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Re: Proposal: "AGPLv3 or later" -- libre and distributed services

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: Proposal: "AGPLv3 or later" -- libre and distributed services
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 13:57:29 +0000
User-agent: Heirloom mailx 12.2 01/07/07

Davi Leal <address@hidden> wrote:
> MJ Ray wrote:
> > > > ambiguous, many free software developers (+me) don't consider it a
> > > > free software licence.  Please don't use it yet.
> Why do you not consider it a free software license?

Primarily because of the requirement to pay (somehow) unlimited
download costs if you host a modified version, which is both a
modification fee and discrimination against hosters.

> > > We seems to disagree at this point.  Sincerely, IMHO, for this kind of
> > > project, (a free software webapp), there is not better license to protect
> > > _users_ freedom than the AGPLv3.
> >
> > It depends which users - AGPLv3 penalises app-hosting users to benefit
> > non-hosting users.
> Define users.
> I mean by user who access the webapp and interact with it.
> People who install the webapp to offer a service, etc. are not users in that 
> sense but service providers.

I believe that service providers and developers are users too.  As
such, they should not be penalised more than an end user by a free
software licence.

> Anyway, the AGPLv3 do not penalizes app-hosting because the source code 
> tar-ball can be served since libre sites as Savannah.

That is not clear yet.  Some projects allow it, but it isn't generally
known to be the case and it's still not among the FAQ.

> > > It is known the GPLv3 applied to webapps can be exploded by Application
> > > Service Providers (ASP); without giving back to the community and locking
> > > to its users.
> >
> > It is known that the same can happen in some ways with AGPLv3.  Evil
> > people will always do bad stuff.  Generally, it is wrong to punish
> > friendly people to defend against evil people.
> IMHO the AGPLv3 is a needed tool to try to avoid evil people doing bad 
> things: 
> locking the webapp source code, keeping it secret, ...

Evil people will still do bad things.  There may be two ways the AGPL
can fail: the usual law-breakers (which we can never protect against);
and fork-and-lock by a third-party limited-audience modifier between
"good" and "evil" public hosters.

> IMHO the AGPLv3 does not punish friendly people. People just have to learn 
> how 
> it use it rightly;  If your problem is because you do not want to load your 
> web server with the tar-ball download, then you can just move such tar-ball 
> to Savannah or any other libre service.

Again, that is not yet clear.  If you want to be sure that you are
following the letter of the AGPLv3, you must load your web server with
the tar-ball download for the whole application as used.

> > > That has already happened:  The software which runs Savannah [2] started
> > > from the need to escape from the locking process applied to software
> > > which SourceForge was running on [3]. Such software was licensed under
> > > "GPLv2 or later".  Do you remember it?
> >
> > Yes and I worked on an alternative (coopX) for a while but the FSF
> > promoted Savannah instead, which doesn't solve any of the SourceForge
> > bugs which allowed lock-in.
> Well, at least Savannah is administrated with software freedom in mind.

FSF are a little better than VA, but they both seem pretty
unaccountable to their users and unhelpful with migrating.

I think they're more alike than they are different, which is both a
bug (similar failures possible) and a feature (easy for SF users to
switch to Savannah).

Federated GNU Herds is a great idea.

Hope that explains,
My Opinion Only: see
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