleged tactic, but as in cars, the ignorant will be charged.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Dr-ROX
by Dr-ROX on Thu 6th Mar 2014 17:25 UTC
Dr-ROX
Member since:
2006-01-03

Well, if they are officially installing software, there are some resources required to install it and more - they need to add Firefox support to their base system. So there might be users that have issues with Firefox and they will be calling Dell asking for help. This introduces cost.

Reply Score: 2

What a rip-off
by RocRizzo on Thu 6th Mar 2014 18:17 UTC
RocRizzo
Member since:
2014-03-06

That amounts to about $7 per mouse click.
I wish I got paid that much!

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

They aren't charging for the software they are charging or the service of installation.

I don't even know how Mozilla can make a statement about investigating it with a straight face.

A lot of IT shops charge for program installation and configuration. The program cost is additional to the charge of installation. Dell is doing no different.

Yes it seems expensive, but you are also free not to check the checkbox on the website.

I don't even understand why this is considered an issue.

Reply Score: 2

franksands Member since:
2009-08-18

They are charging for the distribution of the software. Something that clearly violates Mozilla terms of service.

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Only if you re-define what distribution means.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

lucas_maximus,
"Only if you re-define what distribution means."

What? You don't have to redefine anything. Dell are clearly distributing. And Mozilla clearly states that one may not tack on a distribution or service fee to do so UNLESS they cease using mozilla's trademarks. Bill Shooter of Bul linked this policy back in post #3. I have no idea why so many posters keep ignoring this...

Edited 2014-03-07 10:58 UTC

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

They are installing it, not distributing it.

Reply Score: 0

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

lucas_maximus,

They are installing it, not distributing it.



I think you are the one who's redefining distribution. Dell are an OEM, distribution of hardware & bundled software is *exactly* what they do. The consumer did not get FF from Mozilla, ergo it was Dell who redistributed it. You can argue that Dell should be allowed to do it, however this argument that Dell is not distributing firefox is weak. Furthermore if such an interpretation were allowed to stand, it would have bizarre ramifications for distribution in other contexts.


"I object to the allegations your honer, my client's bong store did NOT distribute that marijuana, they merely installed a free 3rd party trial sample on behalf of the buyer for a fee."

- Obviously I'm joking, I think this thread needs some comedic relief!

Edited 2014-03-07 14:18 UTC

Reply Score: 4

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

They are charging for someone to install it, far too much maybe. But that is a service not distribution, simple as.

Reply Score: 2

franksands Member since:
2009-08-18

Their are delivering a computer with a software installed. How is that not distribution?

Reply Score: 2

oskeladden Member since:
2009-08-05

Yes, and Mozilla's guidelines are quite clear on charging for services.

You must provide a prominent statement that (i) the Mozilla product is available for free and link directly to our site; (ii) the purchase, download, or acquisition of your service is separate from the download of the Mozilla product; and (iii) your service is not affiliated with Mozilla.


Dell's terminology arguably satisfies (ii), but there's no way it satisfies (i). As things stand, they simply don't have a case. This doesn't mean they can't charge £16.75, or even £16,750,000 if they want - they can, but they WILL have to make it clear on their configurator that the end user can download and install Firefox for free themselves, without paying for Dell's installation service.

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Then they should put in the appropriate link.

Edited 2014-03-07 12:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

oskeladden Member since:
2009-08-05

Then they should put in the appropriate link.


Precisely. Given how absurdly simple it would be to comply, the fact that they aren't doing so - even after having their non-compliance pointed out to them - raises legitimate questions as to their bona fides.

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Looks like a basic cockup, rather than some massive consipiracy.

Reply Score: 2

$27 Install Fee
by hackus on Fri 7th Mar 2014 00:22 UTC
hackus
Member since:
2006-06-28

I will do it for $20.

If you buy me lunch, I will throw in a short training session which shows you how to add a bookmark.

:-)

Edited 2014-03-07 00:23 UTC

Reply Score: 3

The $500 Slice
by danger_nakamura on Fri 7th Mar 2014 08:53 UTC
danger_nakamura
Member since:
2011-06-21

Dell may or may not be legally permitted to their actions - I'll leave that to the courts. That's not what this comment is about.

I have a brother that works for a pizza shop. We enjoy conversation and one evening our conversation turned to the question of The $500 slice. He had expressed some opinions similar to those offered by some in these comments. The $500 slice was a mental exercise to explore the problem.

I advised him that the next day he should select a plain slice, any slice, from one of the pies and display it separately. This would be the $500 slice. He could even display it on a fancy dish if he liked. Anyone that asked about this lone, specially displayed slice would be informed that it was the $500 slice.

