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Re: Barriers to an ASP loophole closure

On Tue, 2003-03-11 at 11:58, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:

> > Only when you're playing the game of trying to push the definition of
> > "user" as far as you can push it.  And that's a perfectly legitimate
> > and good thing to do when you're discussing a license text, but in
> > doing so you shouldn't forget that there's also an ordinary, every-day
> > definition that doesn't get pushed so far.
> When I say you're a user of router software, I'm not pushing the
> definition of user any further than you are when you say I'm a user of
> PHP-nuke or Apache.

Here, I think Apache is closer to router software than to PHPNuke. 
PHPNuke is distinguishable because it's not designed to do some standard
thing -- instead,  users choose to visit PHPNuke sites in part because
of their specific, unique features.  As an example, I read Luke Francl's
blog more than I read Teresa Nielsen-Hayden's.  Why?  Because Luke
Francl users software which supports RSS output, so I can get it

On the other hand, what web server someone uses affects my usage of the
site not at all.

> > The ordinary, every-day use of the term is fuzzy, acknowledges
> > inconsistencies, and works anyway.  Ask the next guy you meet that
> > uses computers but doesn't care about licensing whether they're using
> > apache when they look at apache.org.  Do you honestly think he'd say
> > yes?  Or the NYT's typesetting software when they read the paper?
> I think he'd say he doesn't use either.  But then when I asked him
> what he used to read his mail, he'd either say "Oh, I use Netscape" or
> "Oh, I use Yahoo! mail".  I've observed a number of the nontechnical
> users I support failing to distinguish between their OS, browser, home
> page, and other web sites.  I'm not sure we should be guided by such
> opinions, though: it would be nice to meet the expectations of the
> uninformed masses, but given the choice of their expectations, which
> are often internally inconsistent, and the expectations of those who
> will actually be modifying or distributing code, I'd rather satisfy
> the latter.

I think you present a false dichotomy here -- there's no reason we can't
come up with sane definitions of user, and apply them consistently for
DFSG-compatibility rulings.

> In particular, it seems to me that drawing a technical distinction
> among users (i.e., to say that users at a console or over an IP
> network are users who get source, but users via sneakernet or over a
> voice telephone link are not) is unwise.

I think it makes a lot of sense, actually, if it makes the distinction
we want to make, although it would be best to distinguish the technical
cases with non-technical distinctions ("preferred form for modification"
is a good example of this).  

> Oooh.  Neat point.  So if I access a site -- even just far enough to
> try to authenticate myself and be refused, then use that refusal in
> some computation -- I can demand access to the source.  That's no
> good.  This very quickly hits the case where "If you make it available
> to anyone, you must make it available to everyone," which I think we
> all agree is not acceptable.

It actually turns out that the current AGPL does the right thing in this
specific case.

-Dave Turner                     Stalk Me: 617 441 0668

"On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters 
of principle, stand like a rock." -Thomas Jefferson

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