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Re: The Show So Far

On Tue, 2003-03-11 at 20:34, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> David Turner <novalis@novalis.org> writes:
> > > Why the GPL is free
> > > -------------------
> > > 
> > > But then why is the forced distribution of source ok which the GPL
> > > requires?  Because this actually augments the freedom of the recipient
> > > of the code.  
> > 
> > Doesn't this depend on which "recipient" you're talking about?  Note
> > that sections (2)(b), (3), (6), and (7) reduce the options of
> > distributors, for the purpose of increasing the options of
> > distributees.  
> I'm talking about the *recipient of the code*.  Was that somehow
> unclear where I said "the recipient of the code"?

Yes. See above.

> > (2)(d) reduces the options of those who modify, for the purpose of
> > increasing the options of users.  The cases are analagous (although I do
> > not argue that they are identical).
> Those users don't get any additional options, because unlike the
> recipient of a binary, they have no ability whatsoever to change the
> source and substitute the new version for the old.  

Consider a Tivo, which uses a checksumming strategy to prevent the
installation of new versions of even the Free Software pieces of their
system.  Users who get the source code can still run it on other systems
(or crack the checksumming system). 

There are freedoms that you get from having the source code other than
replacing the version you're interacting with.  You can learn how
algorithms work.  You can incorporate it into other software systems.

> > And isn't the ASP thing just a technical trick to keep users from
> > modifying the software they use?
> Yes indeed!  That's why it's already prohibited by the GPL.

The more I think about it, the more I think that it's probably not. 
Otherwise, why would Eben bother writing (2)(d)? 

It would be worth a try, maybe, but not worth staking the bank on. 

> > But this interpretation does nothing to close the ASP loophole, in which
> > no software is distributed at all.  For instance, a modified version of
> > GCC hooked up to the web, in which you upload your software for
> > compilation, and download the compiled version.
> I do wish people wouldn't do that, but I can't fathom why it's an
> infringement on anybody's freedom under the four freedoms.

It seems to me to be a serious infringement on the freedoms of users.

> If I had the source for that modified version, and I changed it, how
> could I now use it?

You could run it on your own machine.

>  (Think google here.)  

Someone already answered the google question for you -- it saves you the
20k on a Google Search Appliance for your intranet.  

-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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