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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] GPL or AGPL by default

From: Aaron Wolf
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] GPL or AGPL by default
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:47:59 -0700

On 09/19/2017 10:52 PM, Nicolás Ortega Froysa wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 02:56:23PM -0700, Aaron Wolf wrote:
>> On 09/19/2017 11:50 AM, Nicolás Ortega Froysa wrote:
>>> On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 06:08:00PM +0000, Lyberta wrote:
>>>> Given how quickly SaaSS is taking over the world, should we start
>>>> recommending releasing software under AGPL by default? Even if you wrote
>>>> a simple thing intended to be run locally, someone may put it on the
>>>> server, make SaaSS with it and then add private modifications.
>>> I would certainly say that AGPL should get a lot more attention than it
>>> has been, and should at least be presented alongside the GPLv3 whenever
>>> possible. What's more, there must be an effort to make people aware of
>>> the existance of the AGPL and its purpose (why it exists in the first
>>> place and what problems it solves).
>> To be clear, AGPL *addresses* the problem but doesn't actually solve it
>> fully.
> From the legal and technical side (not the practical side where someone
> simply ignores the license, which can happen with GPL as well) what does
> it not solve exactly? I would not be surprised if there were some issues
> still prevailing, but I'd like to know which ones these are.

Well, it came to light recently on this list that the AGPL only requires
the source to be shared if an instance is modified, which mean you may
be conveyed some software from someone who doesn't provide the source to

But that and other picky details about the license aside, the AGPL
doesn't fully block the most egregious of today's attacks on software

I'm not saying there's ANYTHING about the AGPL that is worse than GPL,
but neither addresses the problems with a world of thin-clients where
you don't run your own software. As RMS points out, if Facebook's
software were AGPL, it wouldn't change things enough (although it would
be positive) because Facebook's power is in their capture of the
network, not just in the particular programs the site runs.

If "the problem" is the undermining of freedoms that comes with
everything running on servers and accessed by thin clients, then the
AGPL can be fairly said to *address* but not to *solve* this problem. At
its core, the point is that you don't get control over the AGPL server
software you are using in the same way that you *would* get control over
your locally-run copy of some traditional GPL software.

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