Affero general public licence Re: GPL - possible violation - what should I do?

Alexandre Dulaunoy adulau-conos at
Thu Mar 21 12:12:18 UTC 2002

Yes, we know. We have made some comment, but the idea is a good step ;-)

Here it is the email sent to fsf and affero :

Dear Sir,

The licence is very interesting and seems to fill some gap of the GPLv2 
regarding the ASP/MSS world. We have the same issue with one of our 
projects IPFC (released under GPLv2). Some ASP (in Managed Security 
Service) are using IPFC without giving back the modified version because 
they don't directly distribute the software to the customer. So for us the 
affero is a big step for the maybe GPLv3. 

But there is some issue regarding the clear definition of what is an ASP, 
what is a customer (client, user)...
We have read the license and with some comment regarding the point 2(d).  

There is a point about the use of "user" as name. In our case, we have 
some specific external application (for example, syslog server that are 
pushing information into our infrastructure). These applications could be 
considered as user. Is there maybe another generic term to describe this 
case ? 

Another point is regarding the availability of the modified source code.
We think that the HTTP distribution is not possible in all case and limits 
the possibility of redistribution (not so good for Free Software ;-).  For 
example, an "evil" ASP could have a special button that permit download of 
the modified source code.  But you must be a customer of that "evil" 
ASP... So, classical distribution (open web server (not asp interface), 
ftp server, cdrom...) is maybe better. 

This is minor comment. We think that the affero public license is going 
into the right direction. 

We found that is a great idea to extent the GPLv2 to protect Freedom in 
some other area. 


So don't hesitate to send comment directly to affero and FSF. 


On Thu, 21 Mar 2002, MJ Ray wrote:

> Alexandre Dulaunoy <adulau-conos at> wrote:
> > The affero general public licence is trying to extend this to the ASP 
> > world. This is an excellent idea to extent Freedom in other specific area 
> > where the GNU general public license version 2 is not well suited. 
> The new clause is badly written, though.  Examples:
> 1/ Why specify a particular protocol?  Protocols are not forever and why
> should my email or gopher application offer its source by HTTP?
> 2/ Why only specify that they are allowed to "request transmission"?  There
> doesn't seem to be anything stopping me returning a "Not Found" or
> "Forbidden" error response, yet still being compliant with this licence.  It
> would probably be better to say that they may obtain source, not merely
> request it.
> 3/ How can you decide what the program "intended"?  They are not animate. 
> (Ok, this is a nitpick making up the numbers... two errors in one sentence
> is still not good ;-) ).

Alexandre Dulaunoy			adulau at

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