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Re: Affero GPL vs others licenses

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: Affero GPL vs others licenses
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 03:13:01 +0000
User-agent: Heirloom mailx 12.2 01/07/07

Davi Leal <address@hidden> wrote:
> Yes, all depends about you want.  When we chose the license we wanted to be 
> sure that if others get the source code and modify it, we are allowed to get 
> such modifications too.  When we talk about a webapp, GPL v2 does not 
> guarantee it due to there is not binary distributed to the user but a webapp 
> whose source is installed at an internet server.

In any situation, GPLv2 doesn't guarantee you get modifications if
others get the source code and modify it.  Also, GPLv2 doesn't
guarantee any user gets the source except those who get the binary.
It is not use which gets you the source: it is getting the binary.

Do you use the GPL for your non-webapps, or do you use some licence
with a required publication or required upstream contribution clause?

I like the GPL and don't see the so-called webapp loophole as
significantly different to the somebody-else's-computer loophole.

> > Affero GPL gives source to all users, whereas GNU GPL gives source to
> > all binary recipients.  Affero GPL adds use restrictions, which I
> > think are a pain because they limit your freedom to adapt the program
> > to your needs,
> It does not limit your freedom to adapt the program to your needs, it just 
> force you to release such modifications, as the GPL v2 does when talking 
> about binary distributed applications.

It does limit possible adaptations.  For example, try adapting a
program under Affero GPL with 2d triggered to a networked system where
HTTP cannot be used for some reason.

Also, 'it's trivial to get a copy of the program, not modify it at all,
and setup a wholly separate filtering proxy to ensure no one actually
can activate the "immediate transmission by HTTP of the complete

'If the license was effective, and it covered a large program, you
wouldn't be able to use it on small sites since the "request source"
would be a trivial denial of service attack -- if not on your machine
or connection, potentially on your wallet for those of us who have to
pay for traffic.'

'It doesn't work well in the general case, either. Taking the RPSL as
an example; if everything (linux, glibc, everything) were licensed
under it, you'd be required to make the source code to the entire
system available as soon as you give anyone else an ssh account. It's
also unstable: if you have to apply a security patch to your webserver
yourself because Debian is running a day late and you're getting a bit
paranoid, you suddenly find yourself in a position of having
externally deployed some modifications, and as well as checking the
security fix worked, you'll suddenly have to find some way to make the
source code publically available too.'

'These clauses fundamentally aim to be restrictions on use, which
we've never allowed in free software' [Anthony Towns, 7 Mar 2003]

You may also be interested that David Turner (who has often answered
address@hidden to me) wrote in March 2003 "If there's no way to rewrite
the license to fix this, then I would assume that (2)(d) won't end up
in GPLv3."

> As usual, it is just my current personal opinion.

Understood and same here.

> P.S.: MJ, sorry for the previous email which was out with the team address :P

Now, you see, digital signatures are harder to do accidentally... ;-P

MJ Ray - see/vidu
Somerset, England. Work/Laborejo:
IRC/Jabber/SIP: on request/peteble.

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