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Re: The ASP nightmare: a description

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org> writes:

> 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.

OK, so they're running a time-sharing shell server.  Got it.  And
they're distributing a client for this shell, right?  It must be under
the GPL, since it's distributed linked to GPL code.  So in the
absolutely worst case, you sue the ASP to force them to release the
source to the entire platform, since they've advertised it widely as a
single work.

I really do think the existing GPL covers the Nightmare case quite
well, without significantly bothering people who just want to set up a
shell server for some friends.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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