Deb packages License issue

Theres an issue with the software app store. Deb packages are all under proprietary license. According to a LBRY developer, he told me it might not be related to the software app store but to a Linux issue.
This is bad. This can push some users away.
Heres the most active open issue that i’ve found on github about this:
I’ve noticed the issue when trying to install the deb package for: FreeTube, Webtorrent and LBRY. All of them are showing under proprietary license, which actually they all run under free license.
Take a look if you would like to help.

Ubuntu does allow for closed-source software via deb packages and from official packages.

By default a clean Ubuntu install will include only ‘main’ repository software which is ALL free & open source code. A Lubuntu (or other flavor) will add the ‘universe’ repository which is still free & open source.

Users can ‘opt’ to include ‘multiverse’ or ‘restricted’ which yes - do contain 3rd party, closed & proprietary code. What is called ‘non-free’ in debian terminology. These can be chosen to be added at install (eg. 19.10 includes Nvidia closed-source drivers for some flavors at install time, it’s an easy check-box to enable non-free, but applies to other software as well).

Snaps can contain free or closed source code; you decide if you want it before installation; as many end-users want specific programs that are closed-source - this is actually a feature a huge proportion of users want, and would likely go elsewhere if it wasn’t available. Those who only want ‘free’ (debian use of term) software can of course refuse to add those snaps (flakpaks, appimages; though I know little about them - do allow proprietary or closed-source software to be delivered using them). This is a design decision.

As for license terms; the GPL or copy-left was purposely written to try and prevent open-source code copyrighted using it, being taken and re-licensed as closed-source code and being passed around, sold etc. Version 1 & 2 were shown to be able to beaten legally, thus the more difficult GPL3 (and subsequent LGPL etc creation).

This restriction however does not apply to other licenses, eg. BSD code is found in macOS & windows; as the BSD license allows corporations to take the code, include it inside their own products & provide it in closed-source or binary formats only (they just cannot remove BSD licenses from source code; which isn’t an issue for microsoft/apple as end-users don’t actually see the code anyway). The same applies with other license terms, however I’m no lawyer/solictor/barrister, but there are many blogs and experts that write or podcast about this issue.

I’m sorry I don’t really understand your issue.

App-image ref:
Ubuntu Repositories :


Ok, i’ll try again. Freetube, Webtorrent and LBRY are under free license. When im trying to install the deb packages the software store says they are under proprietary. Again those apps are actually under free license but the software store app tells me they’re under proprietary. I dont know how to be more clear. I’ve reach out to the LBRY developer and he told me, thats a bug because LBRY is under free license not proprietary license. So why is the software store telling me LBRY is under proprietary license? I hope you understand now.

Here, i just got this from Webtorrent developer:

Him too says theres a software store bug

Which software store?

Which packages? I did not find any of your mentioned packages on

I couldn’t found those packages in ubuntu repositories, so maybe there are some issues with the way the .deb was created. I downloaded FreeTube to look at it ( ) and couldn’t found a /debian folder in which, among others, the license in a machine readable format (copyright) should be placed. Maybe that’s why the system assume it is propietary. More info of copyright file:

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Thank you @hmollercl for taking the time to read and understand the issue.
Thanks for the link, i will share it.

So the misunderstanding here runs a bit deeper. First off, software-center (and lubuntu-software-center, which is technically unrelated) hasn’t been available or even developed since Xenial. Lubutu Xenial is, subsequently, unsupported. So neither of them have anything to do with any of this.

You didn’t say what version of Lubuntu you were using, but if you have the way old Bionic, gnome-software is the culprit. It’s as problematic in this version as it is in Eoan. I think it’s quite possible that it’s not capable of installing a raw .deb file (meaning one not normally installed from the repositories). In Lubuntu, we’ve always had other software for installing such files, namely GDebi for this version.

If you’re in a newer version, including the latest Eoan, plasma-discover is the software center and it can handle installing raw .deb files. I tried installing each and every one of those applications with it and they all installed successfully and ran successfully after installation.

If you had Bionic and upgraded to a newer version (unsupported), you’ll still have gnome-software lingering around, which is perhaps part of the problem.

In any case, if you use the software provided by Lubuntu, you will have no problems.

