By the way, now that I’ve had the chance to reflect on this a bit more, I thought I’d add some context on our situation and considerations, in case it’s helpful for others in the community.
I’m one of the co-founders of AMMP - a start-up that provides remote monitoring for renewable energy systems, mostly in emerging markets. In other words - I’m pretty sure - we’re not the kind of company that Grafana (Labs) is trying to keep at bay with this license change.
From the start, we’ve been using a slightly modified version of the Grafana codebase for our visualizations and dashboarding engine, as part of a wider SaaS offering. We’re incredibly grateful to the Grafana community - in particular the devs/contributors - for building such a great tool and making it possible to us to use it in this way, for free. And in this context, having Grafana under the Apache license has given us not just freedom, but also peace of mind from a legal perspective.
The change to AGPL in principle complicates things for us. The fact of the matter is that we could open-source under AGPL also, in order to be compliant, but that’s not without its pitfalls. Specifically:
- We would probably need to “lawyer up”, at least in order to get a qualified opinion as to what the scope of impact of AGPL on our codebase is, i.e. what specifically we would need to re-license on our end.
- We would need to go through the logistics of open-sourcing our code in a way that’s compliant with the license requirements - some of which will probably again require legal opinion. (meanwhile, the sad fact here is that our codebase is unlikely to be particularly useful to anyone)
- The AGPL exposure is likely to bring up questions during any technical/legal due diligence processes (e.g. as part of VC fundraising). Not questions we can’t answer, but ones that will take time and effort nonetheless.
Again, none of these are problems that we can’t solve with a bit of elbow grease. But they’re ones that a small company like ours - with a seemingly unending to-do list - could well do without. So for the time being at least we’ll stick with the Apache-licensed codebase, while we figure out what works best for the future.
[I hope the above doesn’t come across as a rant. We, as AMMP, wouldn’t be where we are now if Grafana wasn’t available to us back when we started 3 years ago. I support any measures needed to safeguard the long-term prosperity of the project, and trust the core team to know best. I just wanted to be open about the collateral effects of this change on us - and others too, I assume]