Web services and free software

Alex Hudson home at alexhudson.com
Sun Jul 22 19:44:22 UTC 2007

On Sun, 2007-07-22 at 18:45 +0200, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>    Compared to most other licences? I'm not sure about that. [GPLv3]'s more
>    complex than most BSD-like and Apache-style licences, which are a
>    significant proportion of "other".
> I suppose that is what I get for being vauge, by most other licenses,
> I was refering to non-free software licenses.

Ah, ok. I suspect MJ's point was related to other free software
licences, but he can clarify that if not.

> Well, then I can only assume that you think what Tivio did is ok?
> Since that is one way to look at it, a hardware with a shell that the
> company is providing access to.

No, I think they're objectively different situations. With Tivo, they
were selling hardware that had modified free software on them: the user,
having purchased the hardware, was unable to change the software on it,
but Tivo could. 

With a shared shell, I'm not buying the hardware - I've bought a
service. That's very different - it's like buying web hosting, or
something like that. Personally, if I buy web hosting service, I don't
expect the host to offer me the source to their Apache, for example.

So, primarily, I don't see that web applications should get special
treatment, and I wouldn't like to see such a feature in (e.g) CLI
applications. But second, I just don't see how it's a free software
issue. If I don't give someone a copy of a piece of software, then I
shouldn't have an obligation to them, and I don't see why people should
be forced to give out copies of software. It's completely different to
the Tivo situation, where they actually _are_ distributing the software.



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