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pho4cexa @pho4cexa

Hi just your local rabid copyleft zealot here with a gentle reminder that

if @Gargron had not changed Mastondon's license to AGPL, then John McAfee could have taken his blockchain-scented knockoff 100% proprietary closed gfy source and we'd never know what shenanigans he gets up to within it. Thank you Gargron!

@pho4cexa counterpoint: he's already violating the license, and we don't actually know what shenanigans he's up to

@aeonofdiscord 🤷 if so, that's a separate problem

"the license should be more permissive because some people will violate it regardless"

is like saying

"it's no use having laws because people break them regardless"

@pho4cexa I'm not saying, here, that the license should be more permissive; I'm saying that applying the license hasn't materially prevented anything

advocating the AGPL on the basis that it stops people doing bad things doesn't make sense if it doesn't actually do that in practice; in terms of a legal analogy, I'd argue that a law that was either completely unenforceable or never actually enforced probably shouldn't exist

@aeonofdiscord i would argue that the AGPL _does_ stop (most) people doing bad things in practice, but--just like laws--some people violate it anyway.

copyleft licenses are enforceable, and have been enforced.

i'd agree they might not be enforced _enough_ because wealth often weighs more than justice in my country's legal system. but that too is a different problem, and i wouldn't agree that it means we should just stop using them

@pho4cexa I'm talking about the unenforceability of the AGPL specifically; you'd – presumably – have to prove that the code running on a remote server was different to the code made available by the server owner to prove infringement

the license defines what 'bad things' are, and most people don't do them, but afaik the AGPL (not the GPL) hasn't been tested

@aeonofdiscord that situation, where someone deliberately publishes source code made to be covertly different than what runs on their server, to deceptively appear to comply, does sound like a challenge, but i don't think that renders the AGPL "unenforceable."

i'm also concerned about service owners who don't bother with the pretense of offering source code at all. that function of the AGPL seems easily enforceable.

i think you're right that it hasn't been tested. not a reason to abandon it

@pho4cexa Again, I'm not saying here that it should be abandoned – that was just in response to the analogy you raised about actual laws.

But I'm addressing your original point, that the using the AGPL was a good decision by Gargron because it prevents hiveway from doing something bad that we don't know about. It hasn't done that, and can't do it without enforcement, so enforceability becomes a live issue; licensing isn't a 'fire and forget' thing

@pho4cexa (sorry, clarification: me saying 'unenforceable laws shouldn't exist' was purely meant to be an aside, and not directly relevant to the AGPL discussion; I think the analogy between software licenses and legislation is flawed for a number of reasons which would be boring and not particularly illuminating to go into)

@aeonofdiscord okay, i'll accept your critique that AGPL doesn't "prevent" hiveway from behaving badly, by itself, if nobody enforces it.

but i think it would have been a very bad decision to choose instead a more permissive license which explicitly invites and condones that behavior.

@radicalgraffiti @Gargron It was GPL-2.0 before, and even though that would have been exploitable (as it has neither SaaS nor Tivoization protection) there's still people in the issue comments whinging that it should have been even _more_ permissive