[lug] Google Chrome Linux "distribution"

Davide Del Vento davide.del.vento at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 13:53:26 MDT 2009

>> On the other hand, if I don't give you my executable, but leave it
>> running on my machine(s), and give you an account, so that you can
>> login there and "remotely use" my program, that's NOT distribution
>> according to GPL, but it is according to Affero.
> But it isn't legally.
> AFAIK there is no such legal thing as "remote execution". You send a
> request to the server, it runs the program and sends back output. The
> output isn't copyrighted. The owner of the server hasn't done anything
> requiring a copyright license, so how does Affero matter? The owner of
> the server never has to agree to Affero in order to possess, modify,
> execute the code or to distribute its output.

I don't see your point.

Suppose that a guy modified, re-compiled and give you an executable,
based on a GPL-licensed code. He gives you ONLY the executable, no
source code. What is legally requiring him to give you the source
code? ONLY the terms of license. There isn't any other "legal things",
to use your words, in giving you an executable. There isn't any law.
In fact, many other software are given only as executables.

Now suppose that the same guy is the owner of a server, and he
modified, re-compiled and executed an Affero-licensed code, making
also the set-up in the server to make it responds to users requests.
Why he shouldn't follow the license now, if the license says that he
must give the source code to the end user?
This owner of a server is clearly "using" someone else code, which is
copyrighted under the Affero license, so this guy must follow what the
copyright owner says. I could write a program under my own Open Source
license saying that you can only read it, but not compile it.

Now, the fact the GPL was "good" in that it allowed you to privately
do whatever you wanted, is not a law fact, it's a license fact.
Indeed, other copyright owners, do not allow you to privately (or "on
the web") do whatever you want: think music. Can I make copies of
songs that I legally purchased, without distributing them? If DMCA
applies, no. Can I let users loggin on my website and let them listen
the songs I legally purchased? Neither, because the stuff is

Now, if you are saying that this would be different to enforce, that's
a different story. But how can you be sure that MicroSoft or Apple
didn't put some GPL'd pieces of code into their closed source
executables? That's also difficult to prove.

To Chris: under Affero, the end user will not be considered the author
of the software, that I'm sure.


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