GPL License with clause for Web use?

Alex Hudson home at
Wed Nov 21 10:03:18 UTC 2007

On Wed, 2007-11-21 at 09:48 +0000, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> Alex Hudson <home at> writes:
> > The choice of whether or not to give someone a copy of free software was
> > always inherent in the GPL, the AGPL removes that choice to some extent.
> The GPL is designed to allowed private use of modified versions without
> requiring source distribution.

I disagree with that. The GPL allows *any* use: it makes no distinction
between public and private use, and no source distribution is required
in either case (e.g., my example of the internet cafe). It only kicks in
when you give someone a copy of the software.

The AGPL changes that; it says you're entitled to a copy of the source
when you haven't been given a copy of the software. In theory it applies
to "network users", in practice it applies to everyone (there is no

I think "public use" versus "private use" is a complete red herring, to
be honest. Neither license talks in those terms, and neither works in
that way as far as I can see.



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