OSD modification regarding what license can require of user

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Wed Mar 13 21:50:32 UTC 2002

John Cowan: 
> I don't understand how this breaches the spirit of the GPL any more than
> providing ASP-style access to the unmodified work does (i.e. not at all).
> If you are free to make private mods to GPLed programs for your own
> use, why not for others' use?  This is just timesharing under a new name.

Well, I could answer that in two, conflicting ways. If distribution becomes
irrelevant, the spirit of the GPL in that respect is obsolete, isn't it?

On the other hand, Richard treats this as a privacy issue. I contend that a
publicly performed GPL work with a private implementation does indeed contradict
the spirit of the GPL.

Then, you get into the question of "what is the entity in which privacy applies?"
In the GPL, it is the entity within which there is no need to distribute.
This has always been sort of vague to me, because it's not clear if a corporation
and all of its employees are a single entity, or if distribution takes place
between employees, or between employees and the corporation. Then, bring in
complications like consultants and companies working under contract but not part
of the same legal entity as the corporation.


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