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The AGPL: Solution in Search of a Problem

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OSS

In the early days of commercial open source, misinformation was a major impediment to adoption. Many enterprises, for example, explicitly forbade usage of code released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). When asked about the justification for this prohibition, the most common response centered around difficult-to-articulate concerns about being compelled to open source code they did not wish to. The fear that this “viral” license would infect their private repositories was rampant.

The truth, as became obvious following the mainstream adoption of GPL-licensed projects like Linux and MySQL, is that this was never the risk it was perceived to be. Simple usage of these technologies does not trigger the reciprocal provisions of the license, those that require modifications to be distributed under the same terms as the original source code, i.e. the GPL. More to the point, even if it was the case that applications built on top of Linux or MySQL were regarded as modifications, enterprises would not be subject to the terms of the license because of the so-called ASP loophole.

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Microsoft Against GNU/Linux in the Public Sector

  • NHS: Thanks for all the free work, Linux nerds, now face our trademark cops [Ed: NHS has long been a Microsoft stronghold]
    Dev team quits, suggests NHS used them to get better deal with Microsoft [...] The small team behind an ambitious NHoS Linux project are calling it a day, citing receipt of a trademark infringement warning from the Department of Health's (DoH) "brand police" as the "final straw". The initial raison d’être of NHoS was to identify a way to roll out NHSbuntu, a strand of open-source Linux distro Ubuntu designed for the NHS, on three-quarters of a million smartcards. The smartcards are used to verify the healthcare pros that access 80 per cent of applications on millions of NHS PCs. The volunteer force behind NHoS wanted NHSbuntu to replace the current smartcard verification system that was running on Windows, and ultimately, have the operating system replace Windows on the desktop as well. Smart card recognition was seen as a mile-high hurdle in this grand plan. [...] Baw alleged the pair "(unbeknown to us) were also duplicitously negotiating with Microsoft about a new NHS Enterprise Wide Agreement".
  • Barcelona Council abandons Microsoft for open-source software [iophk: "again, disinfo about the reason for Munich's change"
    The Spanish city of Barcelona has announced it will phase out its use of Microsoft software in favour of open-source alternatives. Over the next few years, the city will transition away from Microsoft's services to guarantee its "technical sovereignty."

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