Blog: Reading AGPL

This one was a long time coming.

I originally planned to do a full line-by-line of GPLv3 or AGPLv3. But it became clear, quick, that it would end up being more like a book than a blog post. I’m glad I managed to get at least this part out. Especially since I’ve seen so many totally understandable misapprehensions about AGPL in the chatter about SSPL.


Thank you for publishing this resource! It is very articulate and helpful. I stumbled upon it from my recent tweet. I was wondering if you had any follow-up plans for more content around AGPL. FUD continues to swarm with Grafana and now Minio and consumers of said software are full of questions. A FAQ for the potential user of AGPL software would be immensely helpful. See this thread for an example of the Qs people are asking.

One could go so far as to create a microsite, “” or “”. Just a thought :slight_smile:


Hi, @jonathanberi. Welcome.

I don’t have any specific AGPL plans at the moment. And I don’t think I can override corporate policies—or reflexes—against AGPL with a blog post. That said, the license is a doozy. There’s plenty more to say about it.

Some of my prior posts about MongoDB and the Server Side Public License address details. I did some light analysis of possible loopholes, at least one of which Mongo complained about. If you really want to dive deep, those posts mat be worthwhile.

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I dunno, but Google v. Oracle seems particularly pertinent here… the ‘fair use’ doctrine vis-a-vis API’s thing would seem to weaken AGPL somewhat?

I do have something coming on Oracle v. Google. I’d’ve published it by now if I hadn’t been dealing with medical stuff again. I’m not sure how much clarity the decision actually provides.