@sir Do you have a good site that details the differences between the AGPL and GPL? Admittedly your description of the AGPL seems to line up with what I thought the GPL was.

@sir Thanks for that. Noticed I was an idiot and did not see this part from your blog "including users accessing it over the network such as with their web browser or via an API or internet protocol". Makes sense.

@sir What Google describes as the GNU AGPL sounds awfully similar to MongoDB's Server Side Public License. That one really does require users to publish the source code of all software used to provide a service along with MongoDB (the open source version) and license it under the SSPL.


@sir agree that Google's document is mostly dumb and mostly does not apply to other entities, but any discussion of the AGPL which doesn't involve its bizarre conflation of patent law and copyright licensing is missing the point.

It's a too-broad, untested, ideological section of the license and it is absolute poison to exactly the sorts of people who cannot generally afford a protracted IP battle -- academics.

@khm I don't understand how it's broad or ideological. Have you read the actual license text?

@sir yes, I have. Sadly, dealing with this kind of crap is part of my job these days. Any license that covers both copyright AND patent exemption in this manner is extremely shaky ground with little legal precedent outside of two-party signed contracts, which is a different sort of law.

@khm is it because academics want to hold and enforce patents to their inventions? Because I will never agree with that

@sir I believe software patents should not even exist. I find the entire concept repulsive. I'm not entirely convinced copyright law should apply to software, either.

But they do exist, and this document makes life hell for people who have to live in thjat world. I don't have to agree with the underpinnings of their predicament to acknowledge that it exists. So for anyone who is not totally independent, your assessment of the AGPL is not really something to live by.

@sir specifically all of the mealymouthed crap about "knowingly relying" and the parts about forcing you to arrange patent licenses on behalf of upstream parties. Combined with the half-assed attempt to concede the fact that the whole world is not in fact Boston, MA, with the tacked-on part about "countries" at the end of the patent section. The document is a terrible example of shoving shit in because you Believe Something, then having lawyers try to spackle over the cracks. A nightmare.

Wait, you actually care about startups not getting fucked by google? I thought startups were bad...

@wolf480pl @sir startups aren't bad. Today's startup culture is.

@sir why I would choose agpl over mit or bsd?

@sir Your interpretation of what is and is not a "derivative work" might not be what the lawyers or the authors of AGPL think. Check out, for instance, how CLISP got licensed under GPL (not even AGPL): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CLISP#Hi.

Copyleft doesn't even stop for-profit companies from profiting from OSS developers' unpaid labor. It just makes them give _something_ back to the community, and they can't fathom the thought.

@sir I didn't read the whole conversation but please talk to @fsfstatus , @conservancy or @sflc to confirm if this is really the right interpretation of #AGPL. For one, copyleft.org/ also serves as a guide.

@sir I think Google is fine not using AGPL. Google is huge target for law suites because it is a huge company with lots of money.



from Google's blog about AGPL:

The license places restrictions on software used over a network which are extremely difficult for Google to comply with. Using AGPL software requires that anything it links to must also be licensed under the AGPL. Even if you think you aren’t linking to anything important, it still presents a huge risk to Google because of how integrated much of our code is. The risks heavily outweigh the benefits.

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