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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the Dude,-you're-getting-a-bill! dept.

lhsi writes:

"Mozilla are investigating reports that Dell is charging customers £16 to install the Firefox browser, according to The Register.

Mozilla's trademark policy says that you can't charge for distributing unaltered binaries of the software.

According to the BBC, Dell said that the money was being charged for the time and labour involved.

"In this particular situation, the customer would not be charged for the Mozilla Firefox software download, rather the fee would cover the time and labour involved for factory personnel to load a different image than is provided on the system's standard configuration."

A preliminary consultation with legal teams has stated at Mozilla, but is at an early stage."

 
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Khyber on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:22PM

    by Khyber (54) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:22PM (#13344) Journal

    Just like how you're really paying for support with some Linux Distributions.

    --
    Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by jimshatt on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:36PM

      by jimshatt (978) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:36PM (#13352) Journal
      I actually don't see why it would not be legal. If you have 'a guy' install it for you, you would pay too. Besides, the MPL grants you this right, so the trademark policy and the license seem to be at odds. If that is even legal, it's at least 'sneaky' to take away rights in a trademark policy that you granted previously with your license.
      Will a judge go for the intersection or the union of the granted rights (and vice-versa for the restrictions)?
      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Sunday March 09 2014, @06:46PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Sunday March 09 2014, @06:46PM (#13614) Homepage Journal

        I laughed out loud at the summary. Joe Sixpack can install pr0n trojans but not FireFox?

        Maybe I should RTFA but that might spoil a good joke. Hell, TFA is in the Register, that site's one big joke anyway, always good for a laugh.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Angry Jesus on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:20AM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:20AM (#13375)

      Just like how you're really paying for support with some Linux Distributions.

      RTFA. Mozilla's trademark licensing terms prevent Dell from doing it.
      Dell can charge all they want, they just can't advertise with the Firefox trademark if they do.

      • (Score: 1) by ngarrang on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:31AM

        by ngarrang (896) on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:31AM (#13425) Journal

        So, when someone asks me to come over and install something for them, I am committing an illegal act by charging the person for my time and travel to install FireFox for them?

        • (Score: 1) by Angry Jesus on Sunday March 09 2014, @04:34AM

          by Angry Jesus (182) on Sunday March 09 2014, @04:34AM (#13434)

          Yeah, that is exactly what I meant.

          Doh!

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by mcgrew on Sunday March 09 2014, @06:49PM

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Sunday March 09 2014, @06:49PM (#13615) Homepage Journal

            It ain't so until a judge says it's so.

            --
            mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @02:54AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @02:54AM (#13726)

              Trademark law is a well-settled area.
              It isn't like obeying licensing terms in exchange for the ability to use a trademark is anything new.

    • (Score: 0) by crutchy on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:35AM

      by crutchy (179) on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:35AM (#13383) Homepage Journal

      don't see what the big deal is. firefox might be available for download for free, but dell clearly thinks that the time they pay for someone to install it (or image it or whatever) is worth something.

      linux is more about free as in freedom. i didn't have a problem paying a couple of hundred dollars for a boxed redhat linux 6.0, so companies have been making money out of linux for a long time, and that's good for these companies and good for linux.

      • (Score: 1) by broggyr on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:50AM

        by broggyr (3589) <broggyrNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:50AM (#13388)

        Apparently, some buyers also clearly think it's worth extra money to have it installed.

        --
        Taking things out of context since 1972.
        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by edIII on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:13AM

          by edIII (791) on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:13AM (#13422)

          I think it's a pretty petty argument actually. Dell deserves to make money, and what they are really saying is, "We don't really have the time for custom installs AND be assured of quality assurance on them. Do it yourself".

          That's more or less correct. Consumers might not like the fact Dell is effectively not willing to sell the product by setting the price so high, but then that's the true cost of IT isn't?

          We are all so abused and underpaid right?

          Well, sucks to be them, but if they are so helpless that they can't install web browser on their own, they better budget a few thousand dollars a year for the help of professionals, or you know, actually learn to do something themselves.

          This would be like a home buyer complaining that it cost an extra few thousand dollars to get whole house RO installed because that was vastly superior to the default city water hookup.

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PapayaSF on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:30PM

    by PapayaSF (1183) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:30PM (#13348)

    But free software costs extra!

    Seriously, why not just include Firefox in the standard install?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jt on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:36PM

      by jt (2890) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:36PM (#13351)

      Crapware and bloatware have negative cost for Dell if they are paid to install them. The margins on commodity hardware are paper thin so it's not surprising that any kind of 'value-add' is considered by manufacturers and retailers if it makes a buck. 16 is way too expensive for this service, but how many car owners pay someone to change the oil?

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by PapayaSF on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:49PM

        by PapayaSF (1183) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:49PM (#13362)

        Maybe Microsoft insists that IE be the default browser on Windows installs, but why not include a hugely popular free browser on all Dell machines as well? The cost of including it is trivial, and I believe that Windows can handle it. Let the user decide which one to make default.

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by jt on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:54PM

          by jt (2890) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:54PM (#13363)

          Now that's something I agree with 100%. I'm not sure how the EU-mandated browser choice tool fits into this, which was meant to allow each user to select their browser of choice when first starting their computer. IIRC, all the big names were there, and the order was randomized so IE wasn't necessarily the first / default option for people who just click 'OK' on everything.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:55PM (#13364)

      Dell has been committing slow Seppuku for a decade now. Rather than build a better, more customer friendly business, they are making their customers hate them.

    • (Score: 1) by ngarrang on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:06AM

      by ngarrang (896) on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:06AM (#13418) Journal

      Why include for free what someone can pay you to include?

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by frojack on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:31PM

    by frojack (1554) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:31PM (#13349) Journal

    Why would anyone buy that when you can get it for nothing.

