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The AGPL for database products isn't unheard of. See also Neo4J.

It makes sense from the host business's point of view. If you are the sole contributor, then you're entitled to do what you like. Moreover, you're also free to charge for commercial licences.

This licencing model wouldn't be appropriate for a community-centric database, such as PostgreSQL. With many contributors to core, no one would be able to arbitrage the situation.




> The AGPL for database products isn't unheard of. See also Neo4J.

And Mongo. Also RethinkDB until the parent company folded.

> This licencing model wouldn't be appropriate for a community-centric database, such as PostgreSQL.

I don't disagree.

It's interesting, though, how counterintuitive this is. I would think that GPL wouldn't be a problem for individual contributors (the types of participants I imagine when I think of a "community"), but for business contributors who don't want competitors to take advantage of their modifications. And yet, anything a business contributes back to an MIT/Apache project is actually less protected than a contribution to a GPL project.


> > This licencing model wouldn't be appropriate for a community-centric database, such as PostgreSQL.

> I don't disagree.

> It's interesting, though, how counterintuitive this is. I would think that GPL wouldn't be a problem for individual contributors (the types of participants I imagine when I think of a "community"), but for business contributors who don't want competitors to take advantage of their modifications. And yet, anything a business contributes back to an MIT/Apache project is actually less protected than a contribution to a GPL project.

Well, a lot of them want to, at least temporarily, distribute some features without releasing them. And that simply doesn't work for GPL projects, unless there's a sole owner and all external contributions are made under some form of CLA. There's a lot of open-core type projects, but in my experience they're on average less healthy than projects with multiple contributing entities.

For PostgreSQL there've been a lot of closed source forks, but a lot of them folded and/or couldn't keep up with the amount of changes and thus are based on some super old version (hello Redshift, hello Greenplum). The only ones that appear to be able to keep up are ones 1) that move more invasive changes upstream after a while and religiously rebase after every release, never delaying, or 2) move their modifications into extensions, possibly adding the necessary extension APIs to core PostgreSQL.


I think the problem is they never will contribute back any modifications upstream. Pick the right license for the project. Apache is for marketshare, gpl is perfect framework for community involvement, agpl is best for control


> agpl is best for control

In my personal opinion, AGPL is largely chosen to avoid various cloud providers from profiting significantly from $product, without ever giving back. That's control, but a very specific form of it. I don't personally like AGPLs legalese, it's very very imprecise.


From what I've heard of lawyers in the Free Software world, they most applauf AGPLv3 for its clarity and precision.

Maybe it just seems imprecise to a layperson because they don't know the well-defined meaning of various legal terms? (... and confuse these with their fuzzy meaning in ordinary language)


> From what I've heard of lawyers in the Free Software world, they most applauf AGPLv3 for its clarity and precision.

You're sure they were talking AGPLv3 and not [L]GPLv3?

The definitions of what constitutes an interactive program is quite vague (sect 0 and 13). Let's say you have a database server under AGPL (mongo, or say citus). Clearly they support interactive access in some form, but from the perspective of user of an application using said database access is not interactive, nor is it clear how the database could provide such an interactive notice. Various vendors addressed that issue with clarifying notes about their understanding, but that definitely increases doubts of possible users, including their lawyers.




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