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Re: The Helixcommunity RPSL is not DFSG-free

>>>>> "rl" == Rob Lanphier <robla@real.com> writes:

    rl> To be clear, it pretty much already says that.  Specifically:


    rl> So, the gulf here is not as wide as some may think.  I believe
    rl> I understand the beef; proponents of the "Chinese dissident"
    rl> litmus test would prefer that source code only be distributed
    rl> to those that receive the binaries or, in this case, receive
    rl> the services rendered.  We're evaluating some language there.

Well,   I  can see that    the RPSL talks  about  making modifications
"publicly   available", which is IMHO   cumbersome.  The GPL does not.
Moreover,  the  distinction   between  "binaries"  and "services"   is
relevant, because GPLv2  (don't know about v3)  doesn't  oblige you to
redistribuite your  source code modifications  if you use the modified
binary to erogate  network services (for   example, I don't  think I'm
obliged to distribute  my patches to a GPL  web server just because  I
use it  to distribute web  content).  I could  stand corrected on this
issue, however.

So even if  you removed the   "publicly available" clause  (and oblige
users to redistribute modifications only to recipients of the modified
binaries) you still have the problem  that the chinese dissident would
be obliged  to furnish  his/her   modifications to  everyone who  (for
example) looks  to  a streaming  video  s/he has produced.   And  this
means, modulo using Freenet :), that  the anonymous dissident won't be
anonymous for long.

I think  everything  would be much  simpler  if  you just  removed the
"publicly  available"  clause, and   turned  it  into   "available  to
recipients of the modified binaries" (and not services).

I have the impression  that you are trying  to avoid "evil" parties to
modify RPSL-covered code  and keep their  modifications private, while
still erogating services using their modifications.  But my experience
is that  those who understand how  libre  software works usually "play
nice",   and that  it's   usually easier   to  have  modifications and
improvements fed back into your codebase if you don't make people feel
like they are obliged to do so.

Closing the ASP loophole - like you are trying to  do by talking about
"services"  erogation in addition  to simple binaries "distribution" -
is a good thing.  But I think that you, as a company, should encourage
the "giving back" instead of  forcing people to  do so.  You could  do
that by furnishing infrastructural help for the  project (like you are
already doing),  test  machines, and  so   on.   This  way, you'll  be
recognized as the "lead" for  libre audio/video streaming and you will
get  modifications back in not because  people are forced, but because
they think it's worth.  In the long run  it's much better for Helix to
thrive (the fact that  some licenses don't  allow you to copy programs
hasn't but an end to piracy, nor is it going to do it soon).

What do other people here think?  What does the FSF think?

PS does anybody  know why    the  "chinese dissident"  test has   that
"chinese" sticked to it?  I find it a bit simplicistic. :)

Best regards,

Andrea Glorioso               andrea.glorioso@centrotemporeale.it
Centro Tempo Reale                http://www.centrotemporeale.it/
AGNULA/DeMuDi Technical Manager   http://www.[demudi|agnula].org/
"There's no free expression without control on the tools you use"

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