FSF finalizes GPL-based license for Web services

The Free Software Foundation has published a new open-source software license aimed at developers whose code is used for SaaS applications.

The Free Software Foundation has published a new open-source software license aimed at developers whose code is used for software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.

The new license allows them to guarantee that modifications to software used to power publicly available services will be contributed to the free software community.

The new license is called the GNU Affero General Public License version 3 (GNU AGPLv3). It's based on the latest, third version of the GNU general public license (GPLv3), which was finalized in June.

The GNU GPL lies at the heart of the free software movement, whose advocates contend that program source code should be freely available to study and modify. Programs released under the GNU GPL can be copied and redistributed. Developers, however, are free to modify source code and not share the changes if the software is only used inside a company.

The GNU GPL mandates that people who distribute applications built from modified source code also release the changes, but the provision didn't always cover SaaS applications, which have grown in use over the last few years. In those situations, a developer could offer a service based on a modified application without actually distributing it.

Other open-source licenses have been developed that incorporate ideas similar to the GNU GPL.

Affero, a private company in San Francisco, had created a license based on version two of the GNU GPL to accommodate SaaS. On its Web site, Affero said it wrote its own license since it didn't want to wait until the GNU GPLv3 was finished.

SaaS applications are often located on servers in data centers and used for services such as e-mail. Users can access the applications over the Internet via a Web browser and further software isn't required on the PC.

The arrangement means that applications are easier to update and cheaper to run, which appeals to IT administrators.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?