Affero GPL. Big loophole?

Steve Lhomme steve.lhomme at
Thu Mar 21 09:56:44 UTC 2002

En réponse à Forrest J Cavalier III <forrest at>:

> "Free Software Foundation Announces Support of the Affero General
>  Public License, the First Copyleft License for Web Services"
> (NOTE: The FSF suggests comments to them.  I CC'ed them, but
> I'd prefer discussion in a forum.  license-discuss seems
> appropriate.)
> Please, someone tell me how I am misreading the added clause
> 2(d).
> Where are the teeth? In my reading, the essence of the interesting
> part of clause 2(d) is
>       "must offer an ... opportunity ... to request
>        immediate transmission ... of the complete source code."
> I find it _extremely_ odd that it does not compel transmission.
> (Other GPL terms are clear that you must supply source code. This
> clause is different.  Why?)
> If compelling the transmission is the goal, why is the license
> clause only compelling the "offer of opportunity to request"?
> Is this on purpose? Why create a huge loophole when it could
> have been written clearly?
> As an exercise, could someone explain why the following response is
> _not_ compliant with 2(d)?
> int main(int argc,char **argv)
> {
>    printf ("We received your request for the complete source
> code.\n");
>    printf ("<BR>AGPL 2(d) does not obligate us to supply it when
> responding.\n");
>    printf ("<BR>Have a nice day!\n");
> }

Because as the software is GPLed, you must supply the source code on request.
Now maybe the word immediate is not good in that case.
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