Open Software as a Service

This is yet another post arising from the point that “free software license requirements to release source code are all triggered by the act of distribution, and that web applications, which are not actually ‘distributed,’ are therefore not bound by these licenses.” The quote is from Tim O’Reilly, who thinks that letting this state of affairs persist in GPL V3 was the right, or at least the realistic, thing to do.

Tim seems to call for a new license. “I believe that there will come a time when we will need to rediscover for Web 2.0 the freedoms that led Richard Stallman to the GPL, but I don’t think it will grow out of the current crop of free software licenses.”

I found Tim’s post via Matt Asay, who states that “we need a new crop of licenses to help make open source relevant for the web.”

The free/open source world already has a daunting variety of licenses (see relevant pages at OSI and at FSF). Given this, the recent energy poured into GPL V3, and the existence of the Affero General Public License, would yet more licenses be a good use of resources?

By the way, I was going to leave a comment at The Open Road, Matt’s blog, but that’s not possible without CNET membership. Although membership is free (as in beer), that road seems a little less than fully open…

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