The slice could be rotated for freshness (after all, one would expect a $500 slice to be fresh!) but could not be eaten by anyone unless purchased. If unsold it had to be discarded.

Crucial to the discussion was my insistence that he must make no other claims regarding the slice, even in the face of interrogation. He could not say that it was special, or tell a story about it, or say that it was lucky. He could not say that it would help you grow hair, curry favour with the gods or even make you happy.

All he could state was the facts. That was the $500 slice and if someone wanted that slice they would have to pay $500 first. He would then offer to serve them any other slice they wished for the going rate. The only claim that he would be permitted to make, if questioned as to what was special about that slice was as follows:

"Nothing, except that if you want to have the experience of eating a $500 slice of pizza, to know what that is like, you will have to buy it."

At the conclusion of this exposition, I defied him to describe, in detail, precisely what was unethical about my suggestion. He struggled. My brother has an extremely healthy sense of fair play and ethical behaviour. He wanted to find something wrong with the situation.

But one of the reasons that I enjoy talking to my brother as much as I do is that he has an equally strong commitment to what he sees as the truth. I have met few people so wonderfully gifted with an inherent lack of sophistry. And so he felt compelled to tell me, given his deep respect for individual choice, that he could find nothing wrong.

As I read through this thread I was astounded and appalled at the amount of self-righteous, "well meaning" pure arrogance in some of the comments. Of course, the comment authors would never see themselves as arrogant. They are the champions of the weak minded. The poor, stupid fools. Or as I would prefer to call it, those with different priorities and preferences than themselves.

On reading the article, they immediately cast the story through the lens of their own arrogance. They are comfortable with computers, they know how to install a browser. They would never pay one red cent for such a "service." Well neither would I. But to imply that anyone that would is stupid and must be protected from themselves betrays their own contempt for others and their opposition to personal choice.

If you try hard enough you can reduce just about any service offered in the world to a "scam" by the definition offered in the above threads. Luxury goods - anything that costs more than the materials used to make it - "scams." After a while the word ceases to have any discernible meaning whatsoever.

Why such a long comment for such a small issue? Seems like an overkill. But while the acute issue is a small one it is symptomatic of a disease that poisons the world. The erosion of personal choice - the invasion of self appointed nannies to every walk of life. The lack of appreciation for those with different values, priorities and outlooks. And perhaps worst of all, the subtle and often not-so-subtle implication that people aren't responsible for their own actions.

Reply Score: 1

RE: The $500 Slice
by allanregistos on Sat 8th Mar 2014 05:10 UTC in reply to "The $500 Slice"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

Dell may or may not be legally permitted to their actions - I'll leave that to the courts.
That's not what this comment is about.

As one commenter posted above, Dell's offer of service is not legal, if you read Mozilla's term, but yes, it needs a court trial to confirm that the act is illegal.
I have a brother that works for a pizza shop. We enjoy conversation and one evening our conversation turned to the question of The $500 slice. He had expressed some opinions similar to those offered by some in these comments. The $500 slice was a mental exercise to explore the problem.

I advised him that the next day he should select a plain slice, any slice, from one of the pies and display it separately. This would be the $500 slice. He could even display it on a fancy dish if he liked. Anyone that asked about this lone, specially displayed slice would be informed that it was the $500 slice.

The slice could be rotated for freshness (after all, one would expect a $500 slice to be fresh!) but could not be eaten by anyone unless purchased. If unsold it had to be discarded.

Crucial to the discussion was my insistence that he must make no other claims regarding the slice, even in the face of interrogation.
He could not say that it was special, or tell a story about it, or say that it was lucky. He could not say that it would help you grow hair, curry favour with the gods or even make you happy.

I think the issue here, If I understood you correctly, is your self-imposed restriction to him that he can't make other claims other than it is a $500 slice. Customer have the _right_ to know why it was valued $500. Or in the case of Dell's buyer, the curious buyer could ask Dell why it offers 'Mozilla Firefox' for a fee, given that Firefox is not a product of Dell. This buyer's concern is legitimate. In your discussion with your brother, he worked for a pizza shop, and it can be presumed that your brother owned the whole Pizza or he bought it for a few dollars and then decided that he should create a $500 slice from it. This is not the case of Dell's offered installation fee of Mozilla Firefox.

