Subject: Re: Franklin Street Statement and Free Network Services
From: MJ Ray <>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 16:07:00 +0100

"Dave Crossland" <> wrote:
> 2008/8/30 Evan Prodromou <>: [...]
> > > B. Made publicly available."
> This should be "Made available to its users."
> Requiring publication is highly contentious.

Not really.  We don't have cost-free publication, so it's a cost to be
paid by the hosting user and so obviously any software requiring
publication is not free software. Even worse, if it has to be
published as long as the software is used, it's a near-unlimited cost.

> In the early "Emacs commune" days RMS decided it was unethical to
> force people to publish their changes, which is why the GPL doesn't
> (no link, I cuss printed books, I believe I read this in 'Free For
> All' or 'Rebel Code'). The eCos Public License that does what RMS once
> did, and the Reciprocal Public License that requires publication, is
> criticised at

I didn't find it in "Rebel Code".  I don't have "Free For All" here.

> More recently, debian-legal have the desert island/dissident tests [1]
> that, while not as important as the FSF FSD and OSI OSD, are still
> worth thinking about and should not be disregarded lightly.

They are both tests of Debian Free Software Guidelines which are also
covered in the FSD (DFSG's daddy) and the OSD (DFSG's bastard child).
Anything meeting FSD and OSD should meet DFSG and these tests by
definition, else one of them is broken and needs repair.

I last posted the links between the tests and DFSG in

> And most recently, the Affero GPLv3 says that the _users_ of network
> software must be able to access it via the network - which I think is
> striking the correct balance, although some d-l folks like MJ Ray
> don't like it.

The cost of publication is limited to the number of potential users,
but that means you can't use Affero GPLv3 software for a public
service unless you're prepared to pay for an unlimited number of

There's a bit of debate whether you can publish once to some free
hosting service and carry on using it even if the free hosting service
has gone down, but that's not obviously allowed, so I think AGPLv3 is
unacceptable, based on the utter nonsense that a licence can "ensure
cooperation" when cooperation as I understand it is necessarily
autonomous and voluntary as basic principles.

Now that FSF has tried to misrepresent cooperation, I see it is moving
on to back a campaign called which seems to be a handful
of people from the usual famous non-autonomous hierarchical
organisations.  Do those people have some experience of autonomous
action which has been hereto hidden from view?  Are we going to get
the pain of watching them learn from well-funded mistakes?

When will FSF return to free software and stop these ultra-vires
projects?  Even when its heart is in the right place, such as
DefectiveByDesign, some of its actions have been spectactular
own-goals, such as the Apple Store Helpdesk-clogging attack?  Has FSF
gone out of control?

> [1]:
> My suggestion:
> An open software service is one:
> 1. Whose data is open as defined by the open knowledge definition
> ( with the exception that where the
> data is personal in nature the data need only be made available to the
> user (i.e. the owner of that account).
> 2. Whose source code is Free/Open Source as defined by both the FSF
> and OSI (that is available under a license in the OSI and the FSF
> approved lists) and is available to the users of the service.

I'd strike the ()s but other than that, it seems fine to me.

MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative
(Notice tel:+44-844-4437-237