Color me skeptical of this author’s view, as he is a mouthpiece for Bain Capital, one of the most predatory vulture capitalist firms in the world.
Case in point, if they really cared about using an open source license, the AGPL is already there to do exactly what they say the aim to do, while protecting the 4 freedoms.
I agree with you that they are trying to exploit a vacuum in the Free Software licensing option.
The fun fact is that they are debating with OSI that have alwaya beem very keen to please corporations. I followed the debate about SSPL on the OSI mailing list and some of their point holds.
They are trying to force OSI to “stay relevant” in a way that serves their business model, not Free Software.
On the other hand, the more we move towards a distributed computing system, the more AGPL is becomes a weak copyleft like LGPL: linking becomes less and less relevant while the right to self-host applications composed of several programs becomes more important.
A totally different license that address these issues without trying to exploit developers is the Hacking License.
The fun fact is that people who don’t want to listen about honest attempts to fix these issues will end supporting venture capitalist that will exploit them.
I don’t see how the AGPL is weakened, as it appears to be the perfect license to use: All code used by Amazon, for example, to deliver a product using an AGPL’d license would need to be released back to the community. It’s one of the issues that counter dot social is running into right now: They are not in compliance right now with the AGPL, because all of the interconnected code used to deliver the site is not open sourced.
The problem with the Hacking License, last I knew, was a lack of lawyer review, and it is very confusing and many terms are nebulous in their usage. Perhaps in a few years, with much refinement, it could be a suitable license.
The problem is orgs like Bain Capital don’t care about free software, or open source, for that matter. They only care that their investments retain value so they can gut it out piecemeal. Them working on a license is enough to make me want to run far, far away, as fast as possible.
There’s not really a vaccuum in the Free Software licensing options. The AGPL suits perfectly in this case.
With all respect I’m afraid your reading of AGPL is widely extending its reach.
An provider of AGPL based SaaS doesn’t need to provide sources of all software interconnected with the application.
The only difference with GPLv3 is that IF the software is used through a network, the sources of THAT specific software (and its modifications) must be provided to the users.
But if grep was AGPLv3 and used by GMail, Google should only provide users a way to download their modified grep, but nothing more than that.
To me this limit the social benefit of a gift.
To a venture capitalist this reduce their return of investment.
Obviously, since we start with different concerns, we look for different solutions to the same problem.
I’m pretty sure no VC would adopt the Hacking License just like I would never adopt the SSPL.