Web services and free software

Alex Hudson home at alexhudson.com
Thu Jul 19 11:38:27 UTC 2007

On Thu, 2007-07-19 at 12:07 +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> We also need to develop open service models which can be implemented
> in free software and are resistant against an attack of
> embrace-extend-extinguish.  We have some of these, but we need more.

Indeed, particularly, being able to run a distributed service with
similar levels of reliability as a centralised service.

> I feel that placing restrictions on the output of software, as seen in
> Affero GPL, is an evolutionary dead-end and a way for FSF to defeat
> itself.  The complications of GPLv3 are already a disturbance (it may
> be more lawyer-friendly, but it's not nice to even
> copyright-experienced hackers, let alone hackers who don't understand
> copyright yet) and that may be a threat to free software.  I hope that
> Affero GPL gets delayed, at least long enough to allow developers to
> digest GPLv3 and to let FSF webmasters unbreak stet, or maybe forever.

Seems to me the current Affero draft is mostly a no-op anyway:

        "You may make, run and propagate covered works that you do not
        convey, without conditions so long as your license otherwise
        remains in force" (sec. 2)
=> if I don't convey and have a license, I have no obligations.
        "Mere interaction with a user through a computer network, with
        no transfer of a copy, is not conveying" (sec. 0)

=> network interaction isn't conveying.

        "Notwithstanding any other provision of this License..." (start
        of sec. 13, Affero draft)

=> the Affero clause doesn't withstand 2 & 0, and they say network
interaction doesn't imply obligation, therefore it's null?

It will be interesting to see how that actually gets resolved. I'm not
sure how the Affero could be a simple extension to the GPLv3 without
somehow overriding the basic promises made in sections 0 and 2, and the
obvious connotations of unfreeness that brings.



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