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Re: Is AGPLv3 DFSG-free?

MJ Ray wrote:
>> 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.

No, it's not. The point is you have to offer it. That means different
things if you are sitting at the machine to if you are at the other end
of a network.

> 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
> users.

That's certainly one way to put it. In fact, the BSD guys' beef with the
GPL is that it does exactly this - limits the freedom of the giver to
increase the freedom of the recipient. AGPL takes that idea a step further.

> 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? 

If you replace "specific entity" with "users", you get the tautological:

"The freedom for ... a [user] .. to use it ... without being required to
communicate subsequently with ... users."

This paragraph is addressed to users, not developers. Someone *using* an
AGPL program isn't required to communicate with anyone else; the AGPL
just requires that they have an opportunity to download source.

> It also notes the importance of the
> choice to publish the program, which AGPLv3 also limits.  

"You should also have the freedom to make modifications and use them
privately in your own work or play, without even mentioning that they
exist. If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to
notify anyone in particular, or in any particular way."

Where does the AGPL interfere with either of the two sentences here? The
right to private modifications for your own use is maintained, and the
right to publish without specific notification is also maintained.

What is forbidden is private modifications for the use of others without
giving them the modifications. In the single-computer case, that's a
clear GPLv2 violation. AGPL extends that to the two-computer case.


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