The open source version of the Shiny Server is released with AGPL v3.

Along my interpretation of the AGPL, this means that all the code that is deployed on the Shiny Server has to be released with (A)GPL v3, and whoever interacts with the code has to have access to the source as well. Is this correct?

My concern is:

  1. I presume my code would run in the same process as the AGPL code, hence it would make a combined program. Is this correct?
  2. If so, I have the obligation to convey it, right?
  • By "all code" do you mean the Shiny Web Server code, or other code not related to the Shiny Web Server?
    – Brandin
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 21:29
  • @Brandin: I do not intend to modify the server code, just deploy my own code on the server.
    – user30826
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 6:40
  • 1
    If you don't modify the server, your obligations under the AGPL are the same as for the GPL.
    – Brandin
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 7:29
  • I have clarified the question
    – user30826
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 7:35
  • According to the GPL, including other programs which are not extensions of the program (i.e. Shiny) do not become a combined work. I added this part to the answer.
    – Brandin
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 8:56

1 Answer 1


If a server program is licensed with an Open Source license, the license terms apply to the server software itself, not to your own files that you host using that server.

For the Affero GPL, your obligations are the same as for the GPL unless if you modify the server software. The relevant part of the AGPL is as follows (emphasis added):

  1. Remote Network Interaction; Use with the GNU General Public License.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, if you modify the Program, your modified version must prominently offer all users interacting with it remotely through a computer network (if your version supports such interaction) an opportunity to receive the Corresponding Source of your version by providing access to the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.


I presume my code would run in the same process as the AGPL code, hence it would make a combined program is this correct?

Hosting an executable file with a server does not make that executable file and the server program a combined work. The GPL refers to this situation as an "aggregate" (empasis added):

A compilation of a covered work with other separate and independent works, which are not by their nature extensions of the covered work, and which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an “aggregate” if the compilation and its resulting copyright are not used to limit the access or legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. Inclusion of a covered work in an aggregate does not cause this License to apply to the other parts of the aggregate.



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