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Re: Affero General Public License

On Tue, 7 Feb 2006, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:

There is the issue of defining *users*. My definition of the user of a
software would be the person that is in control of hardware on which
the software run. The Affero clause actually reduce their ability to
modify their software.

I don't think we need to turn this into a semantic argument about the
term user.

I really do think the license needs a definition of terms, when those terms are woefully unclear.

The authors of the free software definition and both
versions of the GPL think that users are people who, well, *use*

Please provide an operational definition. Saying this just moves the question down a level. What does it mean to "use" software?

If you have a definition from these authors, please post or link to it. I can't find anything that clears it up. Many of their manifestae include the word "user", but all the definitions and licenses I've seen refer only to recipients.

"Use" in this case is defined according to the most common
dictionary definition of that word.  This definition does not, it turns
out, mention hardware.

Ok, definition #1 in my big dic is "to put into service or employ". That clearly means sysadmin.

You can claim that loss of software freedom only occurs on hardware that
is owned or controlled by the victim without claiming that people who
use google do not actually *use* their software.

That's what we have to define. I claim that someone who types text into a cellphone, which then gets an ad from google is not much more of a user than someone who asks me a question, which answer I find for them on google.

I think our collective santity is best served by some consistency in terminology. :)

I fully agree, and this is why I think it's vital for this proposed license to define the term. I'm quite serious about this - it really is not a definition that should be left to license interpretation. IANAL, so I have no clue what the most likely rulings would be.

For instance, if a license said "you must distribute full working source to all users, and by "user", we mean any entity who claims to have had any direct or indirect contact with information related to this program", would you expect that to be GPLv3-compatible?
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>

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