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Recently, I have seen Flameshot labeled as proprietary on the Ubuntu Software Center:

Screenshot

(german text, "Proprietär" means "proprietary")

Is Flameshot mislabeled on the Software Center, as it's official website links to a repository which specifies GPLv3 as Flameshot's license ?

  • The labels in the Ubuntu Software Center are not accurate at all and should not be trusted at all. – Brandin Mar 18 at 13:03
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These labels are only as good as the metadata that goes into them. When the license is unknown, it is reported as “proprietary” as a fallback.

The issue is known as #398 but it has not yet been fixed. My guess it that the software contains assets under the Free Art license, which doesn't have an SPDX identifier, so the license metadata is not machine-readable. Other licenses in the Appstream metadata also use the wrong identifier, which is reported by the Debian Appstream Linter.

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  • Metadata, perhaps. In my usage of Ubuntu SW Center, it seems like only 10% of the labels have shown any effort to even try to be accurate. In my opinion, they should have not even enabled the feature if they didn't even bother to check how accurate it is. – Brandin Mar 18 at 13:04
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Is Flameshot mislabeled on the Software Center?

Yes. The Ubuntu Software Center does not label software licenses accurately at all. In addition, it does not make any distinction between different licenses such as GPL, LGPL, etc. In short, you cannot trust what the SW Center displays at all as far as licenses are concerned.

For this specific case, as you have pointed out, the official web site:

https://flameshot.js.org/#/

Clearly links to a repository which clearly identifies the license as GPLv3. In addition, GitHub also correctly identified the license as GPLv3 as well (but even that result is not definitive; since it is just determined automatically).

It is really disappointing that a popular distribution like Ubuntu would pay so little attention to such an issue. In my opinion, given that their reporting of licenseing is so inaccurate in the titles they have labeled in their Software Center, it would have been better not to display any information at all regarding licensing, rather than to risk displaying inaccurate information about a license in a title. Clearly they have chosen that it is better to display "something" than to display nothing at all, and quite often, this information is wrong, as you have pointed out in this case. But in my experience I have encountered many such cases like this.

Their choice to display licensing information for all software titles, which results in inaccurate information being displayed in about 70-80% of cases, does a complete disservice to the open source software community. If you use Ubuntu SW Center, please try to totally ignore any information you see regarding the "license" of any software titles you see. Maybe it happens to be correct by luck, but most likely it is wrong.

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