Slash Boxes

Slash Open Source Project

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  • by pudge (6) on Monday April 16 2001, @10:31AM (#2274) Homepage
    Is the GPL really a good license for the Web?

    I could ask if it is good for anything, but I won't. ;-)

    Using something with a GPL license on your web site is much like distributing programs in the physical world. (On the web users See the results of the code, and that's the interface they use) So even though the site may not be charging anything, they are distributing an (essentially) binary form of the code.

    How is that essentially different from using any GPL program on a public network? Should I not be allowed to use a modified Linux kernel on my router, because people who route packets through it are using my program, and I won't distribute the source? What about a GPL'd mail server or web server? Any time you use a program under such a (as of yet) mythical license that is accessible to users via a network, then you can't make changes, or you must provide the changes as source. That is a significant departure from the way things have always worked, since long before there was a web.

    The GPL works as designed. That it "doesn't apply" to web programs is not a flaw, it is part of the design.

    Are there any liceses' out there that address web use?

    I have heard the next version of the GPL will, though I hope not. It would absolutely cripple the use of Slash by commercial organizations who for one reason or another are disinclined to distribute changes, if Slash were to use such a license.