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SuSE Businesses Operating Systems Software Linux

OpenSUSE 11.1 License Changes Examined 90

nerdyH writes "Novell's recent openSUSE 11.1 release includes a new end-user license agreement modeled after Fedora's EULA, says Community Manager Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier in this detailed interview. Zonker says distributions should apply the 'open source principle' and standardize trademark agreements and EULA, similar to how the OSI sought to reduce open source license proliferation a few years back. But with Fedora and openSUSE being so different, can one size really fit all? And, will open source licenses ever finally get translated into languages besides English? (Zonker says that translation into 7 languages was done for openSUSE 11.1.)"
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OpenSUSE 11.1 License Changes Examined

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  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @09:29AM (#26222389) Homepage

    Even space aliens on the movies speak English unless they lack the proper throat devices to speak the language. Every time I see someone write or hear someone speak in a language other than English, I believe they are saying things about me that I don't understand and I hate that! So to hell with all other languages but not English because it is the best one.

    (yes, of course I'm kidding)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) *
      Air traffic controllers worldwide use English as an ersatz standard in order to prevent confusion (especially important when stress levels are high in the cockpit). Perhaps this thinking makes sense for EULAs as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 )

      Indeed, it's the lingua franca of our times. The licenses don't need translation, it's in leagalese anyway so it's probably half latin. They can be universally understood or at least interpreted by courts and lawyers, hell plain english needs interpretation in a courts jurisdiction. It's the man files they should be worried about.

      • by MrMr ( 219533 )
        I think that translating the EULA to be legally valid in different jurisdictions is actually more difficult than translating the words to different languages.
      • Indeed, it's the lingua franca of our times.

        Kinda ironic, isn't it?'s in leagalese anyway so it's probably half latin.

        Actually, that might not be a bad idea...
        Resurrecting Latin would be pretty neat.

    • I think your comments are offensive. It is a real shame what Novell made out of Suse. No wonder most of them left. Maybe you can imagine that some people find the dominance of the English language quite offensive. It feels like colonialisation.

      • Having spent quite a bit of time in a foreign non-english-speaking nation, I do know clearly what it is like "on the other side" and I have grown quite comfortable on either side... indeed, finding a sense of mental freedom on the other side. You should relax a bit more. English is a mix of so many different languages and influences of languages that it is really hard to even call it "English" as if it were named from its country of origin. It should really be called "human." English is truly a very org

  • by Syrente ( 990349 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @09:35AM (#26222423)

    And, will open source licenses ever finally get translated into languages besides English?"

    (Zonker says that translation into 7 languages was done for openSUSE 11.1.)

    Well, unless those seven languages are English, English, English, English, English, English and English, then I'd think it's safe to assume so.

  • by Vertana ( 1094987 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @09:46AM (#26222497) Homepage

    They say that it has been translated into 7 languages in TFA, however, they provide an HTML link for the Deutsch version. Why are they not available on the installer? What good does a license do if it's not available to be viewed at install time? And if it's not available on the installer, then the time that someone took to translate that license into another language was for nothing.

    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @10:38AM (#26222915) Journal
      The translated licenses are informational at best and wrong at worst. If you translate the GPL (for example), then you will end up with something that is not saying exactly the same thing as the GPL, and so you do not have the right to redistribute the code with the new license unless the copyright owner agrees to dual-license it under the translation.

      As for EULAs, they already are standardised. If the end user needs a license, then it fails the Free Software definition at freedom 0 (the freedom to use the software for any purpose) and the OSI's definition. It is not Free Software, and it is not Open Source Software. One of the main attractions of F/OSS is that it makes accounting much easier, because you can not be in violation of the license unless you distribute it. Add an end user license agreement, and this advantage goes away - even if it's permissive, you still need to get your legal department to check it and agree. With a F/OSS license, legal don't need to go near it unless you are producing derived works or distributing the code.

