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I thought that all applications in Ubuntu repositories are free, but today I wanted to install rar package and its description says, that this is shareware and I could use it (without registration) only 40 days.

Are there more packages like rar? How can I find the licence of programs in repositories?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Most of Ubuntu is free software (meaning not just that you don't have to pay for it, but also that you can distribute it, study its source, and modify it).

However Ubuntu also includes a small amount of non-free software, in separate components: restricted (non-free, supported) and multiverse (non-free, not supported). These are programs that may be distributed over the Internet at no charge, but have restrictions that make them non-free. A prime example is drivers for devices which do not have fully-featured free drivers.

You can tell a package is non-free because it's from the restricted or multiverse repository. In Synaptic, check the “Section” in the ”Common” tab of the package properties. Exactly what restrictions are on the package has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Most can be used and redistributed by anyone, but modifications are not allowed and the source code may not be available. A few, such as rar, have restrictions even on use. Once the package is installed, you can always find its license in /usr/share/doc/$packagename/copyright. On packages.ubuntu.com, check the “Copyright File” link in the right-hand column.

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The rar package is from the multiverse repository, which contains:

Software that is not free. (source)

If you wish to use only free software, only use the Main and Universe repositories. (And if you want 100% pure free, use a distribution from this list)

The licence of any installed package can be found at /usr/share/doc/#{package}/copyright, so /usr/share/doc/rar/copyright for rar. You can also find a copy of the copyright file by following the link at the right of the package page. Here is the direct link for the rar copyright file.

The 40 day thing doesn't mean that it will automatically uninstall but the licence says you need to buy a licence when you have used it for 40 days. I'd just ignore this.

Even better than potentially doing something illegal - don'tmake rar archives. There really is no reason to. If you wan't a cross platform format supported almost everywhere out of the box, use zip.

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Hello josef,

Generally speaking you use the program unrar to extract RARS. A free version exists (unrar-free) but it has some limitations.

Note that unrar is non-free because it contains proprietary code, not because you have to pay for it.

I believe you're using the Ubuntu Software Center, you might find the unrar program by searching unarchiver. If you don't find anything, use the Synaptic Package Manager (System -> Administration).

But the quickest way to install it would be to open a terminal and type :

sudo apt-get install unrar
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