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Re: Alternatives to the Affero General Public License

I've trimmed a bunch of stuff, trying to leave only the real sticking points. Basically, I believe the task requires restriction of use, not just distribution, and Debian should never accept it, so you may just want to ignore me if you think use restrictions are allowed.

Some things your license should clarify if you think this is necessary:

1) What is a user? Your response to the "Joe's Typesetting" mail is different from what many would assume you meant, and who knows what a court would decide you meant?

2) What restrictions you place on recipients, as opposed to modifiers of code. Say I modify and distribute code in accordance with your requirements, and I sell it to someone who runs it in a datacenter such that only the functional aspects are avaialble, and my mini-http server is blocked? I've followed the license, but don't run a service. They've followed the license (they haven't changed the software, so haven't broken any rules about what it must do), but don't make source available.

3) Spend far more time on use cases and when source distribution is or is not required, rather than trying to come up with technical measures that are incomplete and probably obsolescent.

A few more line-by-line questions are below, but they're more comments than questions, and perhaps not productive to pursue further.

On Wed, 22 Jun 2005, Gregor Richards wrote:

The term "Free Software" is open to interpretation, the DFSG is not the
be-all-end-all of what is and isn't "Free".

True. This is why I use and support Debian - it's the closest thing I can find to my personal definition of freedom.

After all, according to www.gnu.org , the Affero General Public License is "Free Software," and I should think that history would give them precedence in making such a decision.

Well, no. debian-legal is the place that Debian discusses their definition. Nobody has precedence in defining our terms.

If FSF acceptance is your goal, can you not just use the Affero license?

In response to "Unworkable, but you give an out in the next section, so
this clause will never be used."
How is this unworkable?  Certainly many, even most, protocols this would
apply to have this support.

I mean that it's a requirement that is obviously non-free as there are many applications for which it would be impossible. It cannot be a requirement of free software. In your example, it's not required, so it's not worth spending much time on.

In response to "Still unworkable.  I want to use the code for some
embedded use ..."
How is this unworkable?  To support the HTTP protocol to the degree of
sending source code does not require a full HTTP sever per se.  Hell,
you could just receive input and ignore it until a blank line, then send
Content-type: application/octet-stream
<other headers>


So if my code has such a thing, but no TCP/IP support so no way to actually connect to it, this is allowed? Oh, and do bugs in my http implementation violate the license?

In response to "Can someone else then use the above exception to modify
my version under the pure GPL?"
Of course not.  Nobody ever said that it defaulted to the GNU GPL if
your modified version was non-networked.  This clause is still part of
the license, it just doesn't apply to you.  When you redistribute it to
the next person, if they make it web-based, they will have to make the
source available again.

Then I'm confused what the provision
  (Exception: if the Program itself is designed to interact with users
  through a computer network but does not normally provide this
  functionality, your work based on the Program is not required to provide
  this functionality.)
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>

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