I and others have argued that it's critical to open source's future that licenses like the Affero GPL close the "ASP loophole" by requiring companies like Google to contribute back derivative works of open-source software that they distribute as a service, rather than as packaged software. Now Gordon Haff is suggesting that requiring Web 2.0 to Contribute 1.0 may cause more problems than it solves, and he could well be right.
The problem has nothing to do with whether Web 2.0 vendors like Google are required to contribute back. The problem is all the so-called Web 2.0 users:
Distribution in the GPLv2 and GPLv3 licenses draws (mostly) a hard-edged line. If you're an enterprise using software internally, anything goes. If you're using GPL code in software you're selling to the public--whether downloaded, on a CD, or in embedded firmware--you must make the relevant sources available. However, as more and more companies of every stripe make parts of their computing infrastructure available to their customers--think online banking, for example--where does it end? The boundaries become very fuzzy--which would inject lots of uncertainty into just about any use of open source in an enterprise environment.
This is a very, very good point. I'm not sure how to answer it.… Read more