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Re: GR proposal: the AGPL does not meet the DFSG (take 2)

Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> * David Claughton <dave@eclecticdave.com> [091113 21:42]:
>> Now this could certainly involve more extensive modifications than you
>> might otherwise want to do, and you might well decide it's not worth the
>> effort.  However I'm still not entirely convinced it makes the license
>> non-free.
> If the license makes running a locally modified version not worth the
> efford, that is a very strong indication it is not free at all.

Well, as long as it's not on a public server and you don't distribute
your version you are free to do what you want with the code AFAICT.

> My biggest problem is still that the licence forbits sloppy code. Not
> every modification is suitable for everybody. For example never having
> passwords in your code or other details about your infrastructure you do
> not want published is a sign of good code. Being required to implement
> some configuration file handling to keep your changes out of the source
> so those details are not published basicly means not having the right to
> do quick and dirty modifications[2].

I agree this makes the license problematic and might make developers
choose to avoid working on AGPL code - however as I said above, all
licenses put some limits on what you can modify, some more than others,
at least if you want to distribute the result.

> And without the right to do quick and
> dirty modifications you cannot speak about a right to modify in my eyes
> at all.

No, I don't agree with this.  Don't get me wrong, the requirement that
you have to make potentially large time-consuming modifications to one
part of the code in order to make a one-line change elsewhere doesn't
entirely sit well with me either.  I just don't think this is sufficient
to make the license non-free.

> Let's take this to some extreme: What about software with a license that
> forbids you running it unless you published your changes in a
> peer-reviewed scientific journal?
> I hope we all agree that at least that would be non-free. 

Yes, that would breach DFSG 5 and possibly 6 as not everyone would be
able to do that.  However the AGPL does not limit who can make
modifications so this isn't a good analogy.



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