Posted May 24, 2007 2:30 UTC (Thu) by lysse
In reply to: Google ?
Parent article: A day at the Open Source Business Conference
> It hasn't changed, but it was a considered change for the GPLv3 that provided web services and the like should count as a form of distribution.
By that standard, then if I provide someone with a shell account on my machine, then I am distributing every program they can access to them; even if I only provide execute access to the programs, I would still have to provide them with a means of downloading all source code. I can't see any sensible way of defining "distribution" that would include web services but exclude this; one might draw a distinction between public distribution and limited distribution, but that would make the desirable qualities of the GPL easily circumventable.
So such a restriction would have to be defined as a restriction on use, rather than on redistribution... and then you'd have to define "use" in a way that includes "present to the world as a web app" for Perl scripts, but excludes "compile a program" for gcc, or "produce a Postscript file from this text file" for groff - or even "run this script" for Perl itself - and you'd have to be absolutely sure your definition was both precise and enforceable.
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