I have a web app that I sell.

It is a Java REST service with an AngularJS front end.

I want to use a Javascript library that is licensed under the AGPL but I don't understand the implications or if it is OK for me to use it.

Specifically, I don't understand the modifying/linking/usage parts and how it applies and what it applies to.

  • I'm not modifying the library.
  • I am distributing the library inside my webapp rather than via a full url (external web access is not always available in this case)
  • My javascript code that calls the library is minified

So the questions:

  • Does the AGPL mean I have to distribute my source code that is using this library?
  • Do I have to include the source code of the Java part or just the Javascript part?
  • Since the user can see my Javascript in the browser does that count as distributing my source code?
  • Does it still count if it is minified since it doesn't match the source code in my repo?
  • Is there a matrix anywhere giving a short summary about what the common licences mean in different situations?
  • if what worries you above all is the fact you sell it, please be aware that if you use agpl for everything, you can still sell it, people will still buy it, and you'll be legally protected against piracy better than with any other license. talk.ahoxus.org/tag/agpl
    – cregox
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 6:04
  • the reason devs don't use agpl, really, is because it's very hard to understand it and big corps such as google, weird enough, have a huge interest to avoid spending money to update everything so they prefer to push hard against it. plus there's an even bigger ignorance among entrepreneurs, relating to trading secrets and unaware of how code actually works.
    – cregox
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 6:05

1 Answer 1


Most of your questions already have answers so I will just link to them:

  • the matrix, like everything in that website managed by github, is misleading... for one, agpl have a unique set of attributes there, not shared with any other license, but being in such a visual aid site we are led to believe there are 2 more complete licenses: eupl and osl, which share the exact same set of "full" attributes, yet, are completely different beasts. we are definitely lacking better ways to overview the licenses... there will never be a one size fits all, but there will always be one that fits better whatever we all look for in freedom and openness. today, that is agpl3+. by far.
    – cregox
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 6:28

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