Web services and free software

Alex Hudson home at alexhudson.com
Wed Jul 18 17:24:45 UTC 2007

On Wed, 2007-07-18 at 17:10 +0200, Carsten Agger wrote:
> This means that even when more and more free software becomes
> available, people might still become increasingly obliged to use
> non-free software through the web, or to use free software as web
> applications under conditions where the four freedoms don't apply. I'm
> sure the question isn't new and others could state it much more
> eloquently, but ...
> is the an answer, and which would be the right one?

At the end of the day, people running software privately don't have to
share it. Someone who modifies a GPL'd web app and makes the improved
version available for use doesn't have to share their private
modifications - they have the rights to share it, they just don't want
to, much as I might improve my server's copy of Apache and not give
copies to the people who use that server.

I don't think this is really about being free software or not free
software; where someone declines to give out copies of something they
have it's a privacy thing, not a freedom thing, and free software
licenses respect privacy.

I suspect the real issue here is whether or not people have the ability
to move from one service to another, and bring their data with them.
That's an open standards argument, much like DRM.

You might be interested in some of the discussions going on around
GUADEC, vis.: 




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