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Re: PHPNuke license

On Thu, Mar 06, 2003 at 04:26:08PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Here's a disastrous consequence.  [...]

In this context (but not directly on-topic), I'd like to tell about
a little service we had running at Wapit, where I worked on Kannel[1].
It was a limited facility for web browsing via SMS.  You'd send it a
message like "www debian.org" and it would fetch http://debian.org/,
strip out all the tags, and send the contents back to you, in the
form of one or more SMS messages.  There was a limit of 9 messages
for one page, I think.
(Example of actual use: you're trying to go to a party, but you've
forgotten the route and the host's contact information.  You know
the host's nickname, however, so you can find their homepage at iki.fi.)

Over here an SMS message can only hold 140 bytes, usually holding
160 7-bit characters.  If you want more, you have to send more of them,
and generally pay for each one.  The typical GPL blurb would use up
a whole message, costing money (probably around $0.05) and annoying
the user.

There's lots of other things you can do with SMS, and probably all of
them are more useful than this :)  We thought of a service for randomly
selecting a restaurant to go to with a group of friends, based on
various parameters.  Other companies have implemented various games,
which are definitely "interactive".  There's a service for particpitating
in IRC-like chatting systems, where users use SMS to send and an idle
TV channel to read.  I think it's clear that the GPL 2(c) requirement
is a real problem in such contexts, and the Affero "send the whole source"
requirement is completely impossible.

I'll stop here, before I write several more pages about WAP (which
uses HTTP directly), and browsing with small-screen low-bandwidth
PDAs :-)

I think that the GPL 2(c) and proposed 2(d) requirements create
significant technical problems in some contexts, and that for
that reason they make the software less free.

Richard Braakman

[1] Kannel is a free WAP and SMS gateway.  See http://www.kannel.org/

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