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> AGPL licenses aren't transitive, things that touch AGPL'ed software over the network aren't suddenly required to be AGPL licensed (otherwise the whole purpose of it would fall apart, since a large chunk of the initial design was for Free Software web-applications which could still be run in proprietary web browsers).

That is not necessarily true in the case of the database due to how the drivers work. This would need to be tested in court. It's unclear by the license terms alone.




Note that MongoDB clarified their understanding of AGPL in no uncertain terms [0] so they would have trouble dragging someone who developed apps using their DB to court and demanding opensourcing of the app. Without such clarification from their side we would never have touched MongoDB.

[0] https://www.mongodb.com/blog/post/the-agpl


That's why I said in the past that the AGPL was not a huge concern for as long as a commercial entity stands behind RethinkDB. Once that broke away who knows what individual contributors think of what the AGPL means (let alone a judge).


The AGPL makes this explicitly clear:

> 13. Remote Network Interaction; Use with the GNU General Public License. > > Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, if you modify the Program, your modified version must prominently offer all users interacting with it remotely through a computer network (if your version supports such interaction) an opportunity to receive the Corresponding Source of your version by providing access to the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge, through some standard or customary means of facilitating copying of software. This Corresponding Source shall include the Corresponding Source for any work covered by version 3 of the GNU General Public License that is incorporated pursuant to the following paragraph. > > Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you have permission to link or combine any covered work with a work licensed under version 3 of the GNU General Public License into a single combined work, and to convey the resulting work. The terms of this License will continue to apply to the part which is the covered work, but the work with which it is combined will remain governed by version 3 of the GNU General Public License.

Users interacting with the modified program over the network have a right to access the modified source, there's absolutely nothing about the client software (database drivers, web browsers, etc) accessing it being considered part of a combined work. You can access a AGPL licensed database or whatever from a proprietary application with absolutely no issue, you just can't modify the AGPL'ed work, expose it to users other than yourself, and not share your modifications.

Do yourself a favor, grab https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.txt and https://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.txt and run `diff` on them, this is literally the only substantive difference in the entire license text.


> Users interacting with the modified program over the network have a right to access the modified source, there's absolutely nothing about the client software (database drivers, web browsers, etc) accessing it being considered part of a combined work.

No, but there is a definition of corresponding source which includes code beyond the direct scope of the AGPL in case of mongodb: "Corresponding Source includes interface definition files associated with source files for the work, and the source code for shared libraries and dynamically linked subprograms that the work is specifically designed to require, such as by intimate data communication or control flow between those subprograms and other parts of the work."

This is one point of contention that was brought up by multiple people in the past because it puts client libraries into the scope.


This is the same text that is in the traditional GPL, and nobody has tried to claim that it requires additional libraries or programs like database drivers talking to a GPL'ed database must be GPL. This would immediately prevent anyone from using MariaDB, since it is GPL licensed.

Literally the only delta between the GPL and AGPL is the Remote Network Interaction section, it doesn't extend the reach of the GPL license in regards to database drivers, etc.




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