GPL License with clause for Web use?

MJ Ray mjr at
Wed Nov 21 13:59:15 UTC 2007

Ciaran O'Riordan <ciaran at> wrote:
> Alex Hudson <home at> writes:
> > This sounds a really trolly question, so I apologise in advance :) How
> > do you square freedom zero with your previous statement about
> > restricting public use to those people willing to distribute source?
> *You* can use AGPL'd code for any purpose, but making it available for
> others to use is not *you* using it for a purpose, so it's not a freedom
> zero issue.
> The practice of "making it available for others to use" is more similar to
> "giving copies to others", which the GPL has always attached requirements
> to.
> no?

No, the GPL hasn't always attached requirements to "making it
available for others to use".  GPLv2 even forbids attaching such
requirements IIRC.  GPLv3 seems to allow them by mixing with AGPLv3.

Batch processing services predate the GPL and I used to have access to
applications through high performance computing services batch
processing at university, but the GPL didn't place additional
restrictions on them.  I shudder to think how expensive they would
have been if each user could have demanded the source from the HPC
service in the same medium as the results.  At best, I think HPC would
have needed restructuring to cope with such licence terms.

The internet doesn't really change this landscape - it just makes
such remote processing services easier and faster.

Personally, I object to the limit on the freedom to adapt the program
to our needs (freedom one) rather than the freedom to run as an ASP.

But then, attaching onerous extras to useful output happened in the
GNU FDL too, so I guess we could see that FSF were heading in the
wrong direction long before the AGPLv3 added a non-free exit to the

Ciaran claimed that whether AGPL is a free software licence "is a
judgement call the free software community will have to make" - does
this mean the FSF will not require its projects to accept the AGPL or
require them to allow AGPL-compatibility?

Does anyone think that FDL's acceptability has been left entirely to
the free software community?  I'm expecting FSF to continue using its
leadership's disproportionate weight to get AGPL accepted by a wide
audience, despite probably being another non-free-software licence.

MJ Ray tel:+44-844-4437-237 -
Webmaster-developer, statistician, sysadmin, online shop builder,
consumer and workers co-operative member -
Writing on koha, debian, sat TV, Kewstoke

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