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Re: The Show So Far

On Thursday 13 March 2003 03:45 pm, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Terry Hancock <hancock@anansispaceworks.com> writes:
> > On Wednesday 12 March 2003 04:34 pm, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > > Right, so here's what I'll do.  I'll create a non-free derivative of
> >  [...]
> > I know you meant this as a code hijacking  horror story. But I don't see 
> > wrongdoing or problems with this.  By definition, you are providing the 
> > computing hardware to run the above service. That costs money and is 
> > as a service.  You have a right to charge for that alone, IMHO.
> I don't think it's a horror story at all.  Have you been paying
> attention to my recent posts?

Well, actually I guess I got kind of muddled. I did notice since then that 
you appeared to be arguing "my side". ;-)

To summarize my own opinion (as of now):

1) The GPLv2 doesn't require release of a server just because it's used by a 
GPL client.  If it's remote, then this is because it's not released.  But I'm 
not even sure that it can be applied if it's shipped together. The GPL allows 
"mere aggregations" of software with different licenses. And the server might 
also fall under the "major component" exception (is that the right wording?) 
that the operating system can.  Basically I find the idea that an RPC call 
makes a "combined work" to be wrong.  To be honest I always thought the 
dynamic linking concept was already getting fuzzy, so extending to RPC and/or 
client-server models is going way too far.

2) The GPLv3 ought not to try to take away this freedom, because a) it 
shouldn't take away more freedoms in general, b) it runs afoul of "fair use", 
c) it might seriously stifle innovation while having few practical benefits. 

3) DFSG freeness of such a license I have no real opinion on.  I think it's 
"less-free", but whether it's sufficiently so to de-bar it from Debian is not 
something I feel qualified to address.  I don't personally like it, though.

4) I would like to see ideas for incentives to encourage people to release 
modified server code, especially if the server is derived from GPL sources.

5) The "public performance" argument sounds more interesting to me than the 
"combined work" argument.  Perhaps the GPLv3 should explicitly address 
obligations of public performance and explicit scope of what *is* public 
performance (i.e. formally define an Internet service).  That is also 
abusable, but perhaps less so -- all we require is that source be made 
available if the *server* code is GPL.  (the client's licensing needn't 
contaminate the server licensing or vice-versa).  That seems much fairer to 
me, and more in the spirit of the copyleft concept.  I certainly wouldn't 
object to it if it were me doing the service, and it would protect my 
application legally.  And it does fall within existing copyright provisions.

Yeah.  I guess I think defining "public performance" is the right way to go 
-- at least I can't see what's wrong with it from here. ;-)


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

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