[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Is AGPLv3 DFSG-free?

Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> It's not the users of the software, it's the users of services run by
> the software.

But in today's world, that's no longer a meaningful distinction.

It used to be that software ran on a computer on my desk, and I
interacted with the services provided by that software using the
attached monitor and keyboard. Now, I interact with the services
provided by software that runs on a computer somewhere else, using the
same monitor and keyboard. Why do I require less freedom in this case?

In fact, there's not even a bright line between "here" and "somewhere
else". If I'm interacting with a web application, a significant
proportion of that code _is_ running on my local machine, inside my
JavaScript VM or browser.

This argument even applies to non-networked applications. If I'm running
OpenOffice.org on my machine, I should have software freedom with
respect to that software. Why does that change if I'm instead accessing
it via a remote X session?

You may argue that there's a legal difference between the two in terms
of copyright law, "performance" etc. That may or may not be so. But I
assert that there's no difference in the amount of freedom that a user
of free software should require.

> So where to draw the line for use restrictions? If you really want the
> same abilities and rights, why don't you demand that users can change
> the software running? 

Things like Firefox extensions and Greasemonkey actually make this
fairly trivial for web apps. And other tools could be developed for
other apps. If the licensing of software banned e.g. the use of
Greasemonkey scripts on it, then it would definitely be non-free.

>> If it's a small embedded system, the source code is likely also to be small.
> But usually the memory on embedded systems is even smaller, so this is a
> very noticeable restriction.

There are lots of restrictions imposed upon you when you create an
embedded product. If you license proprietary software, you may have to
pay money to its owners. If you use free software, you may have to put
an extra $1 or $.50c flash chip in to hold a copy of the source. Free
software doesn't mean zero cost in meeting the licensing obligations.
The question is, is the burden unreasonable?


Reply to: