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[Freedombox-discuss] AGPL code for the FreedomBox?

Hello !

On Wed, 2011-03-09 at 11:39 -0500, Robinson Tryon wrote:
> As I understand it, the AGPL requires the distribution of source code
> to public-facing AGPLed network services running on a machine. If I
> take this prototype FreedomBox front-end and run it on my plug server,
> I'll have to provide the source on that machine (or a link elsewhere).
> I'm curious what will happen when the links hard-coded into 100,000
> FreedomBoxes (or someone else's copycat project) go stale.
> The AGPL does make certain allowances for persons to pass-along a
> written source offer, but I think those won't be relevant for this
> project as
> 1) It's unclear that there ever will be a written offer  (my guess is
> that source requirements will generally be met via the network)
> 2) There are conditions restricting this to non-commercial use, and it
> could be difficult to prove that a person's FreedomBox is a wholly
> non-commercial system.

I don't think there is anything in the AGPL restricting commercial use,
please correct me if I'm wrong.

> The AGPL notes that "Regardless of what server hosts the Corresponding
> Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is available for as
> long as needed to satisfy these requirements." Of course, we're
> talking about users here who don't know /var from /etc, and who think
> that their computer OS is "Internet Explorer". They probably don't
> have the tech chops to meet the requirements.
> Is anyone going to take Suzy's grandmother to task for not properly
> abiding by the AGPL? No, probably not (unless Suzy's grandmother's
> name is Grace Hopper), but I believe that it's important that we think
> carefully about any licensing obligations that we're placing on end
> users. If our target audience will be unable to rectify licensing
> problems, I think we should either plan very carefully to make sure
> that end users are never placed in the position of having to deal with
> licensing problems, or we should choose licenses that will not place
> such requirements on end users.

(note: IANAL and my interpretation might not be correct)

As far as I understand the AGPL, the idea is that the program has a
"print source code over the network" feature, and the license forbids to
remove that feature in modified versions providing public network

In other words, Suzy's grandmother should not have anything to worry
about in that regard as the program itself takes care of the license
requirements, provided she does not modify it in a way which changes its
ability to do so :)

> Don't get me wrong here -- I'm quite supportive of putting AGPLed
> software into the FreedomBox -- I just want us to have a solid plan in
> place so that code under the AGPL license is a benefit to our end
> users, not a burden.

I don't think AGPL software would negate any of our goals (as in the
broad collective vision of the freedombox project that seems unanimously
accepted here)


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