All he could state was the facts.
That was the $500 slice and if someone wanted that slice they would have to pay $500 first. He would then offer to serve them any other slice they wished for the going rate. The only claim that he would be permitted to make, if questioned as to what was special about that slice was as follows:

"Nothing, except that if you want to have the experience of eating a $500 slice of pizza, to know what that is like, you will have to buy it."

Of course, we could sell anything we own at the price we are comfortable with, but the main issue here is the "motive" why are you selling at that point? For what motive? At a loss or at a gain? Trying to compete with the pricing among competitors? Or just you want your competitors to go bankrupt. Many companies becomes unethical when it comes to profit. Your imposed restrictions to your brother is one example used to demonstrate the effectiveness of hiding something. It's a trade secret they say.

At the conclusion of this exposition, I defied him to describe, in detail, precisely what was unethical about my suggestion. He struggled. My brother has an extremely healthy sense of fair play and ethical behavior. He wanted to find something wrong with the situation.

But one of the reasons that I enjoy talking to my brother as much as I do is that he has an equally strong commitment to what he sees as the truth. I have met few people so wonderfully gifted with an inherent lack of sophistry. And so he felt compelled to tell me, given his deep respect for individual choice, that he could find nothing wrong.
I did. Your brother could have meet a poor customer with only a penny and your brother offered him the experience of eating a slice of pizza pie worth $500. Remember your restriction, the poor can only experience it if he is going to buy it at the price, nothing more, nothing less. In the perfect world, you could not imagine that there are poor people, yet this is not a perfect world, and I understand that your conversation happened in a near perfect world(first world country) where almost nobody are poor and that is why he could not tell you what was wrong with your $500 slice of pizza pie mind exercise. That's also the reason MS' software was heavily pirated in developing countries for the same reason: Many Software companies cannot and are unable to determine if they are selling their pizza to poor customers, so instead of lowering the price, they were still selling them at the premium the same with what their eyes are familiar with, rich customers. So instead of buying that pizza, a poor customer out of his own need and hunger grab the $500 slice of pizza and ran away without paying a dime.

As I read through this thread I was astounded and appalled at the amount of self-righteous, "well meaning" pure arrogance in some of the comments. Of course, the comment authors would never see themselves as arrogant. They are the champions of the weak minded. The poor, stupid fools. Or as I would prefer to call it, those with different priorities and preferences than themselves.
What a bold statements. Who says, the poor and the stupid fools? What's the context or meaning of this passage, when Jesus said:
Matt 5:22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.


On reading the article, they immediately cast the story through the lens of their own arrogance. They are comfortable with computers, they know how to install a browser. They would never pay one red cent for such a "service." Well neither would I. But to imply that anyone that would is stupid and must be protected from themselves betrays their own contempt for others and their opposition to personal choice.

It appears that you are defending Dell in contradiction to your first paragraph above. Dell's personal choice was in direct conflict with Mozilla's personal choice on how their product be distributed. So let us honor first the personal choice of the owner of the $500 dollar slice of pizza since he exclusively owned the Pizza product. Dell is not the owner of Mozilla Firefox and not in any way affiliated with the Mozilla Foundation, so people have the _moral_ obligation to question it since he is selling the name "Mozilla Firefox" to the buyer without asking permission from the owner.

Would you let me steal and grab your brother's Pizza and I will sell it for $1000?

If you try hard enough you can reduce just about any service offered in the world to a "scam" by the definition offered in the above threads. Luxury goods - anything that costs more than the materials used to make it - "scams." After a while the word ceases to have any discernible meaning whatsoever.

Why such a long comment for such a small issue? Seems like an overkill. But while the acute issue is a small one it is symptomatic of a disease that poisons the world. The erosion of personal choice - the invasion of self appointed nannies to every walk of life. The lack of appreciation for those with different values, priorities and outlooks. And perhaps worst of all, the subtle and often not-so-subtle implication that people aren't responsible for their own actions.

I appreciate the sense of your last two paragraphs, but I just don't agree the moral lessons you have of the conversation with your brother.

Regards.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: The $500 Slice
by allanregistos on Sat 8th Mar 2014 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE: The $500 Slice"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

Firefox and not in any way affiliated with the Mozilla Foundation, so people have the _moral_ obligation to question it since -he- Dell is selling the name "Mozilla Firefox" to the buyer without asking permission from the owner.


I might be wrong in my wordings here.. Dell is offering an installation service fee for installing Firefox. Their is a clear distinction between selling a service against selling the product itself. It could be that Dell is charging an installation service, but actually charging at $27 which is too high in my view, because they are installing Mozilla Firefox after all, a very popular browser. The name itself is very popular and closely associated of being Free.

Reply Score: 1