Re: defining "distribution" (Re: A few more LPPL concerns)
On Sun, 2002-07-21 at 20:18, Boris Veytsman wrote:
> > From: Jeff Licquia <email@example.com>
> > Date: 21 Jul 2002 18:07:50 -0500
> > On Sun, 2002-07-21 at 16:49, Boris Veytsman wrote:
> > > This is the root of our disagreement. I think that a sysadmin that put
> > > a changed copy of latex.fmt in the $TEXFORMATS directory to be used by
> > > his users, *distributes* a changed LaTeX. You think he does not; the
> > > problem with your theory is that it undermines both the intentions of
> > > LPPL AND GPL. You see, there is no reasonable difference between a
> > > sysadmin who put a closed copy of a GPL'ed program in /usr/bin, and a
> > > cunning manager who made this program NFS-accessible "for execution
> > > only" by the people paying a fee.
> > Sure there is. In one case, a single computer can use the resulting
> > binary; in the other, multiple computers can, after paying an access
> > fee.
> What do you mean by "single computer"? A system administrator might
> install a copy of a program on an AFS drive, where it can be executed
> by any of thousand computers in a campus-wide network. Note that
> people on this network might pay a fee to connect (e.g. tuition paid
> by students in a university).
> If you allow this to be done, than anybody can easily circumvent GPL
> by setting up a "virtual campus network" with the sole intention of
> executing closed programs, effectively stolen from the GPL communinty,
> by his paying customers.
You're right, and there may be software you can't install on your AFS
drive in this instance, because you're "distributing" software to those
thousand computers. This is irrespective of whether any of those
thousand computers actually execute the software or not.
This could even apply if you have a license to the software; it may be
OK to install the software in /usr/local/bin, but not in
For GPL software, you just have to make sure that any of the
thousand-or-so computer owners can get to the source for those
programs. The easiest way to do that would be to export the source
trees via AFS; they could also stick a written offer in their student
handbook, or whatever.
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