AGPL Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Affero General Public License?
A: The Affero General Public License is the the GNU
GPL V2 and "one additional feature", specifically covering the distribution
of application programs through web services or computer networks.
Is the Affero General Public License compatible with GPL V2?
A: No. This license constitutes GPL V2.X and
the upgrade should be GPL V3. It should be upwards compatible with
GPL V3 and later, not backward compatible to GPL V2. It "should" be, provided
that GPL V3 has a provision which protects software that is run over networks
and has a download source facility built in.
Why is Affero using this license now?
A: Affero believes that it's community of users, partners,
and developers should have certain rights to it's software if they begin
to interact with it. Since the interaction occurs only over a network, the
GNU GPL wasn't designed for protecting their freedoms. We did not wish to
wait until the GNU GPL V3 was complete, so we began to pursue the development
of our own license. The FSF was in the process of drafting GPL V3 and they
allowed us to use GNU GPL V2 with this new provision.
How does the Affero Public License differ from GPL V2?
A: The "one additional feature" - Section 2(d) reads
as follows: " If the Program as you received it is intended
to interact with users through a computer network and if, in the
version you received, any user interacting with the Program was given
the opportunity to request transmission to that user of the Program's
complete source code, you must not remove that facility from your
modified version of the Program or work based on the Program, and must
offer an equivalent opportunity for all users interacting with your
Program through a computer network to request immediate transmission
by HTTP of the complete source code of your modified version or other
How does this license protect the author?
A: In addition to other protections already in place
by the GNU GPL V2, the new download source function is non-removable under
the license. Each author who makes derivative works and runs the work
publically must not remove the download source functionality. This enables
the original author, in this case Affero, to download the source and receive
the benefit of any modifications to its original work.
Can the application software be running on one server and the source another?
How does this license treat commercial enterprise use over intranets and
A: Simply, if run internally to a commercial company,
then the company isn't required to release source code back to the world.
The license requires that if a user downloads the source they have the right
to make improvements and not release these modifications. GNU GPL
software in general addresses this issue the same way. If an employee
has access to the source and has the right to make improvements, the commercial
entity could probably view this work as work for hire and owned by the company
and not have to be released outside.
Can a commercial entity remove the download source button in a corporate
intranet or internal networked environment?
A: No. Anyone who wants to use the software in
a corporate intranet or internal network, must leave the download source button
but doesn't have to make modifications available if not engaged in distribution.
Anyone engaged in distribution beyond their enterprise must leave the download
source button in place and make available the source for any modifications
through this button.
How do you define the enterprise networked together?
A: Employees connected through the employer's internal