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Re: Dissident versus ASP

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:

> We've established that you can't require someone who lets other people
> use a program, but who doesn't distribute copies of it normally, to
> give out copies of changes made to the source to any user who asks,
> too, since that'd require you to keep source available permanently and
> make it accessible, or maintain an out-of-band distribution mechanism,
> which are all overly impractical.  Which is to say:
>     You should never be forced to give your source changes (and/or
>     rights to use/modify them) to people who merely use your program
>     (but don't already receive copies).

Is this established?  I'm aware that some folks are arguing that
position, but I didn't know it had been settled.

Folks who are providing an ASP-style service generally are going to
have big web servers and lots of bandwidth anyway; I'm not convinced
that distribution of source would be a significant burden for them.

Further, I see no reason that folks who haven't made modifications
should have to host the source if it's available elsewhere.  They can
simply provide a link.

So we're looking at the intersection of folks who have made changes
and who have small servers/tight budgets.  For people like this a
license could require (for example) that either patches or source be
made available for the currently running version within a months time.
This gives them a chance to either try and get it submitted to
upstream, or get a patchfile hosted someplace.  (It also would give a
business lead time, of course, but I'm not personally too concerned
about that.)  Since even these folks are (by definition) running a
server of some sort, I really don't see how this is a horrible burden.
A burden, yes, but not a horrible one.  No different from having to
provide source in addition to binaries on a web page (or on CD, or

For purposes of the dissident test, dissidents could exchange floppies
with patches on them occasionally.

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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