Corba interfaces and GPL freedom

Mark Rafn dagon at
Mon Sep 15 18:31:51 UTC 2003

> "Iain Barker" <iain at> writes:
> > A proprietary vendor could create non-free software that functionally would
> > amount to a derived work, without actually making a derived work within the
> > meaning of copyright law. Would this break the spirit of the GPL while
> > complying with its terms, hence not be enforcable under copyright law?

On Sun, 14 Sep 2003, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> The Open Software License is intended to address this issue.

See also the Affero license at  This 
apparently has some FSF support.

However, I firmly believe that all attempts to close this "loophole" are 
excessive restrictions on the USE of software, and go way beyond 
restrictions on distribution.

Debian has rejected some licenses based on failure of the "dissident" 
test, and I hope will adopt a right to privacy as one of the important 
software freedoms.  Forced distribution is a very nasty requirement, which 
I personally consider non-free, although not all do.

Please note when considering this issue that I am a user of:
  My ATM software.
  Router software at every hop between me and anywhere.
  My cable company's billing software.
  AOL's SMTP software (I am not an AOL customer, but I send mail to them).
  Many other software that are used on my behalf, but never distributed to me.

Whether it's invoked over RPC, SOAP, SMTP, snail-mail, or run as the 
result of a telephone conversation is irrelevant.  People who modify 
open-source software should be allowed to keep those modifications 
private, even if they use them as part of a public service.

If the software is distributed, then it's required to include source for 
the recipient.  

> I have heard that the FSF has been considering whether and how to
> address this in GPLv3.  However, this has been a rumor for a long time
> now.

I hope it stays a rumor, like many very bad ideas.  It's persistent enough 
that I strongly recommend people NOT add "or any later version" to their 
GPL work, and I'm glad the Linux kernel folk agree.
Mark Rafn    dagon at    <>  
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