Sunday, December 9, 2007

Funambol takes the AGPLv3 plunge

Funambol might be known for what they call their “open source mobile email & PIM sync solution,” but now they're going to be celebrated as being the “first major open source software company” to adopt the AGPLv3 license. Designed to close the so-called ASP loophole, the AGPLv3 requires companies that modify open source software running over a network (as opposed to being delivered on a CD or DVD) to make the source code publicly available.

According to Benjamin Mako Hill of the Free Software Foundation,

The GNU GPL has been the most successful free software license because it makes a program's source available to its users. This enables massive collaboration between developers, since everyone gets the same benefits from this rule. The GNU AGPL will enable the same kind of cooperation around web services and other networked software.

Funambol says the AGPLv3 is consistent with the Honest Public License the company had been developing since late 2006, but it switched to the AGPLv3 to eliminate an unnecessary multiplication of free software licenses.

I think this is a bold decision. This decision reinforces Funambol’s position as a leader in the open source industry. As I wrote in this blog in May 2007: Man up Google! Only time will tell whether other open source companies in the SaaS space will follow suit.

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