User:Mardus/Firefox Personas

Personas is a feature in Mozilla Firefox that allows users to adorn their browser user interface according to their preferences with choice images from (a.m.o). There are thousands of such Personas; a search for Personas pages containing the word wood yielded 1249 results alone as of 21.02.2013.

Unfortunately, a very large number of all Personas are published under a Creative Commons license with the Non-Commercial attribute (CC-BY-NC), which makes screenshots with these Personas unfit for Wikimedia Commons.

A very large amount of all Firefox Personas at also suffer from license abuse (Creative Commons licenses slapped to very many published Personas); primarily because almost all images are not sourced, and then those that are, are not sourced properly, with poor attribution and missing permissions information. This so smells of Flickrwashing. All screenshots with such Personas risk deletion.

Personas with free imagery

Few Personas give their images attribution. So far, I have found only six Personas which contain images that originally have licenses allowing commercial use, with more-or-less satisfying attribution and permission information. CC-BY-SA-NC licenses were given to some of these a.m.o Personas by their creators.

All in all, Creative Commons licenses are not compatible with GPL (with the exception of CC-0),[1] as they conflict with common Free Software licenses: CC-BY-SA requires that derivative works be licensed under the same license.

Some Firefox source code is tri-licensed under MPL, GPL and LGPL; and since January 3, 2012, Mozilla released the GPL-compatible MPL 2.0,[2] and with the release of Firefox 13 on June 5, 2012, Mozilla used it to replace the tri-licensing scheme.[3]

A Persona could still essentially be considered a piece of software, and giving Personas Creative Commons licenses creates lots of problems because of incompatibility with GPL, as they can't be included in software distributions.

Current practice

Text in Wikimedia projects is licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0, and screenshots of software showing said text and even images have so far been admissible to Wikimedia Commons. But that mainly concerns material shown in the browser viewport, and not the browser itself.

Free Persona

So far, the only Persona I found that is closest to more-or-less proper free software licensing is Kubuntu Emotion, which, unfortunately, still has the CC-BY-NC tag :/

To create a free screenshot with a Persona

For a completely free screenshot, the original image must have proper attribution, a free software license (GPL, LGPL, X11, BSD-new, etc.) or must be licensed as CC-0 or Public Domain. Consequently, the resulting Persona must also be given one of those licenses.


  2. Announcing Version 2.0 of the Mozilla Public License. Mozilla (2012-01-03). Retrieved on June 6, 2012.
  3. "Firefox 13 released – now using SPDY by default". The H Open Source. Heinz Heise. Retrieved on June 6, 2012.