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Re: Affero General Public License

On Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 11:53:22PM -0500, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:
> <quote who="Steve Langasek" date="Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 06:20:25PM -0800">
> > On Tue, Feb 07, 2006 at 02:00:03AM +0000, Kai Hendry wrote:
> > > There is a python library I want to package (#349763) that uses the
> > > Affero General Public License (AGPL).

> > > http://www.affero.org/oagpl.html

> > > I thought I should just check with you guys if the license is OK for
> > > Debian.

> > No, it is not.  The requirement of source redistribution to third
> > parties that you are not distributing binaries to is incompatible with
> > the DFSG.

> I don't think that issue is a closed one. As you and others have
> mentioned in other threads, the GPLv3 will probably have a Affero-type
> clause.

Sure; as a non-default optional clause, though?

> Several people, at least, have spoken up in favor of this sort
> of clause being both in the spirit of the GPL and the DFSG.

Well, the discussion in March 2003 on debian-legal included the input of an
ftpmaster who disagrees, so this definitely isn't a case of a fringe
minority on -legal holding sway.  That doesn't mean Debian can't reconsider
this position, of course, but I don't think the presence of an AGPL-like
clause in GPLv3 is grounds for reversing that position -- closing the "ASP
loophole" causes real problems for real applications that our users use
Debian for today, and our users are supposed to be the first priority, yadda

> As it turns out, I tend to be of the opinion that it is important enough
> that users be able to have access to the source code of the programs
> they use that we can probably sustain a strictly targetted and flexibly
> defined limit on modification that serves only to protect this freedom.
> We did something similar both for copyleft in general and for
> GPLv2(2)(c) in particular.

Perhaps you'd care to comment on
<http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2003/03/msg00380.html>, then?

Anyway, I don't think we've actually done *anything* in particular wrt
GPLv2(2)(c).  To my knowledge, 2c was never discussed in Debian at all until
years after the DFSG was ratified; and 2c has variously been cited as a
justification for allowing all kinds of licenses that take away user
freedoms, pointed to as a wart on the GPL that should never have existed,
and ignored on the grounds that almost none of the software in Debian today
actually triggers it.

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/

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