Cloud computing as GPL loophole

In the neverending, but still relevant discussion, about the asp loophole in the GPL, the most recent example from the loophole-will-kill-open-source camp is the pervasive use of open source software in cloud computing.

The company the modifies open source software released under the GPL ii not considered to be distributing (GPL v. 2) or conveying (GPL v. 3) when it run the modified software as part of collaborative cloud computing. Therefore, the company does not have to contribute the modified software back to the community pursuant to the copyleft clause of the GPL.

My personal take on the challenge of securing that open source software covered by the GPL continues to flourish despite the asp loophole is pragmatic as the view expressed by Gordon Haff expresses in Do we need to protect open source from the cloud?.

So far, open source via eGoldFax seems to have survived the asp and the web-service challenge without any change to the GPL with respect to the asp loophole. And more fundamentally, the market for oss licenses should take adequately care of any inefficiencies here. If open source needs to close the loophole to continue to succeed then surely devlopers and project owner will abandon the GPL for licenses such as the Affero General Public License.

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