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Re: Affero General Public License

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

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

On Mon, 6 Feb 2006, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:
I don't think that issue is a closed one.

No issue ever is :)

I think that we need to *at least* discuss this a bit more and and a bit
more widely before we risk writing off some large future subset of GPL
works as being non-free.

As always, we'll review works on a per-package basis if they have a license that does not unambiguously make them free. If they have the affero limitation (AGPL 2d, that there is functionality which cannot be removed, and limits to how the software is used), they aren't free, and I expect it's a decision we'll make over and over.

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.

I would be happy if it were possible for a copyleft to meet this goal without limiting the fundamental freedom for a recipient to do whatever she wants with the code, but I don't think it's possible.

And I don't think I'm willing to accept both modification limits AND use restrictions to meet this noble but non-free goal.

We did something similar both for copyleft in general and for
GPLv2(2)(c) in particular.

No, that's an annoying clause but fundamentally different.

AGPL(2d) says you must preserve this functionality, where GPLv2(2c) says you must include some text if you choose to preserve this functionality. Additionally, GPLv2(2c) does not require that the owner of the platform actually run the software in this manner, where AGPL(2d) requires you to offer source to users when running the thing.

AGPL(2d) does 2 unfree things. The first half of the runon sentence limits the kind of changes you can make, which severely limits the fields of endeavor which the software can be modified to fit. The second half is just badly written, but seems to say that the program must be run in a way as to offer source to "users", whoever they may be.

GPLv2(2c) can be trivially worked around by removing that functionality entirely if the requirement is bothersome in your particular application.

I would love to see web.py in Debian. I suspect that, one way or
another, the this issue will be resolved in the GPLv3 process. :)

I suspect it will not be. GPLv3 allows, but does not require, non-free restrictions, so packages will need to be discussed case-by-case. And people will always raise the "but this is kinda free, and so useful, let's just include it" argument regardless.
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>

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