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Re: defining "distribution" (Re: A few more LPPL concerns)

> From: Jeff Licquia <licquia@debian.org>
> Date: 22 Jul 2002 00:47:39 -0500
> On Sun, 2002-07-21 at 23:10, Boris Veytsman wrote:

> > Exactly. I really do not see the difference between running a program
> > from /usr/local/bin or /afs/whatever/bin/. What is the difference
> > between AFS and NFS besides the technical one?
> There is none.  In case you aren't aware, I feel NFS exporting
> constitutes distribution as well.


> >  My /usr/local/bin can
> > be NFS-exported to hundreds of computers. Even my box can have
> > hundreds logins there. 
> Yes, but in the former case, you are distributing the program to
> hundreds of computers.  In the latter, hundreds of users are running the
> program.

I think this is bizarre. On my home network there are several x86 and
several Sparcs. The x86s share /usr while the Sparcs have their
individual /usr each. You are saying that something is legal to do on
my Sparc but not on x86s? And if I take the decision to take a hard
drive from the Sparc and put on the fileserver, the legality changes?

> And, the GPL says:
> > The act of running the Program is not restricted...
> Therefore, the act of running the program from /usr/local/bin is not
> restricted.

I agree that *running* a program is not restricted -- both by GPL and
LPPL. However, I think that when *I* run a program from
/usr/local/bin, where *you* put it with the explicit intent to make it
available for me to run, there are two acts involved. Namely, *you*
distributed the program, and *I* run it. My actions are not
restricted, but *yours* are restricted by GPL and LPPL. 

Again, imagine a company that put a closed-source derivative of a
GPL'ed program on a company machine and refused to provide sources,
but encouraged employees to run it for company business. Would you
consider this legal? If not, you must recognize the act ot placing the
executables in /usr/local/bin on a machine accessible by others to be
what is it -- a distribution.

> The key is that the license has to spell it out.  The GPL talks about
> "copying, distribution, and modification", but sees fit to not define
> those terms; thus, we can accept a "common sense" definition of the
> terms.  The only clarification offered is the statement that "The act of
> running the Program is not restricted"; this means that "copying,
> distribution, and modification" is not considered to be taking place
> when merely running the Program for the purposes of the license.

I think that LPPL might have this clause as well. The poiunt is, my
"common sense" definition of distribution includes placing the program
in publicly accessed places.

> The LPPL, by contrast, has a different definition of "distribution":
> > Note that in the above, `distribution' of a file means making the
> > file available to others by any means.  This includes, for instance,
> > installing the file on any machine in such a way that the file is
> > accessible by users other than yourself.
> These two definitions are incompatible, and the GPL's is manifestly less
> restrictive than the LPPL's.

Again, I think thay are compatible. However, it is up to David and
Frank to clarify this issue.

Good luck


Either I'm dead or my watch has stopped.
		-- Groucho Marx's last words

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