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Re: Is AGPLv3 DFSG-free?

Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org> wrote:
> MJ Ray wrote:
> > 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
> >   DFSG?"
> It doesn't require you to give them a copy. It requires you to offer it.
> In other words, the app you let them use might have a "Save Source"
> link, but they are responsible for bringing the USB stick.

If that were the case, it would be fine if the AGPLv3 app on my
webserver had a "source" link but anyone clicking it has to pay the
cost of the data transfer, or connect their own network link cable to
my webserver.  I don't think that's the intent.

> > Basically, AGPLv3 seems to reduce the user's freedom to "use, but not
> > distribute" 
> That's a good way of putting it IMO.
> > which isn't explicitly forbidden by the DFSG, but surely
> > outside the normal Free Software Definition. 
> Why "surely"?

http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-sw.html says "The freedom to
run the program, for any purpose" and "The freedom to study how the
program works, and adapt it to your needs" but "as long as you offer
to distribute copies to all its users" isn't on either of them.

So, it boils down to whether it's acceptable to limit the freedoms of
the hosting user in order to increase the freedoms of the non-hosting

That essay says later:-

  "The freedom to use a program means the freedom for any kind of
  person or organization to use it on any kind of computer system, for
  any kind of overall job, and without being required to communicate
  subsequently with the developer or any other specific entity."

Specific entities like users?  It also notes the importance of the
choice to publish the program, which AGPLv3 also limits.  For an
organisation that has been pretty uncompromising about program
freedom, it seems an odd step, but I found FSF a bit opaque on *GPLv3.

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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