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Open source licensing and why we?re changing Plausible to the AGPL license

the Plausible Analytics Cloud
Analytics Self-Hosted
Google Analytics
GNU Affero General Public License V3
Free Software Foundation

Lightweight Script
Richard Stallman


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And there are some things we didn’t consider when we chose the license.Here are a couple of events that made us aware of the risks with a permissive open source license:There’s been at least one case where a corporation has taken parts of our code, made it closed source and started selling it as a direct competitorWe’ve had approaches from large corporations that want us to help them so they can sell Plausible Self-Hosted to their tens of thousands of clients without wanting to contribute anything to our project. It makes it even tougher when providing our analytics tool with zero strings attached to the corporations that want to compete with us by selling work based on our own software.So we want a “don’t be evil” license and here’s what we are trying to accomplish with it:We want to prevent corporations from taking our code and using it as part of their closed-source proprietary productsWe want to prevent corporations from offering Plausible as a service without contributing to the open source projectWe want to prevent corporations from confusing people and making them think that the service they sell is in any shape or form approved by the original teamAnd we don’t want this to in any way impact the actual use case Plausible is built for. A completely open source and self-hostable web analytics tool that helps people de-Googlify their sites and respect the privacy of their visitors.Although we don’t want closed source corporations to directly compete with us using our own work, it’s important to leave the space open for forking of the project and incorporating it into other open source works.This is the best way to future-proof the project against bad actors, including ourselves if we become evil at some point. Plausible version can be found here.This change makes no difference to any of you who subscribe to Plausible Cloud or who self-host Plausible, but it may upset a few corporations who tried to use our software to directly compete with us without contributing back.AGPL is a license Google has a problem with as they’re not prepared to divulge their closed source code. The GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) was born.The AGPL license is identical to the original GPL license with the only additional term being to allow users who interact with the licensed software over a network to receive the source for that program.AGPL is designed to ensure corporations contribute back to the open source community even when running the software as a service in the cloud.If you used AGPL-licensed code in your web service in the cloud, you are required to open source it. They won’t be able to take the code, make changes to it and sell it as a competing product without contributing those changes back to the original project.Here’s that extra paragraph:“If you run a modified program on a server and let other users communicate with it there, your server must also allow them to download the source code corresponding to the modified version running there”.A corporation needs to be clear and provide a prominent mention and link to the original project so people that are considering to use their version of software can be aware of the original sourceIf a corporation modifies the original software, they need to open source and publish their modifications by for instance contributing back to the original projectSo how can a corporation commercialize a FOSS project without open sourcing their modified code?

As said here by Marko Saric