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I was wondering if there is a straightforward way to have AGPL software autoconvert to a BSD-0 license after some arbitrary time (for example, two years), similar to how the BSL works.

I mostly want a license that

  1. Integrates well with the GPL and does not get in the way of packaging for various distributions.
  2. Rewards contributing back to new software with new software.
  3. Is maximally permissive for old stable versions and does not get in the way of forking an unmaintained repository with a new license, or of copypasting snippets of old code into your own project.

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The most straightforward mechanism to "autoconvert" the AGPL license is to add an Additional Permission clause that waives all obligations of the AGPL license and triggers after a certain time.

However, this route comes with some caveats

  1. The Additional Permission clause can only be added by the original copyright holder(s). It is hard to add it after the project has had some development.
  2. The Additional Permission clause can be removed by downstream re-distributors
  3. The clause becomes largely moot once you have a (A)GPL third-party dependency and may need to be removed if you actually include third-party (A)GPL code.
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    Adding additional permissions to a GPL license is generally a something I hadn't looked at enough, it is quite flexible. The linux kernel license style provisions where you just list normal usecases that don't imply a greater work are also interesting.
    – saolof
    Commented Jul 9 at 10:08

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