Web services and free software

Alfred M. Szmidt ams at gnu.org
Sun Jul 22 11:20:31 UTC 2007

   > How is the GPLv3 less friendly to hackers?  And how exactly is it more
   > complicated than the GPLv2?

   It's longer and invents new language - it seems pretty factual to me
   that it's a more complex license, and the GPLv2 wasn't the most easily
   understood license in the first place (hence so many people making
   rudimentary mistakes like "You can't sell GPL'd software").

While the GPL (any version) is not a trivial license, any hacker who
is capable of writting a non-trivial program should be able to grasp
it in an hour.  As for terms, hackers often invent terms to be able to
be convey a more precise meaning.  Still, it is a easy license
compared to most other licenses, and the general ideas are easily
grasped by the four freedoms of free software.

   > Without the GNU AGPL, we will have less means to protect our
   > rights, so delaying it for a short or even forever would be a
   > huge blow to free software.

   Not everyone agrees that the right to see software source on
   someone else's machine you're using is a free software right; I'm
   not particularly sure I do.

I think that this is no different than a machine that I own that
prohibits me from upgrading it.

   > The original Affero GPL isn't compatible with the GPLv3 after all...

   That's a shame if it's not, they did build in a clause to make it

	   "You may also choose to redistribute modified versions of
	   this program under any version of the Free Software
	   Foundation's GNU General Public License version 3 or
	   higher, so long as that version of the GNU GPL includes
	   terms and conditions substantially equivalent to those of
	   this license."

   Perhaps that upgrade route is dead now the Affero clause didn't
   make it into the GNU GPLv3.

This clause has nothing to do with the Affero license though.  The
Affero license isn't "substanitally equivalent" to GPLv3.  This is why
the GPLv3 contains the following text:

|   13. Use with the GNU Affero General Public License.
|   Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you have
| permission to link or combine any covered work with a work licensed
| under version 3 of the GNU Affero General Public License into a single
| combined work, and to convey the resulting work.  The terms of this
| License will continue to apply to the part which is the covered work,
| but the special requirements of the GNU Affero General Public License,
| section 13, concerning interaction through a network will apply to the
| combination as such.

When I spoke about the Affero GPL I meant the original one, and not
the GNU Affero GPL which is yet to be published.

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