license idea (revised)

Ryo Chijiiwa ryo at
Wed Jul 16 19:27:33 UTC 2003

Thanks for all your comments.  I see that my initial proposal did not fit
the Open Source Definition as outlined by OSI.  I apologize for my lack
of research in that regard.

I have since reassessed my needs, and here is a revised proposal.

Would it be possible to have a license identical to the GPL, except one
which has provisions for deployment of software, rather than the
distribution of binary executables?  Web-base applications written in
languages like PHP do not have binary distributions.  However, the act
of deploying web applications, that is, the act of making a software
available for use by others, is analogous to the distribution of
compiled binaries.   As such, I believe web-applications should be
warranted similar provisions as those offered to binary executables
under the GPL.

Here's a case in point.  My software by default has a link to the
project website in the login page, which is the only "branding" in the
whole interface.  Consider a case where an organization deploys the
software with that link replaced with a link to its own website.  I
believe this is identical to re-branding an existing software package
and distributing it (since the project gets no credit, and the end users
won't know what they're using).  Under the GPL, a vendor who
redistributes rebranded binaries would be required to also make the
source code available, however, an organization that deploys a rebranded
version of my software would not be required to do so (if my
interpretation is correct).

This is troublesome not just because of branding, but also because I've
noticed organizations making significant proprietary changes to the
software, which aren't available to the community (which I think runs
counter to the spirit of the GPL).  Also, if a license required
organizations deploying modified versions of my software to make the
source code available, it is possible that some organizations would
prefer to persue alternative licenses, providing me with a potential
revenue source.

In effect, a license identical to the GPL, but one which replaces
"distribution of binaries" with "deployment of the software" would
be ideal.  Would that work?

Ryo Chijiiwa
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