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Re: [directory-discuss] FSF opinion on chromium, QtWebEngine, electron

From: Ian Kelling
Subject: Re: [directory-discuss] FSF opinion on chromium, QtWebEngine, electron
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2017 23:27:12 -0500
User-agent: mu4e 1.0-alpha2; emacs 27.0.50

bill-auger <address@hidden> writes:

> an interesting note to add - i spoke about this with a fedora dev today
> - he was not aware of this chromium controversy but he told me that
> fedora blacklists electron and all dependents for a similar licensing
> issue that electron devs created themselves quite aside from this issue
> - it appears that even if this chromium issue is resolved that electron
> may be hopeless situation - here are some of the observations he made:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> BTW, since you mentioned Electron, that's an even bigger can of worms.
> This is not only not compliant to FSF policies, but also to any free
> distro's policies.
> The issue is that they rely a lot on bundling precompiled blobs without
> even including their source code.
> Electron bundles a precompiled Chromium blob, mentioning only the BSD
> license of Chromium's own code, but ignoring the LGPL on Blink and some
> other components (they neither mention nor honor it).
> Then Electron apps bundle a precompiled Electron blob including the
> Chromium blob.
> So the Electron apps are not only not compliant to policies, but
> outright illegal.
> Just look at the "source" repositories for Electron, Atom, etc. And
> their "source" tarballs. Everything relies on redistributing blobs.
> You have to actually force it to rebuild the blob from source or use a
> system copy before you can even consider packaging this.
> Their build instructions also mention downloading blobs.
> Electron is not in Fedora at all because of these issues.
> See
> – they still recommend bundling Electron as a blob with applications.
> – libchromiumcontent is also still prebuilt by default.
> It can be built from source, but I haven't seen packagers do that so
> far, at least for Fedora.
> If you build libchromiumcontent from source, then Electron from source
> based on that, then the apps from source based on that, THEN you can
> distribute this in a distro, assuming the Chromium licensing issue is
> addressed.
> If you just follow the default build process, no.
> It shall also be noted that the instructions assume that you have
> Internet access in the build system, which is not normally the case in
> distros. Things have to be patched to build from tarballs. Even those
> packagers repackaging blobs are patching things to not download the
> blobs from the net, but use shipped ones.
> This is the magic script that fetches blobs etc.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing. Another reason to avoid electron.

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