Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th May 2010 21:48 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Canonical has explained why it has licensed H264. As it turns out, the license does not cover the distribution as a whole - since Ubuntu is entirely Free software, the license cannot be included. Canonical has licensed H264 so that it can offer it as an option to OEMs, just as it does with Flash, Fluendo, and some others. Since this is just an option for OEMs, it does not mean that every pre-installed Ubuntu system comes with the H264 license - it depends on whether or not your OEM decided to include it (good luck finding that out). And people actually promote this complicated spaghetti licensing situation.
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Comment by gnufreex
by gnufreex on Thu 6th May 2010 23:33 UTC
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Um... not entirely true. GPLv2 and v3 are same in that regard. GPL does not forbid you to distribute proprietary programs in with distributions; lots of distributors did that. If forbids you to add proprietary extensions to the GPL'd Program.

Distribution is counted as "Aggregate Work" not the "Program". Firefox is the "Program".

Main reason why Canonical (and also Mozilla) does not distribute non-free software is good ethics and ideology. As well as the technical reasons: if you do not have source, you can not fix bugs.

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