"source code" button

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Sat Mar 16 06:28:27 UTC 2002

Richard and Eben,

I feel that the draft GPL change for the ASP issue chooses the wrong
balance point between the right to privacy and the right to modify.

In my opinion, the correct solution would be to require publication
of derived works, with one-time notification to FSF of the publication
URL, when those works are deployed in the form of a service to others.
I think you can make the language about this limited enough that
there would be no more privacy issues than those that would be created
by the "source button".

I am the creator of a GPL-ed embedded system: Busybox. I would not be
able to use the "source button" on busybox because of the system size
constraints. Embedded systems are subject to the ASP problem - Busybox
is used for routers and appliance servers.

But I really wouldn't want to use the source button on any of my software,
because I feel it breaks the efficiency of the software to drag its source
code around with each and every runnable copy. It feels awkward and kludgy.
Source should live on a well-known internet server where it can be easily
retrieved and archived. It doesn't need to be a ball and chain.

I understand that you have criticized the APSL implementation of a
publication requirement upon "deployment". But your implementation
can restrict "deployment" to just those situations where a user might
push that button, and no others.

The source button also seems to be too interface-specific to me. I can
think of any number of services where there is not a direct user-interface
in the form of an HTML form, etc., but just a set of RPC calls. It
might be difficult to find a "source button" in that setting, even if
one exists.

I've gotten both HP and Prentice Hall to use your licenses, and I'm sure
I've influenced many others to do so. My preference for GPL-like licensing
is well-known. If _I_ don't want to use this license, I don't think you'd
be very successful in finding other takers. Please go back to drafting.


	Bruce Perens
license-discuss archive is at http://crynwr.com/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi?3

More information about the License-discuss mailing list