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Re: Should the ASP loophole be fixed? (Re: The Affero license)

David Turner <novalis@novalis.org> writes:

> When you say "providing a service", you are inadvertently concealing a
> significant difference between printing an invoice for a customer, and
> the customer interacting with the software.

Excuse me?  What is "printing an invoice" but "interacting with the
invoice-printing software"?  Or is it that you think "compiling"
counts as interacting with the software and "printing" doesn't?  Is
this only because the FSF distributes GCC but not lpd?

> I don't think that's true.  d-l accepts all sorts of hoops, such as:
> 1. requiring that modified source be distributed as patches+original
> (so, no public CVS, since cvs co gives fully-merged source).  

We have a general consensus that this was a hoop we should not have

> 2. requiring that license text be maintained in 
> 	a. code (GPL, etc) or
> 	b. doco (Apache, etc)

This is concordant with merely having a license at all, and it's
deemed not to be a genuine pain.

> 3. requiring alternate names for 
> 	a. executables (Perl) or 
> 	b. packages (Apache)

Again, this is not a genuine pain--*provided* that the names are
non-functional elements.  When the names start to be functional (see
the LaTeX annoyance) we *do* start to cry foul.

> 4. disallowing certain people from copying, modifying, or distributing
> altogether on the basis of their past actions (IBM public license
> section 7 [iirc], GPL section 4)

Already elsewhere I have said that this simply doesn't happen in
practice, and moreover, it's not something that can be compelled,
because you can avoid it merely by compliance.  The question here is
"if you comply, is this a restriction" and the answer is: "no".

> 5. requires altering notices in each source file (LGPL section 3, and
> yes, FSF knows it's a bug)

Deemed not a genuine pain---and generally ignored in favor of
ChangeLogs, whether rightly or not.

> For instance, some people think it's OK for primary copyright holders
> (whatever that means) to demand source code access.  Some people think
> users should be able to.  Some think only distributees should be able
> to, and some (Theo de Raadt comes to mind) think that nobody should.  

Note that "must serve significant free software interests" is part of
a conjunction together with "must not be a genuine pain".  No matter
how great the interest, if it causes a genuine pain, and is an
infringement of freedom, then it should be out.


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