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Re: The Show So Far

On Wednesday 12 March 2003 01:12 am, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 12:49:19PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > The "ASP loophole", it seems to me, is merely another technical means
> > for a dynamic link, and should be subject to exactly the same
> > requirements as for all other kinds of dynamic linking.
> That would imply that all GPL clients for which there are no GPL servers
> are undistributable. I don't believe that interpretation has any legal
> justification, either; there is simply no copying or modification
> taking place.

If I may inject a utilitarian user-perspective point -- I think it would be a 
crushing blow to open source users if licenses started banning the ability to 
use GPL clients with proprietary web services and vice-versa.  

Which it sounds like you'd be doing if you were to define, say, XML-RPC as a 
dynamic linking process.  In fact this is getting into the client-server 
model, and you're starting to say that the GPL denies you the right to look 
at http://www.microsoft.com with a free web browser, or http://www.fsf.org 
with IE.  What's the difference?  The distinction between a web protocol 
(HTTP) and an RPC API (XML-RPC) is somewhat artificial, and definitely 
legally fuzzy!

Now suppose I create a proprietary web site on a CD (not so popular anymore, 
but still has uses), and I want to put Galeon, say, with sources on the disk 
so you can read my site.  If it's a static site (I gather) you'll say this is 
okay, but if the site has any active content (say a binary CGI), then you're 
going to start saying I'm actually linking the code?

What about interpreters?  I was under the impression that a Free interpreter 
could run non-free code and vice-versa.  But that is even a tighter binding 
than these RPC issues.

I don't know about the philosophical purity of my POV, but this kind of 
restriction would make me *feel* very non-free in using the software -- 
either as the potential CD distributor or as the person who now has to 
download the browser from somewhere else because license restrictions forbid 
putting it on the CD with the data / web application.  So I would hate to see 
such an interpretation take hold.


Terry Hancock ( hancock at anansispaceworks.com )
Anansi Spaceworks  http://www.anansispaceworks.com

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