[packagekit] Handling of License Prompts

Richard Hughes hughsient at gmail.com
Tue Sep 11 10:00:43 PDT 2007

On 11/09/2007, Tom Parker <palfrey at tevp.net> wrote:
> It's a b*stard of a problem, but ignoring the elephant in the corner
> won't help us.

Legally do we have to display the text?

* If the answer is yes:

We have to ask the question, does it have to be shown _during_ install,
_before_ install or _after_ install, as the three are very different
from an implementation point of view.
Also, I've installed proprietary software before on other machines, and
they installed silently (proprietary software rpm's designed for RHEL for
instance...) so this can't be a huge problem.

* If the answer is no, but we should probably do it just in case:

Then we shouldn't do it.

* If the answer is I don't know:

Can we ask a lawyer? I was under the understanding that you agree to the
EULA of most proprietary software by the very nature of trying to
install it.

If we are forced to do it:

If we do this right, the user can click the install button, a licence
text can appear, and if the user agrees the package is downloaded and
installed. What I DO NOT want is for the package install to be taking
place, a licence text is shown and refused and for the *transaction*
(not job) to be left in a quasi-installed state.

To do the agree before download requires changes to every package
management system, and the packages themselves, which I don't think is
possible. What might be possible is if the package licence is
"proprietary" then we suggest to the user that there might be a eula and
that they are bound by it, although it's not much help without actually
showing them the legal EULA.

So some of my thoughts:

* PackageKit will not open a console for the input or output of any
 - anything that does echo "type agree to continue" && read $agree is
just too broken
* debhelper might work for the prompts, but only if the notification is
shown _before_ or _after_ the transaction itself - the transaction can
never block, and still I don't like the complexity or the fact it's
difficult to localise.
* You have to understand most of the backends can't support legal type
stuff complexity

So yes, this is a difficult legal problem, but it's difficult because of
the lack of technical standards and because of undefined legal grey
areas. Technically it's actually very easy.

So basically what I'm trying to say is that installing proprietary
software is not that interesting to me. I don't want to be so bold as to
completely /prevent/ its use with PackageKit, but I don't think we
should go out of our way to accommodate a legally grey area.


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