I modify open source software that is under ‚GPLv2 or later‘. I will upgrade to GPLv3 or later – that‘s of course no problem at all. Not looking for advice in this case, but is it possible to upgrade to AGPLv3, too? The info provided at gnu.org/licenses/ are not clear for me.

In short: GPLv2 or later -> AGPLv3, possible, yes or no?


The FSF has a FAQ about this:

How are the various GNU licenses compatible with each other?

This answer includes a compatibility matrix. This matrix does not explicitly include the AGPLv3, but:

Each place that the matrix states GPLv3, the same statement about compatibility is true for AGPLv3 as well.

So the relevant cell in this matrix to answer your question is the cell at the intersection of "I want to copy code under: GPLv2 or later" with "I want to license my code under: GPLv3 or later":


  • I agree - GNU should make this more obvious ... – Berthold Gehrke May 8 '18 at 19:43
  • I disagree. See this FAQ entry, which states that code under GPLv3 cannot be "converted" to AGPLv3: gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#AGPLv3.0 – raimue May 10 '18 at 19:57
  • @raimue The entry you link talks about the path from AGPLv3 to GPLv2/3. This, of course, is not possible. But the question is about the opposite way: from GPLv2 to AGPL3. This is possible. – user10225 May 14 '18 at 6:58
  • @LutzHorn Note the "or vice versa" phrase in the linked entry. It applies to both directions. The incompatiblity seems quite obvious to me. The AGPLv3 has additional restrictions that are not in the GPLv3. Therefore converting code from GPLv3 to AGPLv3 must be impossible as the GPLv3 does not allow to impose additional restrictions. – raimue May 23 '18 at 15:00

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