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Last call draft of AGPL v3



Hi all,
the last call draft of the GNU Affero General Public License (GNU
AGPL) version 3 has been published by the FSF, back on 14 August.
The full text of this last call draft can be read at
http://gplv3.fsf.org/comment/agplv3-draft-2.html

The text of this license draft is basically identical to the final
text of the GNU GPL v3, except for section 13.
The FSF has explicitly asked to submit comments about this section.

Section 13 of the GNU AGPL v3 draft 2 follows, along with my comments
(which are basically unchanged with respect to the ones I made for
the previous AGPL draft, since the AGPL issues are basically
unchanged...).
I will send my comments to the FSF public consultation system ASAP.
 
The usual disclaimers: IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP.



> GNU AFFERO GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
> 
> Last Call Draft (2) of Version 3, 14 August 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 prominently offer 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 the
> Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge, through some
> standard or customary means of facilitating copying of software.

:::: 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 an acceptable 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

> This
> Corresponding Source shall include the Corresponding Source for any
> work covered by version 3 of the GNU General Public License that is
> incorporated pursuant to the following paragraph.
> 
> Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you have
> permission to link or combine any covered work with a work licensed
> under version 3 of the GNU General Public License into a single
> combined work, and to convey the resulting work. The terms of this
> License will continue to apply to the part which is the covered work,
> but the work with which it is combined will remain governed by
> version 3 of 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 .
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