I am thinking about software made for Linux that is not free, like CrossOver.

Is askubuntu the right place to discuss such programs?

  • 4
    Why wouldn't it be? We already have questions about Skype, about teamviewer, about all sorts of commercial software.
    – jrg
    Mar 22, 2013 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


Yes, that is supported, and if you look on the site you'll see lots of questions and answers about running proprietary software in Ubuntu.

There is nothing the FAQ to prohibit proprietary software questions, and the FAQ says:

We welcome questions about:


  • Running third-party applications on Ubuntu.

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • There's proprietary software included in Ubuntu, like the Fluendo codecs, and proprietary drivers provided in the Restricted repository component (see Repositories/Ubuntu). Canonical also runs the Partner repository which provides mostly proprietary software (such as Skype and Flash).

  • Proprietary and commercial don't mean the same thing. Proprietary software is non-free (as in freedom). Commercial software is software that is developed and released by a company, typically with an associated profit motive (but this software is sometimes both free and gratis). Commercial and proprietary overlap, but there's plenty of free (as in freedom) commercial software, and plenty of non-commercial proprietary software.

  • 3
    Also, if you're looking for support with your account, or other details that aren't public we can't help you. Mar 22, 2013 at 13:30
  • @MarcoCeppi I'm not sure I understand what that means, in the context of this question. Are you talking about accounts associated with proprietary software licenses? Mar 22, 2013 at 13:33
  • I was simply saying, like in the case of Ubuntu One, if there's a problem with your account, we can't help you there. Billing issues, etc. Mar 22, 2013 at 14:44
  • @MarcoCeppi Ah. Makes sense. Though often there is no account associated with commercial or proprietary software. (Sometimes there is, though.) Mar 22, 2013 at 14:45
  • The Fluendo codecs are not included in Ubuntu by default. Also, many codecs are free/libre but patent-encumbered, and I wouldn't label those as proprietary.
    – Flimm
    Mar 22, 2013 at 18:25
  • @Flimm I would not consider a codec proprietary just because it's patent encumbered somewhere, either. (So, agreed.) But Fluendo is actually closed-source. Furthermore, we don't just support software that is installed by default. That would exclude the vast majority of software that the Ubuntu project or Canonical has officially made available for Ubuntu (which includes Fluendo, but thousands of other packages too). And we don't only support that software, either--we help people compile other programs/libraries from source, and we help people install proprietary software like MATLAB. Mar 22, 2013 at 18:47
  • @Eliah Kagan: When people say "included in Ubuntu", I take that to mean included in one of the DVDs, not everything in the universe, multiverse and partner repos.
    – Flimm
    Mar 23, 2013 at 12:48
  • @Flimm That is not what many people mean. Also, it seems kind of silly to argue that any package in Main or Restricted is not "included in Ubuntu." Those packages are part of the core OS that Canonical Ltd. takes responsibility for maintaining. So there's really nothing especially reasonable or elegant about that particular meaning of "included in Ubuntu." I consider any package in any of the officially provided repositories (including universe and multiverse) to be included in Ubuntu, and this usage is pretty common. Mar 23, 2013 at 12:49
  • @Eliah Kagan: I am very surprised by your opinion, and I disagree that it's common usage. Would you say that Ubuntu One is included in Android, since it's on Google Play, or that Chrome is included in iPhone or iOS, since it's in the Apple App Store?
    – Flimm
    Mar 23, 2013 at 12:54
  • @Flimm I'm not familiar enough with the procedures for getting software into Google Play or the Apple App Store, so I don't know. Possibly. But that is still radically different from the situation in Ubuntu. Software in Main, Restricted, Universe, and Multiverse is there because it is put there by contributors to the Ubuntu project (though much of it is contributed by merging from Debian--the merge itself is carried out by the Ubuntu project). This software is supported on Launchpad, and bugs are reported, triaged by Ubuntu triagers, and fixed or elevated/merged by Ubuntu developers! Mar 23, 2013 at 12:58
  • @Flimm Furthermore, the way software in the official repositories is included in Ubuntu is that it is officially approved for inclusion and then is assigned an Ubuntu package maintainer, who makes the necessary changes to include it. At minimum, they decide what build options it is going to have (though sometimes this is the same as on Debian). Then the software is built on Launchpad to produce official Ubuntu .deb files that are different from anything produced by the upstream developers or by anyone not affiliated with Ubuntu and Canonical. This seems "part of Ubuntu" to me. Mar 23, 2013 at 13:01
  • @EliahKagan: If you are talking to someone who is very familiar with open source and distros, then yes, your usage makes sense, on a par with "included in Debian". But in a world where most people are familiar with the Apple App Store, Google Play, Firefox extensions and what have you, than "included in Ubuntu" would mean on the default installation to most people. Even though Ubuntu is closer to Debian in reality, most people are more familiar with Apple, Google and Microsoft's online repos, and so we should use language which is less confusing to those people, Ask Ubuntu's target audience.
    – Flimm
    Mar 23, 2013 at 13:10
  • @Flimm Most people would consider the Software Center to correspond to the Apple App Store and Google Play. I am not asserting that all the paid apps in the Software Center should necessarily be considered part of Ubuntu. Mar 23, 2013 at 13:12
  • @EliahKagan: are most (potential) Ubuntu users really aware that's there's a difference between the universe/multiverse repos, and the private repos activated by the Software Centre? The Software Centre program does a lot to try and hide this distinction.
    – Flimm
    Mar 23, 2013 at 13:15
  • let us continue this discussion in chat Mar 23, 2013 at 13:16

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