[License-discuss] Intimacy in open source (SSPL and AGPL)

Florian Weimer fw at deneb.enyo.de
Tue Mar 19 23:51:27 UTC 2019

* Lawrence Rosen:

> So, if our community can come up with an adequate definition of
> "corresponding source" (or "intimacy") in the open source software context
> to enforce the intent of our network services copyleft licenses, I'm all
> ears. Neither SSPL nor AGPL currently meet that clarity requirement.

I think the AGPL is pretty clear if you read it as assuming that
source access would go like this: “to access source code, change the
URL from .php to .phps in your web browser”.

The AGPL has problems once you start it applying to software that
cannot distribute its own source code in a reasonably straightforward
way.  Especially if it does not directly interact with end users, so
that there is no one there that can make a decision to obtain the
source code.

On the other hand, if the build process essentially creates a quine,
and any source code change you make is accessible to any user of the
software via the software itself, I don't think the AGPL is
problematic at all.  It's the lack of a built-in compliance mechanism
that is the problem.  That mechanism defines what the author considers
the relevant source code, after all.

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