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Re: GPL v3 Draft

On Tue, Jan 17, 2006 at 07:47:48PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> I can't see a reason why you wouldn't make the source available by bittorrent
> too.

Because if only a few people are downloading the source, it's a waste of time.
But it's more intended as an example of "is this allowed?", and what I'm more
curious about is the previous example: using a custom transfer mechanism for
the binary, which doesn't make sense for source, and using a more general
protocol for source.

> > > > > d) They may require that the work contain functioning facilities that
> > > It's interesting that the word they've chosen is "contain", not "retain".
> > Well, "retain" would imply I can't change it, which would be even worse.
> No, retain would just mean you couldn't remove it -- it's also what
> the Affero GPL requires. "Contain" is stronger -- it means if it's not
> already there, you have to add it.

I don't get that from "retain", because changing something removes a part of
it, replacing it with something else.  If I modify a work, I'm retaining
only part.

> I think you're underestimating just how bad some of us expected the
> GPLv3 draft to be. :)

Maybe the GFDL was all just a ploy to buy them more latitude with GPLv3,
then.  :)

> > It's still endorsing an extremely
> > onerous class of restriction, implying that it's acceptable, helpful,
> > and that the classes of application screwed over by it is unimportant.
> > It's discouraging that people are thankful that's "all it is" ...
> The Affero license came out in 2002, at which point flash cards cost
> ~$1/MB; they now seem to cost around 6c/MB. Hard drives, bandwidth,
> etc seem to be similarly better. How hard is it really to satisfy these
> requirements?

On a device with 16k of flash ROM, pretty hard.  I recently did some work
on such devices (in this case, Atmel-based chips), that talked to joysticks
and sent data over a serial port.  They had no way of talking to a user
(the serial communication was one-way).  Do you think it's reasonable to
require that I have a mechanism to "request transmission to that user of
the Program's complete source code"?  The source code was 80k; adding a
"6c/MB" storage device to hold it, implementing two-way communications and
adding a protocol to do the work, and implementing a program to run on a
PC to do the requesting would probably have doubled development time.

> (The Affero licenses clause is:
>     d) If the Program as you received it is intended to interact with
>     users through a computer network and if, in the version you received,

That's the basic flaw: it assumes that if the program is intended to
interact with users through a computer network, then all derived versions
will be, too, and the whole thing breaks down when that's not true.

>     any user interacting with the Program was given the opportunity to
>     request transmission to that user of the Program's complete source
>     code, you must not remove that facility from your modified version
>     of the Program or work based on the Program, and must offer an
>     equivalent opportunity for all users interacting with your Program
>     through a computer network to request immediate transmission by
>     HTTP of the complete source code of your modified version or other
>     derivative work.

Wow.  This even specifies the protocol you must use.  I hope the GPLv3's
exception isn't meant to extend to that.

Glenn Maynard

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