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This is the first time, we have a plan to use Open source software as it provides a good start and lot of modules by default. We have plan to use https://github.com/axelor/axelor-open-suite which is a open source software for developing business apps. It comes with AGPL License. Software says you can use it to build your apps. But how can we use this open source software framework to develop our commercial apps and sell? We see "AGPL" license restricts user to modify this source code and sell. i.e. We need to make our full source code public which we dont want. I have a few very basic questions.

  1. How do we usually these open source AGPL license softwares either for internal org or commercial products. Where do you make changes to this source code? Clone and do a local change and commit in your private repos? Or you need to fork on the same git and update there?
  2. Did we misunderstood this open source software framework license use?
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    Adding to Bart's answer: of course you can sell it and access to the programme. And you only need to make available the full sources to any person who uses your programme, but that at no additional cost to the binary. And you have no way to forbid them to distribute that source and binaries built from it in any way they desire, including putting it on github etc for everyone to use or selling it themselves - under the same license of course. Sep 6 '20 at 15:16
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How do we usually these open source AGPL license softwares either for internal org or commercial products. Where do you make changes to this source code? Clone and do a local change and commit in your private repos? Or you need to fork on the same git and update there?

Copyright licenses like the AGPL don't concern themselves with the nitty gritty details of how exactly copies are made and how you make changes to your copy. As far as copyright law (and consequently, copyright licenses) is concerned, there is no difference between forking a git repo and retyping something as you read it from a screen.

The usual way when you want to make private changes is that you create a private repository with as copy of the code you want to use as a basis and then make your changes on that.

Did we misunderstood this open source software framework license use?

No, I don't think so.

The AGPL license requires that if you make your product that is based on the framework available to someone outside your organisation, either as a download or as SAAS, then you must make the full source code also available to them under the AGPL license.
This does not preclude commercial use, but you can't realistically base your business case on selling copies or basic subscriptions. You have to offer something more to make your business profitable.

You can use your software in-house without any problem, even if it is based on an AGPL framework. Providing (access to) software to your employees is generally not considered to be distribution of that software, so the requirements of the AGPL don't trigger.

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  • Thanks a lot for a wonderful detailed answer!
    – Santosh
    Sep 6 '20 at 13:21

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