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Is Firefox Open Source?

Why not? Mozilla posts this: It is under MPL which they call not only open source, but also free software, which is a lot more than OS, at least according to GNU…

The license alone doesn’t make something free software. Free software and open source software mostly use the same licenses - it’s the philosophy behind it that makes the difference.
On the mozilla/firefox websites you’ll find the word “open” much more often than “free”. They also always promoted the download link via G%§$e play much more prominently than the F-Droid link when the app was still on F-Droid. Now it no longer is, because it’s not free/libre/open enough for F-Droid.
So I’d say: FF is mostly open source, but as the majority of complex software not 100% open source.

The post I referred to stated that Firefox would not be open source. That is decided solely by the license, and Mozilla states that Firefox IS open source. Free software is something different, there isn’t even a consensus of what it should be. Certainly Firefox does not meet GNUs definition of Free Software, but most software doesn’t, not even Linux. But again, the question was whether or not Firefox is Open Source. It is, at least in my opinion.

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Is Mozillla’s Pocket (part of Firefox) open source? When Mozilla acquired Pocket they said they’d make it open source. Not sure if that’s already happened…

It is (the client side). MITs license:

If a client is open source yet the specification isn’t open and the server is not open either we get a situation where the service is closed. This is as open source as a Gmail FOSS client. F-Droid marks such as-is.

F-Droid lists Firefox as Open Source. GMail is to my knowledge officially closed source.

F-Droid doesn’t distribute Mozilla Firefox.

They do distribute Fennec:

"Browser using the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards.

Fennec F-Droid is based on the latest Firefox release. It’s focused on removing any proprietary bits found in official Mozilla’s builds. There might still be some binaries left and the app (or some builds) might get removed or re-pushed anytime."

https://f-droid.org/en/packages/org.mozilla.fennec_fdroid/

Gmail can be accessed via FOSS clients such as any regular IMAP client such as K-9 or p=p.

Pocket is proprietary, just like Gmail, because the servers code is proprietary. Whether the protocol is specified or not or wether the client is FOSS or not isn’t relevant for that.

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Let uns clarify terms:

With ‘GMail’ I talk about the GMail app. That is closed source. What Google runs on their servers for the GMail web service is of no concern for anybody.

The Firefox client is by all definitions I know, and I know many, Open Source, and Mozilla labels it as such. There is no Firefox server.

Firefox is still Open Source if the Pocket server (!) is closed source. Because the Pocket server is not part of the Firefox client, and again, it is of no concern for anybody. Do you plan to run a Pocket server? I don’t.

Fennec isn’s the only Mozilla product F-Droid lists, they also have Firefox Clear, which is the dataprivacy (stripped-down) version of Firefox.

There is a HUGE difference between Open Source and Free Software. I had lengthy discussions (in person) with Richard Stallman about that, when he came to Germany some years ago. In his eyes most software is not Free. Linux for example. It is not Free Software, but it is certainly Open Source. Just as the Firefox client. The source code is available and you are entitled to change it, fork it, redistribute it.

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If even F-Droid admits that in their build there might be some proprietary binaries left after they already removed some then it’s 100% clear that Firefox is not 100% open source.

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Open source is a licensing issue, and if the owners of the copyright agree to open the source code, they do.

The rest of this discussion is purely academic and fruitless.

If you start counting percentages of “opensourceness” you will quickly find that “true open source” software does not exist on this planet. In almost all software you can find a proprietary module, library or method.

And implementing a method to access a proprietary server doesn’t make ANY open source code non-open source. Then there would be NO open source browsers at all, because they can all access web servers that run Microsofts proprietary IIS.

If you want to be this strict and orthodox, why don’t you switch to the orthodox term Free Software, which has always been this strict, and resulting from that, rarely used by developers?

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When someone mentions Gmail I assume they mean the service, not the app. I never even used the app. I always used IMAP-capable clients cause I’ve been annoyed enough with webmail in the '90s that I don’t want or need such a lock-in.

I would if I could, yes. I already run my own Nextcloud instance as well.

Compare with Firefox Sync. That server is FOSS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefox_Sync#Sync_Server

The nitpicking about free software and open source often is a smoke bomb in discussions, including in this one. It has nothing to do with it.

