Monday, March 31, 2008

Google blocking AGPL in Google Code

I received an email this morning from a friend who is planning to put his open source project in Google Code, the open source repository hosted by Google.

He is concerned by this thread in Google groups. A developer asked, back in November:
Can I host a project on Google's Project Hosting, if it's licensed under AGPL? It's one of FSF's licenses. I really need AGPL instead of GPL, as my project is a server-side software.
Chris DiBona, Google master of open source, answered:
In fact we do not support the AGPL on We are actively trying to fight the proliferation of licenses that are considered open source and the AGPL both has very little market share and has not been certified as being open source by the OSI.
Now, that was November 2007... Later in the thread Chris writes:
We have no current plans to do so. If AGPL adoption is high enough to warrant it, we'll revisit. The question is this: Who will propose the AGPL to the OSI? :-)
Nice :-) Funambol did it. AGPL is OSI approved. When pushed again, Chris switched from AGPL not being OSI-approved to not being a popular license:
what really matters is that the license is adopted. So far, we haven't seen much of it.
So, first AGPL was not good enough for Google because it was not OSI-approved. That limited its popularity... Now it is OSI-approved. Still, it is not popular enough to be accepted in the Google closed open source hosting site?

And, by the way, why should people put their open source code in the hands of someone who likes open source only when it does good to its business (ehm, that could include me, but we are not talking about me, are we ;-) ?

C'mon Chris, give developers the ability of using AGPL for their own projects in Google Code. Your fight for no proliferation of licenses is something I subscribe to, but AGPL is the license of the future, no matter if Google likes it or not. And I can guarantee you it will become even more popular if it is accepted in Google Code...