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April 21, 2021

Grafana License Change: What it Means for Users

Open Source

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.

ASF2.0 License vs. AGPLv3 License

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.

Grafana License Change FAQ 

With the above information in mind, let's answer a few common questions around the license change.

Is Grafana still open source?

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 

Can I still ship Grafana with my proprietary software or SaaS solution?

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.

If I’ve modified Grafana and I include that in my proprietary software or SaaS solution, do I have to share all my source code?

No, you only need to share the parts of Grafana that you modified if you kept those boundaries clear in your application. 

Why didn’t Grafana choose a server-side GPL derivative instead of the AGPL license?

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. 

Can I talk to someone at OpenLogic for more information?

Absolutely! We have open source experts standing by to answer any questions you may have about the switch.

TALK TO AN EXPERT