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )
        If I provide a translation of my software, and it means something different than what I think, generally *I* am the one on the hook, not the licensee.

        Now, if I said it was the GPL I may be commiting a trademark infringement or some such, but people receiving the code could use it with the license as I wrote it, if there was a dispute, they could resolve it in the license i received.

        If the FSF did the translating themself, they could use the any version clause to make it a valid distribution option.

        The worse
      • by jrumney ( 197329 )
        So show the official English version by default with a link to "Click here to read an unofficial translation in your language". As long as the English version is presented as the definitive license, and the translation is presented as informational only, there shouldn't be a problem.
    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      Raven is right here. Which documents take priority is very very tricky legally. With software coming from mixed sources it gets worse. Having the english GPL be the official license and having local languages be additional documents dealing with local legal systems makes the most sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @10:30AM (#26222847)

    EULA means End-user License Agreement.
    Why the fuck should I as a end-user have to agree to an EULA?
    Free software is copyrighted, and copyright is for distribution not for use.
    EULA covers use.
    Why the fuck should I have to agree to something just to use it? It should hamper my freedoms?

    Man fuck that. OpenSUSE? So much for open.
    EULA is something you expect from proprietary software, not from free open source software.

    Fuck that shit.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As long as it's still GPL, you are allowed to modify the software before use, so I don't see any problem in removing the EULA.

      • As long as it's still GPL, you are allowed to modify the software before use, so I don't see any problem in removing the EULA.

        From the EULA:

        By downloading, installing, or using openSUSE 11.1, you agree to the terms of this agreement.

        In order to modify your must've downloaded it, and therefore have agreed to it.

    • By receiving this software you agree to the terms of the license of each individual package.

      By receiving this distribution you agree not to utilize SuSE and the little green lizard thing and a few other logo's and icons owned by Novell, inc. in another product or redistribution them.

      There is more to a distribution than just a collection of open source tools. They want to make sure to protect the branding they apply to the collection of tools.

    • The EULA was for the proprietary software that used to be included. Like Adobe Reader and the binary drivers for video cards. Now you have to add the repositories for those after the install. They're not included w/ the DVD any more. How did you get marked insightful?
    • The only sane reason I can think of to put an EULA on free software is to disclaim liability.
  • Since its well established nobody reads a EULA: Wouldn't it be painful to translate it into dozens of Languages? Perhaps computer programs can as legalese is very limited. Its more of a computer language and legalese might be parseable as such. Anybody who uses software surely knows its "at your own risk" and not much else.

    As for FOSS, its expected everyone knows the spirit of the GPL and how it differs from the BSD contract. Not much else is enforceable on
    a global scale.

  • Why do they make such a long EULA... and why do end users have to "agree" to a license?

    Why not just change the EULA to a concise "Notice of Rights" telling end users to do whatever they like, and distributors to follow the GPL?

  • Hey, it's called open source, man. Translate THIS.
  • I left M$ because of lock in. If you don't want to get locked in, think of Debian or at least Ubuntu.

    To work on open software and retain rights to the contibution is not at all in the spirit of GPL-Opensource software.

    • Here was our experience with Linux as we started development on our latest series of product. We took an off the shelf computer for development machine. Here is what happened:

      Fedora 9: Kernel panic on boot.
      Ubuntu: Hung after splash screen
      Kubuntu: See Ubuntu
      PCBSD: Installed, no printer drivers out of the box
      openSuSE: Installed, printers worked out of the box

      I outright prefer FreeBSD on the server side and Mac on the desktop side, but in our case, I can't make a good argument why we should not be deploying

      • Sounds like you guys are really new to the *nix world. If you have Linux friendly hardware it is really easier than installing windoze these days.

        If you are using a proprietary DB vendor you really don't understand how to best make use of opensource and are locked in anyway.

        As far as support, I hear this all the time, but don't get it. I find the free support of the community fixes things faster than any paid support I've ever used. (I've used almost all of them). The differences betweent he distributions a

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan