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Re: Is AGPLv3 DFSG-free?

Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org> wrote:
> There are two points:
> 1) Is this software DFSG-free?
> 2) Does putting it into Debian have unfortunate practical consequences?
> In pursuit of an answer to question 1, I was making the point that there
> is no longer a meaningful distinction or bright line between software
> running on your machine and software running elsewhere. Therefore,
> points based on such a distinction are not valid.

1. Along similar lines, one question I keep returning to is

  "Would a licence that required me to give a copy of the source at my
  expense if I let someone use the application on my laptop meet the

taking the idea that there is no longer a meaningful distinction
between my webserver and my laptop if it has other casual users.

And I think the answer is "No, it breaks DFSG 1" but people are
defending the AGPLv3 by saying that the cost is negligible, which I'm
unsure about.  I'm also not sure whether the scale of the cost matters
much - one person's negligible is another's cost of living.

Basically, AGPLv3 seems to reduce the user's freedom to "use, but not
distribute" which isn't explicitly forbidden by the DFSG, but surely
outside the normal Free Software Definition.  At least one of the
examples seemed to me like some of the remote "users" who could
request source weren't really users of the AGPL'd app, but users of
other network application clients that connected to it, which leaves
users open to the whole damn network downloading source.  That's
another tricky line to draw and the AGPL seems to try to draw it in a
different place to where I'd expect it.

I'm pretty hesitant to decide a FSF program licence is non-free, but
I also hesitate to decide that such a restrictive licence is free,
given that FSF have failed to discuss the big questions over Affero's

2. Regardless of where it ends up, I think there are clearly practical
problems with AGPLv3 for the debian project.

(There are other aspects of this thread I'm thinking about still, but
I wanted to try to explain this aspect in this context.)
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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