license idea (revised)

Mark Rafn dagon at
Wed Jul 16 20:59:31 UTC 2003

On Wed, 16 Jul 2003, Ryo Chijiiwa wrote:

> 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?

It would be possible to have such a license.  I would object to it on the 
grounds that it restricts usage (which you're calling "deployment" of the 
software), but I'm not sure everyone agrees with me.

>  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. 

I strongly disagree that these acts are analogous.

> 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).

I think that most agree this to be antisocial on the part of those people.  
I don't think that most agree that the requirement to give source and 
distribution rights to all users is an acceptible solution.  Personally, I 
would be very sad if OSI approved such a license.

This has been discussed a bit on debian-legal, under the heading "ASP
loophole".  One interesting question is where to draw the line between use
and "deployment".  This e-mail was routed along a box at my ISP that
includes open-source code.  Do I have the right to that code?

My strong recommendation:  Ignore antisocial users (whether they be
individuals or corporations).  The community has it's own strengths, the
vast majority of which come from freely-chosen cooperation.  Trying to
make software less useful in order to protect your revenue or brand is
Mark Rafn    dagon at    <>  
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