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I'm not really that familiar with licenses(more so with AGPL) so I went to ask here.

I have a project(for research) in Java where I use Apache POI which is under Apache Software License v2. Now I want to integrate iText into the project but iText is under AGPL. The project it self is not web based nor will I make any modifications to iText. What I'm not entirely sure is on what is a non-AGPL environment, as far as I know my project will only be used under research and will not be commercialized.

So, can I still use both libraries under the same project legally?

  • Do you plan to distribute your work at all? If so, do you mind being required to disclose all your project's source code? Will you use any other components not written by you, besides iText and some Apache 2-licensed library(ies)? – apsillers May 5 at 17:42
  • The project will serve as a proof of concept and will not likely be distributed, and iText and Apache POI will be the only libraries used in the project. – Helquin May 5 at 17:51
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A software that includes AGPLv3-licensed components is subject to the AGPLv3 as a whole. But other parts of the software can be under compatible licenses such as the Apache 2.0 license.

So yes, you can combine AGPLv3 and Apache 2.0 libraries, with the resulting software being subject to AGPLv3 as well.

Roughly, AGPLv3-licensed software implies the following obligations:

  • you are not required to publish your software. It is fine to keep it private.
  • the AGPLv3 is almost identical to the GPLv3
    • you must include a copy of the license
    • modified versions must have the same license
    • if you give someone a copy of the software, you must give them the source code under the same license
  • additionally, if you modify the software and let users interact with the software over a network, then the software must offer users the source code for your modified version.

All of this only applies if you want to give someone else a copy of the software, or want to make the software available over a network. Purely internal use (e.g. personal use or within a research group) does not trigger any license obligations.

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