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Re: The ASP nightmare: a description

Jeremy Hankins said:
> "Joe Moore" <joemoore@iegrec.org> writes:
>> Jeremy Hankins said:
>>> 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)
> I don't know.  Is it?  Should it be?  I'm uncertain.

I personally don't see a difference between a public-utility type service
that gives CPU resources to remote users by running ASP code and a
public-utility type service that gives CPU resources to remote users by
running shell code.  (at least from a licensing standpoint)

> I think that so long as the source for these programs are generally
> available there's no real problem.  The problem shows up when someone
> uses this technique (which could be a web server or a shell server) to
> make the programs available for use but intentionally restricts access
> to source & binaries.

Well, the current (and probably future) version of the GPL requires a lot
more than "generally available".  It requires equivalent access (at least)

>                        This hasn't happened with shell accounts (to my
> knowledge, at least) and probably wont, since shell users would
> generally prefer the shell to be local, creating a large hurdle for
> anybody who wants to take bash "proprietary" in this way.

Maybe not even proprietary, but do most shell servers (like those
available to DDs for testing) make the source of all their programs
available according to the terms of the GPL?[0]

(Remember that you don't have to have a web browser/ftp client to use the
shell server, so you may not be able to get to http.us.debian.org)

I think this is could be a huge sticking point if the next GPL defines
distribution as including ASPs.  Certainly a shell account would be
considered an "Application Service".

[0] I don't think the OS exception in 3 would apply here, since the OS
component(s) "accompanies the executable"

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