Launchpad's License Will Be AGPLv3

Thursday 15 January 2009 by Bradley M. Kuhn

Last week, I asked Karl Fogel, Canonical's newly hired Launchpad Ombudsman, if Launchpad will use the AGPLv3. His eyes said “yes” but his words were something like: Canonical hasn't announced the license choice yet. I was excited to learn this morning from him that Launchpad's license will be AGPLv3.

This is exciting news. Launchpad is precisely the type of application that we designed the AGPLv3 for, and Launchpad is rapidly becoming a standard in the next generation of Free Software project hosting. Over the last year, I've felt much trepidation that Launchpad would be “another SourceForge”: that great irony of a proprietary platform becoming the canonical method for Free Software project hosting. It seems now the canonical and the Canonical method for hosting will be Launchpad, and it will respect the freedom of network users of the service.

Given that they'd already announced plans to liberate Launchpad, it's not really surprising that Canonical has selected the AGPLv3. I would guess their primary worry about releasing the source was ensuring that competitors don't sprout up and fail to share their improvements back with the community of users. AGPLv3 is specifically designed for this situation.

I'm glad we've made a license that is getting adoption by top-tier Free Software projects like this one. Critics keep saying that AGPLv3 is a marginal license of limited interest. I hope this license choice by Canonical will show them again that they continue to be mistaken.

Thanks to Karl, Matthew Revell, Mark Shuttleworth himself, and all the others at Canonical who are helping make this happen.

Posted on Thursday 15 January 2009 at 10:05 by Bradley M. Kuhn.

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Both previously and presently, I have been employed by and/or done work for various organizations that also have views on Free, Libre, and Open Source Software. As should be blatantly obvious, this is my website, not theirs, so please do not assume views and opinions here belong to any such organization. Since I do co-own with my wife, it may not be so obvious that these aren't her views and opinions, either.

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