[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: The ASP nightmare: a description (was Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes - constructive suggestion!)

Jeremy Hankins said:
> Imagine a world with omnipresent connectivity, and a lot of copylefted
> software.  Someone decides that they could make the browser into a
> platform (remember Netscape & the MS antitrust trial).  So they take
> commonly available Free software packages and stick them behind a web
> interface.  Gcc, tetex, emacs, etc.  They lock them down so that no one
> can access the filesystem of the server directly via these
> packages (and thus gain access to the binaries, say), and charge a
> monthly fee for access.  Maybe they provide a sort of stripped down
> client computer with a browser (possibly all proprietary) that is set up
> to use their server for all your computing needs.

This world can be here today.  Think "thin client" or X station.

> Take this to the logical extreme where everybody starts doing this and
> every Free program has several ASP versions, and you have the ASP
> nightmare.

How is this different (from a licensing perspective) from a
publicly-accessible shell server?  Assume for a minute that all the GPL'd
binaries on the server are chmod a-r, so no user can make a copy of the
binaries (just to avoid the distribution issue).  This is exactly the line
of thinking that caused problems with the LPPL 1.2 (where their definition
of distribution included making software available on a shared system)

If I set up a server that listens for simple TCP connections and searches
for "joe" in the data stream (with the following in /etc/inetd.conf):
255 stream tcp wait nobody /usr/bin/grep /usr/bin/grep -i joe
does that mean that a shell script that includes "| netcat $host -p 255 |"
is linked to a GPL app?  Or does it just mean that netcat is linked to a
GPL  app?  (If the latter is true, then any network-aware program may be a
GPL violation)


Reply to: