AGPL Gets OK from OSI


The GNU Affero GPLv3 is now officially open source (but don't tell Richard Stallman).

The man responsible for this is Fabrizio Capobianco, who explains on his blog why he decided to take on Google single-handedly over this issue:

the fight against the ASP loophole in GPL has been one of my long-standing battles. In GPL v2, those who ran open source software in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environment, and modified the open source code, were not required to return the changes back to the community (just because of a technicality, since the clause of copyleft applied to physical distribution of the software, not distribution of software as a service). For me, this has always been one of the worst risks for open source oblivion.

If you can take and you do not give back, defeating the copyleft concept, you kill open source. The ASP loophole is the cancer of open source.

One company benefiting from it is Google, abusing open source software for their benefit (aren't you interested in seeing the modification to the Linux file system they did to run their gazillion of servers? I am ;-) In fact, they pushed for the ASP loophole to be ratified in GPL v3 and they submitted it to OSI for approval. They love the loophole. They made a business around it (and what a business!!). They got GPL v3 OSI approved...

Funambol submitted AGPL v3 to OSI. AGPL is the exact same as GPL v3, with a sentence that closes the ASP loophole. If you run AGPL code as a service, you need to return the changes to the community. Distribution of software as a service is distribution of software. Simple as that.

Kudos to Fabrizio for moving the GNU GPLv3 into cloud cuckoo land. As Fabrizio says:

Now we just need developers to understand that using GPL v3 instead of AGPL v3 is just dumb. Your software is going to be used as a service, if not today, in a few years. Yes, YOUR software. Everything is going to be used as a service, even word processors...