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Tried to ask this on SO but was referred here...

Am I correct in saying that using a GPL'ed web application framework such as Composite C1 would NOT obligate a company to share the source code we write against said framework?

That is the purpose of the AGPL, am I correct?

Does this also apply to Javascript frameworks like KendoUI?

The GPL would require any changes that we make to the framework be made available to others if we were to offer it for download.

In other words, merely loading a web sites content into my browser is not "conveying" or "distributing" that software.

I have been arguing that we should avoid GPL web frameworks and now after researching I am pretty sure I am wrong but wanted to get other opinions?


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+1 a worthy question. However, keep in mind that the same reasons that had caused you to "argue that we should avoid GPL" likely exist in the minds of others too. Even among reasonable people who have studied the GPL there are still grey areas, which probably don't apply to your use-case, but the Uncertainty is a tough bit to conquer in a corporate environment. – msw Jun 8 '12 at 22:15
@msw Any reasonable person that has studied GPL would not use GPL code at a corporation. They would realize that the FOSS motto is very anti-corporation. I realize motto != legal recourse. – Andrew T Finnell Jun 8 '12 at 23:05

AGPL and GPLv3 were created to close the "GPL as a service" loop hole. If the code is licensed this way and you are going to use the web server in a commercial setting I would look elsewhere.

I am not a lawyer, etc.

Affero General Public License

That is the purpose of the AGPL, am I correct?

AGPL is the opposite of what you are assuming here.

Does this also apply to Javascript frameworks like KendoUI?

You cannot use KendoUI GLPv3 license unless your whole product that is using it is also GPL compatible.

In other words, merely loading a web sites content into my browser is not "conveying" or "distributing" that software.

In GPLv3 and AGPL it is conveying and distributing.

These questions come up time and time again. We can apply logic and reasoning to most of the products in question. Kendo UI has a commercial version of the product available and a GPLv3 version available. It stands to reason that they do not want you using their product in a commercial settings, i.e. a non GPL application, unless you pay for it.

They even spell it out on their web page:

This version is suitable for GPL-compatible open source projects only.

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Thanks for drawing my attention to the AGPL and its opaque inclusion by reference into GPLv3 §13. Those terms radically change the reach of both licenses and although I'm reasonable, I was specifically ignorant of that morass. I edited the question title to highlight the reference to AGPL but lack the reputation to make it stick. – msw Jun 9 '12 at 5:12

That is correct, GPL only matters when you are distributing the binary version of the code. If you never intend to distribute the code then GPL is irrelevant. There can still be a case for avoiding GPL because you may want to distribute your modifications some day, and the GPL could come back to bite you. There are ways, however, to "include" a GPL library while avoiding being forced to release your changes as well, but they do violate the spirit of the GPL if bad karma worries you.

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-1 Not really true. Read up on AGPL and GLPv3 and the service loophole. – Andrew T Finnell Jun 8 '12 at 23:14

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