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Re: Is AGPLv3 DFSG-free?



On Mon, 1 Sep 2008 05:39:59 -0400 Daniel Dickinson wrote:

> On Fri, 29 Aug 2008 23:00:58 +0200
> Francesco Poli <frx@firenze.linux.it> wrote:
[...]
> > The problem is:
> > what happens if the VCS goes off-line for one afternoon
> > (or for one night, for a couple of days, for a week, ..., forever)?
> > 
> > Am I failing to comply with the AfferoGPLv3, unless I immediately shut
> > the network application down (until the VCS is back on-line) or I
> > immediately provide an alternative means to get the Corresponding
> > Source?
> > 
> > 
> Again, the GPL has the same 'problem'.

How so?

> If you can't give someone the source, you're in in violation.

If I distribute object code according to GPLv2 clause 3a or to GPLv3
clause 6a, I am accompanying it with source code.  Once I've done so,
there's no chance I can't give someone the source code, since I've
already complied with the license and have no further obligations.

If I distribute object code by offering access to copy from some place,
like, e.g., a network server, I have to offer access to copy the source
code from the same place (the last part of GPLv2 Section 3 states that
this is equivalent to complying to clause 3a; in the case of GPLv3,
this is clause 6d, provided one chooses to offer access from the same
place, e.g. same server).  Once I've set things up this way, I am
offering equivalent access to object code and to source code: source
will be available as long as object is.  Again, I have no obligations
for the future.

These are the DFSG-free ways to distribute object code and comply with
the GNU GPL.  Making or forwarding written offers is a non-free option,
hence we should not take it into account.

Please note that, in both the above-described cases, I am *already*
distributing object code and thus bearing the (possible) costs or
difficulties associated with distributing software.  The GPL merely
refrains from allowing the distribution of object code, unless I also
make the source available (in one of the two outlined ways, or else
with the non-free written offers, should I prefer that path...).

In the case of the AfferoGPLv3, I am *not* already distributing
software.  I modified the application and simply want to run it on my
server.
In order to do so, I am compelled to offer to distribute source code to
users.  Let's see what I can do:
 * if the application runs on a resource-limited server (think about a
small embedded system...), I cannot use the same host
 * if I don't want to publish the application (but only distribute it
to my users), I cannot use a public hosting service
 * if I cannot afford the costs of ensuring it is available as long as
the application runs, I cannot use another host owned or hired by me

It seems the only option left is shutting the application down whenever
the source-distributing server goes off-line, which is a significant
restriction on the act of running a modified application.


-- 
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..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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