ISP-contracts versus GPL-freedoms

Wim De Smet fragmeat at
Sun Dec 8 12:09:46 UTC 2002

On Sun, 8 Dec 2002 02:40:49 +0100
"Niall Douglas" <s_fsfeurope at> wrote:

> On 8 Dec 2002 at 2:56, Wouter Vanden Hove wrote:
> > For example I'm allowed to download 8.5 GB a month, and 1.5 upload a
> > month. I don't need that much, but my IPS forbids me to use any
> > software that act as a server. I'am not even allowed to login to my
> > own machine, because ssh'ing to my machine makes my machine a
> > ssh-server. Of course also no Apache, FTP, Sendmail, Gnutella,
> > MySQL, CVS, Kepler [ ]...
> > 
> > If my upload is restricted, and the speed of the upload is already
> > articifically limited, why shouldn't we then not be allowed to login
> > to our own machine? What good is it to have a 24h/24h
> > internet-connection if you're not allowed to use its basic
> > functionalities?
> > 
> > Freedom zero: "The freedom to run the program, for any purpose".
> > But with what ISP?
> That's horrendous. Unless you have a compelling reason, you should 
> switch ISP's. I have cable by Madritel in Madrid here and for 80 euro 
> a month I get 300 upload 600 down unlimited transfers. I also have my 
> own IP and can run server applications. I use VNC to do my email etc. 
> via modem when I'm away from home. When I was working, I also used my 
> machines at home via the internet as they have better resources.
> I transfer around 2-3Gb per day on average (all my english-language 
> television comes through the internet) and there's never been any 
> problem. They had some packet loss issues a few months ago but it's 
> been slowly getting better.
> Cheers,
> Niall

I have about the same limitations as Wouter when it comes to server
software. Also, my ISP forbids me to connect more than one computer on
the same ip  (via packet forwarding), which is just a way for them to
obligate you to get a more expensive subscription I think. 

In the case of server software this is not really meant to keep you from
ssh'ing to your computer, but is more valid when you have cable and you
run a server application that will produce high bandwidth and get you
over your upload and download limits fast. The way this is commonly
dealt with here is reduce your bandwidth. But traffic on that particular
segment of the network still remains high, and since there are multiple
people (typically an entire block or something) who share the same line,
this also reduces their bandwidth, which explains why these rules are

No ISP will actually check if you are running server software
if you're not generating much bandwidth anyway though, so I don't think
you should see this as a limit, more as a guideline to users.


More information about the Discussion mailing list