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Re: Is AGPLv3 DFSG-free?

On Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 6:29 AM, Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
* Arc Riley <arcriley@gmail.com> [080902 11:23]:
> In these cases, all it's doing is ensuring that the users of the software
> are granted the four software freedoms.

It's not the users of the software, it's the users of services run by
the software.

This is a trivial distinction.

Take for example a typical use example of our engine; the actual game code (in Python) runs on a "server", likely at an affordable high-bandwidth co-hosting facility such as ServerBeach.

The users, people playing that game, using a Firefox plugin and a version of our engine that runs just the rendering and physics threads.  That game is identical for them as if they had downloaded the Python source and were running it locally without the hassle of having to install anything first.  In most cases this is for previewing new games on the web.

They are remote users interacting with the software.  Under the GPL 2 or 3 their software freedoms may not be afforded because, while their use and interaction with that software is nearly identical to running it locally, they need not be sent the game code itself.  We foresaw many groups using our engine under the GPLv3 to "host" proprietary games in this manner.

Under the AGPLv3, however, users must be given the opportunity to download the game and thus run it on their own hardware, modify it, etc.  Under the AGPLv3 we're developing these new features knowing that our user's freedoms will be protected regardless of what physical machine they use the software from.

Of course it has other positive effects as well, such as mitigating "secret server code" business models (ie, shifting a good deal of the game logic to undistributed server software).  We want to promote ethical business models for copyleft games, we view part of that is deterring unethical practices with our software.

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