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Author Topic: This could be interesting to follow  (Read 763 times)

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Offline pin

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This could be interesting to follow
« on: February 15, 2018, 09:59:41 am »
About a year ago I tried Porteus as a linux distro designed to be used from a USB stick and noticed on Distrowatch today that there is a new Porteus release, https://distrowatch.com/?newsid=10118

What surprised me was to see that they are providing google-chrome with it   :o
Always thought that could mean trouble  :-X

They are not stating that on the release announcement, but if you go to the download mirror, for example http://linux.rz.rub.de/porteus/x86_64/current/modules/
You can see google-chrome-63.0.3239.132-x86_64-1 as a web browser option  :o

Wonder what Google will think about that?!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 10:03:04 am by pin »

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 03:09:11 pm »
Unless Google have changed policy, and i can't see how they could considering they don't own all the IP in Chrome as it's distributed) .. they're unlikely to be happy if they notice.
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Offline christianvl

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2018, 05:36:10 am »
Why Google Chrome can't (or shouldn't) be shipped with any distro? I'm sure I've seen it in other distros... And why Google wouldn't be happy about it? Don't they make a profit from having more people using their browser?

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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2018, 09:00:46 am »
Google Chrome includes code that isn't owned by Google (such as, but not limited to the included flashplayer which is Adobe intellectual property) .. these third parties (and Google) require you to digitally agree to an end user license agreement and term of service which impose limitations on what you're allowed to do with the code (such as backward engineer it, use it elsewhere, or distribute it) before you can even download Chrome.

By including Chrome pre-installed in a distro an end user never had to digitally agree to the EULA, so could theoretically say they were unaware of the limitations  imposed.

For Google to allow Chrome to be preinstalled they would have to get permission from the other IP owners to allow this and modify the license agreement .. I'd be pretty sure the agreement between Google and the other IP holders was expensive to hammer out and involved a lot of lawyers getting paid rather handsomely so they're unlikely to have wasted time and money negotiating a change to it.

In fact (though I'm not a lawyer) it looks unchanged to me...

Chrome's EULA and terms of service:
https://www.google.co.uk/chrome/browser/privacy/eula_text.html

Now I can't say for sure that Porteus haven't got special dispensation from Google to for example force users to agree to the EULA on Chromes first use (or it becomes disabled/uninstalled), but I seriously doubt Google would agree to this as even for this they'd have to hire a bunch of lawyers and check it was okay with the third parties who'd also need to hire an army of lawyers .. I can't see that either side would pay for those lawyers and all the negotiation effort just so Porteus can ship with it preinstalled.

Now if say someone the size of Microsoft asked and were willing to pay the millions for the negotiations between lawyers of all interested IP holders, Google may be interested but I can't see that happening.....
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 09:18:43 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline christianvl

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2018, 01:35:21 pm »
I can understand that... However I've never heard about Google going after some distro in order for them to refrain from shipping the Chrome browser and/or Google being demanded by any third IP owners for not doing so.

Considering the way they distribute their browser, I would guess that third IP owners allow the use of their technology, but not a redistribution.

That's why you probably can only install Chrome from Google's own repository and it's not in the distro's ones. I doubt that Porteus keeps Chrome in their repos and although I've never tested it, my guess is that you're asked to agree with the EULA before first use.

Or maybe I'm completely mistaken...

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Offline pin

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2018, 02:36:12 pm »
If I have the time I will take the new Porteus for a spin tomorrow and check if you have to agree to the EULA or not. But, yes Google-Chrome is in the mirrors.
Porteus doesn't have any repos of their own. They provide software in modules and what's not provided as a module, can be pulled from Slackware/Salix/Slackel/... repos and built into a new module.

EDIT:
You don't always need to download Chrome from Google.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 02:39:36 pm by pin »

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2018, 03:32:19 pm »
I've never heard about Google going after some distro in order for them to refrain from shipping the Chrome browser and/or Google being demanded by any third IP owners for not doing so.

I never said they had or will (I hope they don't)...
(also have you considered that might be because most don't ship with it? .. for good reason)

Seriously I doubt if Google actually care, but that doesn't mean they won't .. IP rights stand up to possible future legal challenge much better where they are seen to be actively defended.

All I know is about three (or so) years ago we approached Google to ask if we could ship with Chrome .. they said NO .. IIRC citing the reasons I've already mentioned.
(that's not the same as saying they'll "go after" anyone, but because of the way IP works they may be forced to if they become aware)

There's a good reason most distros (who're happy to include other proprietary software where licensing permits) ship with Chromium instead of Chrome .. and it's certainly not to make their own lives and those of their users more difficult ;)

Again I must stress I have no idea if Porteus have special dispensation to distribute Chrome preinstalled, if they've found a legal loophole they feel confident about, or if they're just crossing their fingers and hoping to fly under the radar as Mint used to appear to do with proprietary codecs .. I'm simply answering your original question to the best of my (limited) knowledge.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 04:22:27 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline pin

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2018, 05:17:37 pm »
So I've paid a visit to Porteus forum and looked for discussions about Google Chrome.

As far as I understand, a distro is not allowed to distribute the browser but, apparently it can provide building scripts and/or instructions on how to install it.

As mentioned, Porteus uses modules for their software and the Google Chrome module is built using Slackware's slackbuilds. But, in my mind they are still distributing the browser!? Or is this some kind of "grey" zone where actually no one is "really responsible" ? Slackware just provides the building scripts and Porteus just uses them?

Sorry, is just that I love digging into IP stuff. Neardy, I know...

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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2018, 06:33:23 pm »
I get the feeling that you've hit the nail on the head .. they're probably "hoping" it's enough of a grey area that they get away with it.

That said, the aim of the Chrome terms of service seem pretty clear to me .. Google can't make it available for distribution as they don't own it, and users must be presented with the EULA prior to installation and use.

I'm pretty sure their lawyers will have attempted to nail that down in the fine print .. but good luck to those those that fear not the Google/Adobe legal team :)



I'd guess as long as Chrome isn't preinstalled, and requires the user "choose" to do something that then downloads/installs it they'd be okay .. the responsibility then sits squarely on the users shoulders.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 06:37:32 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline christianvl

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2018, 07:21:38 pm »
I think that they just offer a pre downloaded install file, one that will set Google's repositories and download their software (Chrome) after the user click the "I agree" button on the EULA screen.

That's how korora does it (https://kororaproject.org/about/whats-inside):
We also include the following types of packages:
Repository files so you can install Chrome and other packages out of the box

Maybe it's different in Porteus' case for not working with .deb or .rpm files (officially distributed by Google). But that's also the case for many other distros ou there. I'd have to study the terms of use (and I'll be happy to do it), nevertheless I'm inclined to believe that they can ship the distro with that kind of install file.

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Re: This could be interesting to follow
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2018, 07:45:49 pm »
If it's not preinstalled and the user has to "choose" (by action) to install it, they've shifted the responsibility to the user so they (Porteus) should be fine.
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