On April 20th, Grafana Labs made the decision to change Grafana licensing for the project from the Apache Software Foundation ASF2.0 to the AGPLv3 license.
In this blog, we discuss what the Grafana license change means for users, and answer some burning questions surrounding the change.
Though ASF2.0 and AGPLv3 are considered to be open source licenses which are approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the change has made a few businesses question if their obligations to Grafana Labs for the use of their free software changes with this license.
The GPL is upheld by the Free Software Foundation, and the purpose of the license is to ensure that free software remains free. This doesn’t mean free in terms of dollars. In fact you are free to commercialize GPL software in any way you choose. The only obligation is that if you modify the original source code of the application, you have to make those modifications public by publishing the source code to your changes.
With the above information in mind, let's answer a few common questions around the license change.
Absolutely, 100% yes. In fact, this decision in many ways ensures that Grafana will remain free software, as GPL is enforceable and backed by the Free Software Foundation
Yes, you are free to commercialize the unmodified version of the software in any way you choose. If you have modified the source code for Grafana, you must provide those modifications.
No, you only need to share the parts of Grafana that you modified if you kept those boundaries clear in your application.
Because the SSL family of licenses have not yet been approved by the OSI and are not technically considered open source licenses yet for this reason. Grafana Labs wanted to make it very clear that they intended to keep their project fully open.
Absolutely! We have open source experts standing by to answer any questions you may have about the switch.
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Chief Evangelist - OSS & API Management, Perforce Software
Justin has over 20 years of experience working in various software roles. He is an outspoken free software evangelist, delivering enterprise solutions, technical leadership, and community education on databases, architectures, and integration projects.