Re: The Helixcommunity RPSL is not DFSG-free
>>>>> "rl" == Rob Lanphier <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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
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. :)
Andrea Glorioso email@example.com
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"