openSUSE Ends EULA

Just as those of us in the U.S. were preparing to pop our turkeys in the oven, the hard-working fellows at the openSUSE Project — the community organization behind the openSUSE Linux distribution — were lifting the lid on their own creation: a brand new license for openSUSE 11.1 — that doesn't involve a EULA.

According to an openSUSE Spotlight post from openSUSE Community Manager Joe Brockmeier — better known to the community as Zonker — the openSUSE team have been hard at work designing a new license for the upcoming openSUSE 11.1 release, and as of last Wednesday, the finished product is ready for public view. Of key concern in designing the new license was the End User License Agreement involved with existing versions of openSUSE, which required users to click-through an acceptance screen in order to access the software. The new license will include a "license notice" which informs users of their rights under the GPL, but will not require an "acceptance click."

Brockmeier's post stressed that the new license is just that, a normal Open Source software license, and not a EULA, a point reminiscent of the brouhaha that erupted in September within the Ubuntu community over the license attached to Mozilla's Firefox browser. Speaking of other distributions, the new openSUSE license has a distinct whiff of Fedora about it. According to Brockmeier, the Novell legal team borrowed the license used by the Fedora Project — with the blessing and assistance of Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields — as "[it] has worked for them" and because there "[isn't] any point in reinventing the wheel."

For our part, we're certainly glad to see another EULA bite the dust, and commend the Novell team and the openSUSE community for taking this important step.

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