[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: gpl and hosted apps

On Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 04:49:31PM -0800, David M.Besonen wrote:

> >On Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 02:52:41PM -0800, David M.Besonen wrote:
> >> does the gpl (v2 or v3-draft) address the issue of hosted apps?
> >> specifically, does the gpl prevent someone from taking code, modifying
> >> it, and putting it on a server and charging people to use the app
> >> without making the source available?

> >GPLv2 does not.  The GPLv3 draft attempts to.  In my opinion, it does
> >not do so in a satisfactory way, causing various practical problems.
> >You can find discussions on the list archives, eg.

> >  http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/01/msg00213.html

> thanks for the link.  i'll read the thread a bit later.

> in the meanwhile, how would *you* word language in the gplv3 that
> would cover this loophole (that's what i would call it)?

> is there a general sense in the debian-legal community that modifying
> gpl'd apps and then hosting them without releasing the modified source
> is undesirable?

Not really, no.  Debian has previously found the Affero GPL (a GNU GPL
variant with an ASP clause) non-free; I expect that GPLv3 with this option
enabled will probably likewise be considered non-free for Debian purposes.
The ASP loophole is certainly a real concern that many people have, but
trying to close it would mean imposing additional costs on users of Debian
for the benefit of people who are *not* directly users of Debian (i.e., the
users of the service).  I don't think that's a trade I'm willing to make.

Also, forced redistribution is in general a slippery slope, and one that the
majority of debian-legal contributors seem to be unwilling to step onto.
There's just so much code that's "used" in providing a web service, that I
don't see how it can stop anywhere but with requiring everyone to provide a
complete OS for download, which is just not a reasonable burden for webapp
developers to bear.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: