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Re: Is AGPLv3 DFSG-free?

2008/9/8 Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org>:
> * Joachim Breitner <nomeata@debian.org> [080907 19:57]:
>> Hmmm, let???s see: If some company takes a hypothetical AGPL-licensed
>> variant of OpenOffice, improves it heavily and incompatibly, and it
>> becomes the new de-facto standard for office document exchange ??? but
>> they don???t distribute it, but put it on terminal servers, maybe with
>> expensive access ...
>> ... then, in the spirit of Free Software, I'll be thankful that due to
>> the AGPL I, as a user, can get the source from it.
> It might be good to have the source then, but the way to get it would definitly
> not be in the spirit of Free software.

What's so non-free about requiring the same network that's providing
the interface to somehow and vaguely facilitate the conveying of the

Lawyers will have to decide, but the terms of the AGPL seem vague
enough to allow a variety of creative solutions for distributing the
source, including, btw, *all* of the same terms for distributing
source that the GPL already provides.

> [1] There is a German proverb "Das Gegenteil von gut ist gut gemeint",
>    which translates roughly to
>    "the opposite of doing good is done with good intentions".

That sounds like "the road to hell is paved with good intentions", a
popular English language proverb that has appeared in various other
forms in the past. It seems to have a nicer rhythm in German, though.

Anyways, I don't think the good intentions are misguided here, unless
you want to argue that the GPL itself is misguided. The two licenses
are nearly identical, after all. I think "providing access to the
source from a network server" could well be satisfied by having that
server tell you, "check this other place, the source is right there"
or "check your distribution, we already gave you the source."

- Jordi G. H.

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