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First draft of AGPL v3



Hi all,
the first discussion draft of the GNU Affero General Public License (GNU
AGPL) version 3 has been announced by the FSF.
The full text of this first draft can be read at
http://gplv3.fsf.org/comments/agplv3-draft-1.html

The text of this license draft is basically identical to the fourth
draft of the GNU GPL v3, except for section 13.
The FSF has explicitly asked to submit any comment that's not
AGPL-specific to the latest draft of the GPL v3.

Section 13 of the GNU AGPL v3 draft 1 follows, along with my comments.
I will send them to the FSF public consultation system in a few days, I
think.
 
The usual disclaimers: IANAL, IANADD.



> GNU AFFERO GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
> 
> Discussion Draft 1 of Version 3, 1 June 2007
> 
> THIS IS A DRAFT, NOT A PUBLISHED VERSION OF THE GNU AFFERO GENERAL
> PUBLIC LICENSE.
[...]
> 13. Remote Network Interaction; Use with the GNU General Public
> License.
> 
> Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, if you modify
> the Program, your modified version must give all users interacting
> with it remotely through a computer network

:::: Bad: no clear definition of remote users

The term "user" is not clearly defined.  If I get an "access denied"
error page through a browser, am I a user of the web application?  When
I visit a portal, am I a user of the browser?  Of the portal
application, as well?  Of the server-side scripting engine, perhaps?  Of
the web server?  Of the kernel the web server runs on top of?  Of the
router OS?  And so forth...

Where do we draw the line?

This ambiguity is really problematic, as it implies that there's no
clear way to tell whether a modified version supports remote
interaction, and hence there's no clear way to tell whether it is
subject to the restriction specified by this section.

===> the vagueness of the term "user" may extend the restriction to
basically every kind of modified version

> (if your version supports
> such interaction) an opportunity to receive the Corresponding Source
> of your version by providing access to copy the Corresponding Source
> from a network server at no charge.

:::: Bad: use restriction, with a cost associated to it

This restriction compels whoever runs the modified version of the
Program to accommodate the source code on the server or, alternatively,
to set up and maintain a separate network server to provide source code:
this may be a significant cost in some cases.

This is ultimately a use restriction (from the point of view of whoever
runs the modified version of the Program) and effectively forbids
private use of the modified version on a publicly accessible server. 
I'm *not* quite convinced that forbidding private use on a publicly
accessible server should be considered as a free restriction.  Anyway,
it's a cost (a significant one, in some cases) associated with running
the modified version of the Program.

===> this is a use restriction, that may be associated with a
significant cost

> 
> Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you have
> permission to link any covered work with a work licensed under
> version 3 (or any later version published by the Free Software
> Foundation) of the GNU General Public License, and to convey the
> resulting combination. The terms of this License will continue to
> apply to your covered work but will not apply to the work with which
> it is linked, which will remain governed by the GNU General Public
> License.
[...]


-- 
 http://frx.netsons.org/doc/nanodocs/testing_workstation_install.html
 Need to read a Debian testing installation walk-through?
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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