AFPL vs. GPL-like licenses?

Eric Jacobs eaj at
Tue Jan 16 01:48:43 UTC 2001

"Lionello Lunesu" <lionello at>:

> It reminds of something I did in my childhood (I must have been 12 years 
> old or so). Somebody gave me a collection of comics that he knew I 
> liked. I read most but when I got tired of them I try to sell them in a 
> yard sale. Then my brother pointed out to me that I shouldn't sell 
> anything that I got as a present. I understood the mistake I made and 
> waived from selling them.
> Now that I have my own 'present' to give to 'the software society', I'm 
> afraid that some people might _willingly_ make the same 'mistake' I 
> made. They are allowed to do so under the GPL.

It seems to me that designing a license like the AFPL means spending
a lot of time and frustration trying to exclude something that doesn't
impact your software's freedom in any sense.

For instance, one of the major reasons I signed up with my ISP is to
download high-quality free software. That's a commercial interest. I
just checked the AFPL, and sure enough, because a commercial ISP is
not an "information storage and retrieval system" nor a "removable
computer-readable" medium, it would appear to prohibit downloading
AFPL'd software.

Adding special exceptions for these "harmless" cases of commercial
interest adds needless complexity to an open source license.

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