Patrick Chanezon wrote:
> See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#UnreleasedMods
> You want to use the Affero GPL to achieve the desired effect 
> http://www.affero.org/oagpl.html
> 

Damn! Someone beat me to it :) .

Note however that this is a well-known problem, the so-called "web 
services" problem. Stallman said he would tackle this problem for the 
3rd version of the GPL.

> That said I agree with the answer of many posters in this list: I think it 
> is a bad idea to limit the use of your software like this.
> 

I disagree on that statement. Having to send your changes back to the 
author is indeed a bit too much indeed. But Free Software is about 
protecting both the rights of the author but also the rights of the 
*user* of software, rights which are considered fundamental, and 
ensuring equity between the two. Its goal is ethical. And taking Free 
Software, making changes to it, and then only let users use it as a web 
service through a browser and deny them access to the source code 
because you are not "distributing" the application may be legal, but it 
sure isn't ethical and is against the spirit of Free Software. It's 
basically closing the source of an originally Free Software, and is one 
of the reasons why a licence like BSD is not acceptable to people like 
me. If one can close the source code, it's not Free Software. True 
freedom always has limits ("the freedom of the one stops where the 
freedom of the other begin). Web services based on Free Software which 
don't distribute the code to their users break the principle on which 
Free Software was built.

Saying that asking web service makers to distribute their code if they 
let users others then themselves or their own corporation is too 
restrictive is like saying that the GPL is too restrictive and everyone 
should use BSD-style licences. The additional restrictions of the GPL 
compared to the BSD licence ensure that *everyone* in the chain of users 
and/or (re)distributors enjoy the *same* Freedom, and can never prevent 
others to enjoy that same Freedom too. Closed-source web services based 
on Free Software is an attempt to break that chain of Freedom, and thus 
isn't ethically acceptable, and it is *not* too restrictive to prevent 
this phenomenon from happening.

As for whether such a restriction would be unacceptable to most people, 
I really disagree. When the GPL first appeared, the BSD licence was so 
far the main Open Source licence, and many people used the same 
arguments as I see now on this thread to convince others that the GPL 
was too restrictive and that everyone should stick to BSD licences. But 
what is the most popular Open Source licence nowadays? And which one 
proved to ensure the most people enjoyed the most Freedom? Yep, that's 
the GPL. Those arguments were incorrect then, and are still off the mark 
now.
-- 
Christophe Grandsire.

http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr

You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.