Need another reminder to steer clear of non-Free software?

It's played out over and over again on proprietary platforms: the vendor decides that this or that component should be deleted from user machines, and as if by magic it happens, without regard to the fact that user systems will encounter reduced functionality as a result.

Well, through its "Partner" archive, Ubuntu is in the unenviable position of doing the same thing. It is losing its permission to distribute updates to Oracle Java (née Sun Java), and as a result has chosen to do something that verges on crazy: publish an update that will replace the Oracle Java packages with empty packages, breaking any package that relies on Oracle Java.

Guys, that's what you get for playing with fire. Give us Free software, not proprietary software, and you'll never have to make the difficult decision to screw your users like this.

It's worth noting that Debian faces a similar situation (sun-java6-jre is in "non-free") but as far as I've been able to determine their solution will not be breaking the installed package on user machines that install security updates. I'm unclear whether the last distributable version will remain in their package servers for squeeze or not. Their wiki seems to indicate that the package is only removed for wheezy (the next version of debian).



Entry first conceived on 18 December 2011, 14:42 UTC, last modified on 17 January 2012, 3:36 UTC
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