Re: gpl and hosted apps
On Fri, 3 Feb 2006 15:57:31 -0800 (PST), Mark Rafn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm strongly of the opinion that any attempt to limit
private modification (including hosted apps), or require distribution of
source when not distributing anything else is non-free.
On Fri, 3 Feb 2006, David M.Besonen wrote:
do you consider the gpl to be non-free? (just attempting to get a
sense of how you use the term "free".)
I use the term pretty similarly to historical usage on debian-legal. For
calibration, I elaborate below:
Note that a license is not free per se, a distributed work under a license
is free (or not). There can be two works under the same license, one
of which is free and the other not, due to specific contents of the
package or statements by the copyright holder that they will interpret the
license strangely (which may or may not be binding, but Debian generally
honors by declaring the package non-free if needed).
Generally speaking, works published under GPLv2 are free. The license
does not attempt to limit the types of changes that can be made, and it
gives full freedom to modify and use without distribution, without any
GPLv2 2.a and 2.c are annoying, and could probably be considered non-free
in some edge cases if a copyright holder overenforced them on some things
where it interferes with some types of changes.
Contrast this with the AGPL (Affero license), which attempts to prohibit
certain changes to the software in order to force licensees to distribute
source code even if they're not distributing the licensed software. That
requirement is just plain non-free.
GPLv3 may or may not be free - it hasn't been fully digested by D-L, and
we haven't see how it gets used and misused in practice. I suspect some
GPLv3 works will be free and some will not. Specifically:
GPLv3 5.c goes further than GPLv2 2.c, and perhaps into the non-free
realm. I don't like it, but it's probably not enough to make me fight it.
GPLv3 section 3 restricts fields of endeavor (cannot be used to illegally
invade users' privacy), and is non-free. It's also very confusing, as
there is no definition of 'user' anywhere in the license, so I have no
clue who section 3 is talking about.
GPLv3 section 7 allows, but does not require, copyright holders to place
additional non-free restrictions. GPLv3 7d is the completely broken one,
allowing a limitation on the types of change allowed to the package.
GPLv3 section 13 allows, but does not require, a copyright holder to add
non-free geographical limitations to a package.
Mark Rafn email@example.com <http://www.dagon.net/>