Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Most used Free Software Browser

If you ask anyone that knows what a browser is and what Free Software is, what is the most used Free Software Browser, [almost] everyone will answer "Firefox!".

But it is not, sorry to be a bubble buster to all that people that thought Free Software was having a nice champion on Firefox.

What why is Firefox not Free Software may you ask? Simple, because of this

This source code is subject to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations and other U.S. law, and may not be exported or re-exported to certain countries (currently Afghanistan (Taliban controlled areas), Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) or to persons or entities prohibited from receiving U.S. exports (including Denied Parties, entities on the Bureau of Export Administration Entity List, and Specially Designated Nationals).

And everyone knows Free Software and Open Source definitions are completely AGAINST limiting who can use the software.

So probably most used Free Software Browser is Konqueror.

Update: Ok, i'm completely stupid and idiot, and wrong, because seems everyone accepts removing freedoms because someGoverment says it, does not make your program unfree, i completely disagree, but obviosuly i'm not a lawyer and as said i'm stupid and idiot so my opinion is worth zero.

BTW this never wanted to be an attack to Firefox or to anyoneelse, just a curious thing i discovered.

Anyways i thought one could post random thoughts on his blog, but now it seems planet.kde.org is an official kde channel instead of what it says it is "Planet KDE is an aggregation of public weblogs written by contributors to the K Desktop Environment. The opinions expressed in these weblogs and hence this aggregation are those of the original authors.
Planet KDE is not a product or publication of KDE e.V.; as such, it does not necessarily represent the views of the KDE project as a whole or the views of KDE e.V." So do not associate this idiot blog with KDE or KPDF or Poppler or other projects i contribute to, the only idiot here it's me, Albert Astals Cid.

Update 2: So it seems that restriction is not transitive, that is, one can download firefox from US to Spain and then one can download it from Spain to Cuba, isn't law something strange? /me is glad he has not anything to do with law in his life.


daniels said...

Hate to burst your bubble, but the only reason that disclaimer is there is because their main site is in the US. No matter who you are, you're not allowed to export crypto from the US to Cuba/Libya/Iran/etc. It's not a licence restriction -- can you see anything in the MPL forbidding redistribution to these countries? -- it's just noting the restrictions that the US government require them to observe.

Ramsees said...

Is is normal for KDE developers to be inmature trolls? How many does KDE needs?

BTW, konqueror sucks.

Anonymous said...

maybe it's just the law of USA that isn't compatible with the GPL and others. ;)

Thomas Zander said...

If you read the open source initiative website you will notice that this is perfectly legal and OK.

Please ask the experts (thats lawyers) if in doubt and for goodness sake, first do some proper researching before publishing things on planetkde :(

Albert Astals Cid said...

BTW, konqueror sucks.

Yeah, but at least everyone can use it.

daniels said...

> Yeah, but at least everyone can use it.

It's just as illegal for US sites to export strong KDE crypto to Cuba/Libya/Iran/etc as it is Firefox. Exporting Firefox to these places from, say, Europe, is fine. Just like it's fine to export KDE with strong crypto to those places, too.

So I don't see how Firefox is any more or less free.

Matthew Garrett said...

It's also illegal for Libyans to download Konqueror from US websites. Oh noes!

In reality, it's still legal for Libyans to download Firefox from websites outside the US. Disaster averted.

Anonymous said...


It's cool. Don't worry about the people who seem to have misuderstood the intent and spirit of your post.

By the way, KPDF rocks.

Matthew W. S. Bell said...

I disagree with the fact that the software can't be exported to said countries; however, to re-iterate the first posters point (because you don't seem to indicate understanding in Update 1), it is not a license restriction. It is simply saying that if you do what is mentioned in the disclaimer, the USA Government considers it to be illegal and will criminally prosecure you. The copyright owner/author still doesn't care.

This is much in a similar way to the fact that you can't use Free Software to murder people. Not because the license restricts it, but because it is a criminal offense. NB. I do agree with the fact that murder is bad, mmm'kay.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I agree with your actual point; however, this particular statement just has poor wording, rather than intentional malice. Last I checked, I don't think you need to make such a statement at all; it applies whether you state it or not. In any case, if stated, it should clearly limit itself to "applicable export laws", which would solve the problem: those not subject to US export law need not care.

Anonymous said...

The real problem with Firefox lies not in the export statement, but in the inclusion of proprietary, binary-only software in the versions downloaded directly from mozilla.org. The "Talkback" reporting system Firefox users consists of proprietary, binary-only sofware. Fortunately, most distributions remove this.

Chris George said...

Personally, I love how everyone on blogspot/blogger becomes a lawyer when something is in question, especially in a comment section.

Just my personal opinion/observation. :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe the post was wrong, but the fact is valid nonetheless: the license Frees the software, U.S. law restricts the software, be it OSI approved or not.

Anonymous said...

The US imposes restrictions on the export of "strong" cryptography. So, eg the RSA protocols cannot be freely exported to Libya etc... from the US.
PGP for example was never allowed to leave the US anyway...

Look at http://cr.yp.to/export.html
for the case of Bernstein vs US

Matthew W. S. Bell said...

@Chris George: Oi! I'm not on Blogger/BlogSpot :P

Anonymous said...


Firefox is free.
Konqueror is free.

USA aren't free !

Anonymous said...

Firefox is *NOT* free because of its bug tracking system and use of java. See here to understand better. This is also why Oo.org is not free unless it usues GNU Classpath