I received an e-mail from a lady in the Trading Standards department of a large northern town. They had encountered businesses which were selling copies of Firefox, and wanted to confirm that this was in violation of our licence agreements before taking action against them.
The whole article is worth a read. Trading Standards (or this particular officer at least) have an interesting take on free software:
“If Mozilla permit the sale of copied versions of its software, it makes it virtually impossible for us, from a practical point of view, to enforce UK anti-piracy legislation, as it is difficult for us to give general advice to businesses over what is/is not permitted.”
The same argument could be applied to paid-for software. Make it all open source and freely distributable and the advice would be much easier.
The first thing I noticed about this article, though, was that it was written by my old friend Gervase Markham who, I’m impressed to see, is now working for Mozilla and writing this column for The Times. I’ve added his (techy) blog, Hacking for Christ, to the sidebar.