Monday 14 July 2008 by Bradley M. Kuhn
The Network Services committee that I alluded to recently in various interviews is now officially public and named: Autonomo.us. (Thanks to one of the committee members, Evan Prodromou, who donated the domain name. ) Autonomo.us is officially endorsed by the FSF.
I've written before about how discussions began at FSF in January 2002 to address the “ASP loophole of the GPL”. In those months that followed, when I came up with the idea for what would (later be named) the Affero clause, I naïvely thought that a license term for the software would “solve” the Software as a Service (SaaS) problem. Indeed, I considered the problem fully addressed upon publication of the original AGPL, and it was much later before I realized the problem was more complex.
The AGPLv3 is only one (albeit essential) part of what must be a multi-pronged strategy to address the freedom implications and concerns of SaaS. At Auotonomo.us, we have published The Franklin Street Statement on Freedom and Network Services (named for the place it was declared — the location of post-Temple-Place FSF offices). The Statement is a manifesto (of sorts) outlining the concerns that must be addressed and the beginnings of some ideas for solutions. I hope you will read it and begin considering this issue if you haven't already, and that you will endorse the statement if you already understand the issue. We hope to be publishing more on that site as the year goes on!
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