    I could see it costing 16 bucks if they had to set up each machine, boot it up, download and install it.

    But that's not how any manufacturer does it. The burn an entire image to the disk before it even goes in the case. Done once, its available for all machines.

    Funny they don't have any problem installing all sorts of bloatware, but draw the line at Mozilla? Waiting, no doubt, for someone from Mozilla to cross their palms.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09 2014, @05:27AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09 2014, @05:27AM (#13453)

      ... or, for them to wait a couple of months, then throw up their arms and say, "We tried! Nobody wanted it!"

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by denmarkw00t on Sunday March 09 2014, @06:41AM

      by denmarkw00t (2877) on Sunday March 09 2014, @06:41AM (#13469)

      I think it's totally fine, honestly. Cost saving perspective for a big business would say ONLY install bloatware and the OS and burn as few new versions as possible. One browser gets on there, then another then another...why drop any additional money burning what people want when you rely on mass-produced copies of an image? If they do it all over optical, they're not going to ask everyone to share and they're not gonna waste all those discs (slight environmental win perhaps?)

      If a friend wanted me to install Firefox, I'd do it free of charge. If a complete stranger wanted me to, I'd first give them the steps to do it and if they couldn't figure it out, I'd do it for a small fee. Dell seems to be taking the same approach, but sadly not considering their customers to be friends...nothing new :/

      --
      buck feta
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by jt on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:33PM

    by jt (2890) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:33PM (#13350)

    In other news, builders are charging for the installation of bricks, and plumbers are charging for the installation of pipes. £16 is clearly a lot of money for installing Firefox but I guess it's worth it for some people who don't have the time, or are too lazy, to do it themselves. I just hope some of that cash will make it's way to the Firefox Foundation; I can dream.

    • (Score: 1) by joekiser on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:39PM

      by joekiser (1837) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:39PM (#13355)

      Why isn't Firefox part of a standard Dell image?

      --
      Debt is the currency of slaves.
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jt on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:47PM

        by jt (2890) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:47PM (#13360)

        Because enough people are willing to pay £16 that it's financially worthwhile to Dell to offer the option? The thing about IT is that no good turn goes unpunished. You install Firefox, and whenever anything goes wrong you get the tech support calls. Even if totally unconnected to Firefox. Or people complain that it doesn't have Chrome, or Safari, or Lynx, or whatever. and you've spent time and money to help people use Firefox and they're still no happier and aren't giving you more money.

      • (Score: 2) by forsythe on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:49PM

        by forsythe (831) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:49PM (#13361)

        Why would it be? Mozilla hasn't paid Dell anything to install it (though they possibly will after these talks), and if Dell put it in for free, they couldn't charge £16 for installation later.

        Or were you thinking that Dell had some kind of incentive to make their standard software image a user-friendly experience? That's just crazy talk.

  • (Score: 1) by timbim on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:37PM

    by timbim (907) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:37PM (#13353)

    Alright so when the sub routine compounds the interest is uses all these extra decimal places that just get rounded off. So we simplified the whole thing, we rounded them all down, drop the remainder into an account we opened.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by randmcnatt on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:46PM

    by randmcnatt (671) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:46PM (#13358)
    What ever happened to Browser Choice [browserchoice.eu]

    UK is supposedly able to add Firefox for no charge [microsoft.com]. Or is this something that Dell just does as a "convenience" for it's customers?

    --
    The Wright brothers were not the first to fly: they were the first to land.
    • (Score: 2) by ls671 on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:06AM

      by ls671 (891) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:06AM (#13367) Homepage

      "What ever happened to Browser Choice"

      Funny, I just tried that link and it wants me to download "Firefox Setup 27.0.1.exe" although I am on Linux.

      Anyway, not a good idea to download executables from a third party site with regards to the executable integrity. "Browser Choice" should just point to the official mozilla download page or provide a signature file signed by mozilla or at least a link to an official mozilla md5 sum.

      --
      Everything I write is lies, including this sentence.
    • (Score: 2) by Appalbarry on Sunday March 09 2014, @01:42AM

      by Appalbarry (66) on Sunday March 09 2014, @01:42AM (#13396) Journal

      Anyone know anything about the Maxthon browser that's offered? new to me, and not Linux compatible...

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by DarkMorph on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:44AM

    by DarkMorph (674) on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:44AM (#13387)
    This is 16 Pounds not Dollars. In dollars this is close to $27. And you thought $16 was bad? Hmph.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by lx on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:43AM

      by lx (1915) on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:43AM (#13430)

      Which is a generous fee for two minutes of work. Maybe Dell employs lawyers to install the software.

      • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Sunday March 09 2014, @09:23AM

        by lhsi (711) on Sunday March 09 2014, @09:23AM (#13510) Journal

        Maybe Dell employs lawyers to install the software.

        Indeed. The article on The Register points out that it works out at about £100 an hour, or about how much an A&E doctor can be paid an hour.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Doctor on Monday March 10 2014, @01:20AM

      by Doctor (3677) on Monday March 10 2014, @01:20AM (#13707)

      Dell used to be the go to for inexpensive yet well built systems. However, they have more or less cut the PCs down to such a barebone system I no longer find them useful or a good deal. Now this. I think I can manage to take 2 minutes to do my own download and install FireFox, thankyouverymuch. Dell is really scraping the bottom of the barrel to make a buck here. More recently I have ended up building my own systems as I don't find the market for the kind of PC I need or want (hint: expansion slots of various types are awfully useful to a lot of people as is enough space in the case to put additional hardware.) Maybe I'm a minority now, but I find it hard to specify a prebuilt PC which meets my needs. And I sure can do more with 27 bucks than install Firefox!

      --
      "Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way." - The Doctor