Jono Bacon, the community manager of Ubuntu, has written a thoughtful post about the recent decision made by the technical team to not install proprietary software by default. I appreciate the decision as it is very important for people like me who use Ubuntu or Free Software not because of low price (my hardware is much more expensive and advanced than Mac Pro). We use Ubuntu for freedom from monopolistic, non-innovative proprietary software. I would not want any Slaveware (proprietary-software) to be installed on my machine without my permission.
The solution John Lea proposed had good intentions, but it also carried potential risks. Ticking the check-box by default meant third-party and proprietary packages will be installed on my machine without my knowledge. Why without my knowledge? Because the check box is so small and is positioned at a place where I may fail to notice it. Eureka! I think, that's the root of the problem.
Ok, let me see how I can explain it in simplest manner possible.
I have issues that it should not be ticked by default because I don't want to 'opt-out' of such Slaveware. I want the option to install Slaveware be opt-in. Ubuntu team has made the right decision considering political and legal impact.
However, I also agree with what people like Lea want. So, here I propose a simple yet affective solution which will not force Ubuntu to change its policies or take legal risks. A solution which will not upset a free software advocate like me, while considering the average Joe who want full PC experience.
The solution is, make the option prominent. Ubuntu team can add another window after the "Preparing Install Ubuntu" and before "Allocate Drive Space". This window will be called "Install Third Party Software", the addition of this extra window will make it quite obvious for an ordinary user to know what options are available. He/she will easily tick on it if he/she wants to install proprietary software. At the same time, it won't skip the eyes of users like us who prefer IcedTea instead of Adobe Flash plug-in.
I believe this is a better solution which addresses concerns of both parties! What do you say Jono!