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Re: Do Debian's users care about the AGPL?

On Tue, 02 Sep 2008 22:14:48 -0700
Steve Lamb <grey@dmiyu.org> wrote:

> Daniel Dickinson wrote:
> > Why should it be non-free?  It's not, it should be in main!
>     Probably because it goes way too far?  I'm sorry, but the GPL is
> clear. If you distribute the code.  No code is distributed here.  The
> code runs *there*.  People call this a loophole.  I call those people

It's a loophole.  As a I developer I'll be choosing the GPL because it
means that if someone takes my code and modifies their changes flow
back to the original project (whether still developed my myself or not,
hopefully by a community in any event), so that others can benefit from
it.  Not making the changes flow back is known as 'free riding'.  

If a company can take my work, make proprietary enhancement (including,
say, a new proprietary file format), and profit from it I wouldn't be
happy.  That's not why I contribute to open source.  I'm not just
giving my stuff away, I'm giving it away on the condition you give back
if you make changes to my stuff.

Let's say Google was developed mostly open source but had proprietary
enhancements and that's what made the money.  As the open source
developer I wouldn't be happy because the reason I developed open
source was so that it would be a community project, not one which was
taken private.  Google would be able to do that because the search
engine is a web service.

There's more to Google than just software of course, and they didn't
just grab open source code, but I think you can see my point.  It's a
loophole that a service such as Google wouldn't be required to share
their changes just because the don't 'distribute' programs in the
traditional sense even though they are clearly distributing the effort. 

In Google's case they're distributing they're own work, but one can
easily image being the developer of a web-based app or service that
becomes popular, but for which the primary company making money isn't
contributing back the project that made their success possible because
the loophole they're not considered a distributed because they're not
installing software on another person's computer

> envious of other people's talents.  If anyone thinks that
> applications are going to run there and display here let's remember
> that's where computing started (mainframes) and it has steadily
> migrated more here than there ever since.  It is to the point now
> where I regularly run 1 OS on the metal and another in a VM on a
> regular basis.  Yes, the web has moved some of processing over there
> but I seriously doubt millions of people are going to do most of
> their processing on other people's servers over which they have
> little to no control.

I hope you're right.  I certainly wouldn't be happy about being forced
to use web apps for my own stuff because I want control over my stuff.
>     But hey, I'm not clairvoyant, I could be wrong.  Google might
> just be the new evil empire with all the gung-ho applications running
> on a kabillion servers to meet the demand.  Of course given their
> poor attempt at a Firefox clone they just released and the poor
> performance of their on-line office & email compared to local
> applications I think we're safe for another decade from ASP hell.  I
> mean I first heard that we were going to all be using applications on
> web pages for everything in the late 90s.

Heh.  Well I know I'm skeptical too, but it does seem to be where
everyone wants to go (why, I don't know).



And that's my crabbing done for the day.  Got it out of the way early, 
now I have the rest of the afternoon to sniff fragrant tea-roses or 
strangle cute bunnies or something.   -- Michael Devore
GnuPG Key Fingerprint 86 F5 81 A5 D4 2E 1F 1C      http://gnupg.org
The C Shore: http://www.wightman.ca/~cshore

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