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Hello @wxl
My bad: Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS x86_64

The problem is not the installation tho. I never had problem installing apps from the software-center
The problem is the license. The License for each apps is supose to be under a free license.
If you try to install them again from the software-center, you’ll notice that they’re all under proprietary.
Thats the issue i came ask help for. From what i’ve heard @hmollercl might have founded the fix.
See here:
Thanks for the help, happy to see you again @wxl

So I installed LBRY with GDebi in 18.04 and there was no problem installing it. But then I looked it up in gnome-software (which, again, is the default app store for that version of Lubuntu) and couldn’t find it at all.

Just for grins, I did the same thing in 16.04 (which is, again, unsupported) but looked in lubuntu-software-center (the default for that version of Lubuntu). Couldn’t find it. Then I installed software-center (this was the last version of Ubuntu it was released on). Couldn’t find it.

For that matter, I did the same thing in 19.10 and looked in plasma-discover (the default for that version of Lubuntu) and guess what? Couldn’t find it. Neither in gnome-software.

That said, I have no idea what you’re doing to even see this issue.

Additionally, I would say that app stores are never considered to be full featured applications for the purposes of managing all types of software and information regarding software. They don’t show all apps, among other things.


Thats my fault, my bad @wxl
Im downloading the deb packages from their github

I downloaded LBRY from the same place and installed it with GDebi or dpkg. Neither produced any errors, warnings, or information about licensing. The question is: what are you doing to see this licensing stuff? What application are you using?

Will make a video for you, wont be long.

I don’t need a video. Just describe it in words.

‘I don’t need a video. Just describe it in words’
I did that multiple times
Heres the video, very short video, dont worry:

That’s part of gnome-software. Weird application, that thing is. So glad we don’t use it anymore. Once 18.04 is unsupported we can say goodbye to it. In any case, THAT is where your bug is. NOT with software-center.

Except that I’m not sure the issue is exactly there, either. If you were to unarchive the .deb files and look at the “License” field in the control/control file you’d find the following results:

  • Webtorrent: (has no “License” field at all)
  • FreeTube: GPL-3.0-or-later

If you look at the GitHub repos you find:

  • Webtorrent: MIT
  • FreeTube: GPL 3.0

If you look at the link Hans sent, specifically about the short name, you will find these should be:

  • Webtorrent: Expat
  • LBRY: Expat
  • FreeTube: GPL-3 (or perhaps GPL-3+)

On the other hand, if we stick to SPDX norms it would be:

  • Webtorrent: MIT
  • FreeTube: GPL-3.0-only (or perhaps GPL-3.0-or-later)

And if we were to stick to the list that appstream-glib (a metadata generator implementing the AppStream specification that GNOME and thus gnome-software uses) uses:

  • Webtorrent: MIT
  • FreeTube: GPL-3.0 (or perhaps GPL-3.0+)

I don’t see that any of these packages have an appstream.xml or metainfo.xml as specified by the AppStream specification and their desktop entries are not readily found (another place metadata could come from). That also may be where the problem lies.

Or it could be a combination of these things. Either way, this illustrates a good point: software in the Ubuntu archives is carefully checked to ensure it meets a variety of different specifications to ensure it works properly with the whole ecosystem of applications available in the archives. When you’re using software from outside the archives, you’re bound to run into trouble. This sort of software is entirely unsupported by Ubuntu.

If you want this to work correctly, you will need to talk to the upstream developers and perhaps have them speak with the gnome-software developers to figure out the appropriate solution. Additionally, you should urge them to get their packages included into Debian. Those packages should get automatically synced to Ubuntu.

I’ll add one more time: 19.10 doesn’t use gnome-software and doesn’t have this problem. 18.04 isn’t supported for much longer (only a few months), after which you’ll be forced to upgrade anyways. Why not avoid all this pain and heartache and just upgrade already?


I was just waiting for the next LTS version.

This bug seem to be Ubuntu related and this shouldnt be happening. Happenend to me while i was using Ubuntu, when i first moved to Linux and now here with Lubuntu.
What im trying to say is, this issue reach to a lot of users. A lot of users still run 18.04 LTS. New users like me that see the license under proprietary does create doubts. We dont need that.
So, doesnt matter if i move to 19.10 or not, this needs to be fixed.
I knew it wasnt related only to Lubuntu. Although, i saw they were wondering what was causing this. So, i thought, why not asking pro’s of system operator :wink:
Thank you for your time and effort, i’ll share your comment and close this issue.
L8r @wxl

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