[Fsfe-ie] Re: gpl and web scripting

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at nedprod.com
Sun Oct 26 01:12:29 CEST 2003

On 25 Oct 2003 at 18:36, Moritz Sinn wrote:

> i've a question: lets say i write some software (e.g. with perl) that
> works web based (all you need to use that software is a proper
> webbrowser). now lets say i publish it under GPL. If now someone
> downloads the code and changes it and then puts it on his webserver so
> that everyone can use it there, does he have to publish the changes
> under GPL? I mean, its clear that if someone changes it and then pass
> the changed program on, he has to publish that version under GPL. but
> if he doesn't pass it on, if he just makes it useable, but it runs on
> his own webserver, is that the same? All he does is modifying the code
> and running that version on his public webserver.
> Would be nice if someone could explain me why he has to publish it
> under GPL or why not.

As Ciaran has said, if his derived work does not leave the server 
then he isn't distributing it and thus doesn't need to release the 
source. I, unlike the FSF, don't see a problem with that as he 
couldn't give it to anyone else so there's no real risk for 
commercial exploitation.

If he is distributing it, he must distribute all parts of the 
software in source form and must attach GPL license notices 
unmodified etc etc. However, his extensions may not need to be also 
under the GPL depending on certain factors, but whatever license he 
does use must be compatible with GPL stipulations.

The GNU FAQ on the GPL is good on this, I'd only disagree with the 
GPL applying across a binary boundary (ie; I can't see why a 
commercial program can't use a GPL shared library).


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