Subject: Re: [fsb]Re: Franklin Street Statement and Free Network Services
From: Russ Nelson <>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 10:36:55 -0400

MJ Ray writes:
 > 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.

Perhaps you're new here?  I've requested that people not use "free" on
this list to reduce confusion.  Instead, use ''gratis'' and ''libre'',
whose meaning is obvious in English, and literal in other
latin-derived languages.

We don't have cost-free publication of binaries either, so obviously
any software published in binary form is not gratis software.  But we
don't give a whit about gratis software.  It's libre software we care
about.  And what could be MORE freeing than being able to get the
source of code even if you haven't gotten the binary?

Remember: it's not about freedom for the developer.  It's about
freedom for the user of the software.  The power relationship granted
by copyright law gives all the freedoms to the developer.  Free
software is about the user insisting that the developer give up some
freedom -- in this case the freedom to hold back source code even from
people who haven't gotten the binary.  In exchange the user can, and
is expected to, help the developer create the software.  If there were
no benefits and only pain, who would be eager to write open source
software?  And yet everyone[1] is, so there must be a light under that

[1] Even Microsoft.  Even Adobe.

 > 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
 > copies.

Bittorrent allows you to control the cost of that copying, however.
Buy hosting that allows X megabytes of download per day (which, for a
small value of X, is extremely cheap), then configure bittorrent to
stay under X.  That doesn't limit the number of copies (which I think
you would agree is improper), but it limits your cost.

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