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That’s all I’ve been saying from the beginning. Complex software is almost never 100% open source (or even free software) and Firefox isn’t either.

In F-Droid there are lots of apps without any anti-feature, so these are 100% FLOSS.

The difference between free software and open source software is not the percentage of proprietary stuff left in the software, but the philosophy behind it. Open source is only about the possibility to few the source code and help improve the software. Free software is about the freedom to view the code as one of I think 4 essential freedoms defined.

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The difference between free software and open source software is not the percentage of proprietary stuff left in the software, but the philosophy behind it. Open source is only about the possibility to few the source code and help improve the software. Free software is about the freedom to view the code as one of I think 4 essential freedoms defined.

As I said. I have discussed this topic (Free Software versus Open Source) with Richard Stallman in person. Now tell me what in the Firefox client is not Open Source?

You have full access to the code, you are entitled to change anything you like, and you are entitled to redistribute with or without your change. You may also fork Firefox, which has happened numerous times. So where does this philosophy fall behind the philosophy of Open Source.

That the Mozilla foundation bought the proprietary Pocket is something I agree is questionable. But for other reasons (they never asked their users), but it does not change anything of what I wrote above. The code of the client is still Open Source, only the server part of Pocket is proprietary and that is not part of the client.

I have been a tech journalist for over a decade. I have never ever seen anywhere a discussion that Firefox allegedly wouldn’t be Open Source.

I agree it is not Free Software, but that is not the point.

““Mozilla Firefox in contrast is 100 per cent open source,” Eich wrote, by way of tooting the nonprofit’s own horn.”

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There was a point where Pocket was included yet not open source. So you might’ve been a tech journalist for over a decade, I guess that doesn’t matter for such details.

My last remark, then I get off this topic, because this is totally pointless and a waste of time.

Only the server part of Pocket is non-open source, but the server part is NOT in the Firefox client, so this is totally irrelevant when judging the client.

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Firefox is released under MPL 2.0 as stated above in the thread.
MPL is among few (together with LGPL) licenses that are considered (partially) copyleft i.e. that are close to free software GPL license.
So, Firefox is completely open source and very close to free software.
Note: Brave is MPL 2.0 while Chromium has been released under many free and permissive licenses.

The point is that the Pocket client wasn’t open source either at some point, yet was included in Firefox.

You yourself linked this article earlier from 11 jan 2018 where Mozilla open sourced their client.

As you know Pocket was included in Firefox for longer than since 11 jan 2018. So at least in the past, Firefox wasn’t completely open source because of that.

Another example:

We can therefore, with 2 examples, conclude that in the past Firefox was not completely open source. It has been nearly 100% open source though, and it might be 100% open source now (I don’t know). I do wonder if it is 100% open source though why isn’t there an Android port freely distributed out of other distribution channels than the Play Store such as F-Droid? Given that the trademark disputes (reasons for Iceweasel et al) have been solved.

I’d also say that open source isn’t a panacea; if the program stimulates the usage of proprietary services and vendor lock-in it doesn’t promote user freedom. You can host your own Firefox Sync, but you cannot (yet) host your own Pocket server.

The point is that the Pocket client wasn’t open source either at some point, yet was included in Firefox.

You yourself linked this article earlier from 11 jan 2018 where Mozilla open sourced their client.

The MPL 2.0 allows linking to external library with different license even proprietary, but does not allow closed source code (external components are not part of Firefox). So if this is true, Mozilla violated its own license. Do you have any proof for this?

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I’d like to point that’s a missconception: we are talking about two Pocket clients, not one. Pocket (the service) has always been a proprietary service. After Mozilla adquired Pocket, they released the official Pocket browser extension as open source, as you stated. But the integration in Firefox wasn’t done using the official Pocket browser extension.

The Pocket service has a third-party API for developers to access the service, and that’s the thing Mozilla used to integrate Firefox with it. Mozilla wrote some code in Firefox (client code) to integrate Pocket. The Pocket integration in Firefox was open source from the beginning. Debian has a pretty strict free software guidelines and, back then, IceWeasel (their rebranded Firefox) included Pocket integration from the beginning!

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