GPL clients for non-free services
> On Wed, Mar 12, 2003 at 10:02:23AM -0800, Terry Hancock wrote:
> > 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.
On Wed, 12 Mar 2003, Steve Langasek wrote:
> The main point to consider here is the intent of the person providing
> the GPL client. Remember that the GPL says it is ALWAYS ok to create
> non-free derivatives of GPL works, if you don't distribute them at all.
> This means that, even if you regard a remote website as an RPC call,
> when the *user* combines the browser and server by typing in a URL or
> following a link, no GPL violation can have occurred.
I'm confused - are you talking about GPLv2 or the theoretical GPLv3 with
some way to close "non-recipient user loophole". The current GPL is
pretty clear IMO. The possible changes are very murky.
Let's look at the right to distribute a GPL client for a non-free RPC
service. For instance, can I give out a copy of Lynx with a default
homepage of http://microsoft.com?
My reading of GPLv2 is that this is perfectly fine UNLESS it's distributed
"as part of a whole" with the non-free code. Since the code behind
microsoft.com isn't shipped as part of the modified Lynx, the GPL allows
me to distribute.
If I distribute the server itself, and include a modified Lynx as a way to
access it, then I AM in violation if the server isn't avaialable under the
GPL as well.
> not necessarily a GPL interpreter. There are some hairy issues with GPL
> interpreters that could indeed prevent Debian from shipping
> GPL-incompatible scripts together with GPL interpreters, I believe.
I hadn't put much thought into this before, but I believe you're right.
Unless the interpreter includes additional freedoms to distribute along
with non-free scripts, the whole work (interpreter + non-GPL-compatible
scripts) is probably not distributable. The interpreter is, and the
script is, but not together.
Mark Rafn email@example.com <http://www.dagon.net/>