Anki Forums

Relicense under GPL or allow a commercial license?

Many employers choose to ban AGPL-licensed software at work computers, e.g. https://opensource.google/docs/using/agpl-policy/

Anki is now explicitly targeted, and I’m no longer allowed to use it for work purposes.

Relicensing it under GPL, or, alternatively, introducing a commercially-licensed version of Anki would fix it.

I’m afraid we’re stuck with the current license for now - dropping AGPL means people can take the code, put it on the web and not share any changes they make, and an optional commercial license is not possible while parts of the code and dependencies are GPL. You should be able to use the mobile clients or AnkiWeb for now.

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This makes sense, thank you for clarifying the situation.

It’s a (very) long shot, but I wonder if it might be possible to offer to a few companies, at no charge, free GPL licenses that will terminate in 1 year unless extended. If the company doesn’t do anything bad, Damien could extend the license by another year. No large company will bother trying to do anything sneaky, since 1 year isn’t enough time to gain any benefits. And yet, 1 year is probably long enough that they would allow employees to use the software (as long as the GPL license to the given company isn’t terminated). And I am reasonably certain that any bad behavior by a large company will be immediately reported on this forum, by the employees of the culprit company.

It might be too much work though, I’m not sure…

If it is possible though, it might make many users happier, and hopefully also add more people who support Anki in various ways.

Many tech companies (e.g., Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc - see details) ban AGPL software from internal use. Surprisingly, such a ban extends to employees using the software on company devices. This means that hundreds of thousands of people who work in those companies cannot use Anki desktop until they get home. I was wondering if there is some way to create an alternative license (paid or unpaid) for people who run into this problem?

Thank you!

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Ah thank you p4nix for linking to the existing thread! Sorry for missing it.

I’m afraid that would not work - imposing an “only for company x” or “only for employee studying” restriction would be breaking the GPL.

What’s the point of asking contributor to also agree to a BSD three clause licence if you can’t relicence it?
I also thought that giving you a licence under BSD 3 clauses meant that you can essentially relicence it however you want.

I would have thought that you add contributors for a double licencing because that would allow to use it under non AGPL.

The only explanation I can imagine would be that there is some GPL dependencies used on anki desktop only. So probably something related to front side.

Do you have link for microsoft and amazon? I was not able to find anything with a quick search. Google is public about it, but I can’t find anything similar about the other companies.
I can easily imagine they would not use AGPL for code they edit. But I did not know that forbidding the installation of AGPL software was a widely shared practice.

For context, I move from Google to Amazon at the end of the month. So this is not just mere curiosity. And while this is something I care a lot about it, that is not a question I thought relevant to ask during the interview

Sorry I don’t have such links, and in any case the policy can change at any time.

Maybe when you join Amazon, you could share with us whether the licensing problem exists there?

I clearly can not make such promise, as I’ve absolutely no idea what are the confidentiality policy. Assuming that I’m certain I can, I will do it.

I thought about it because of https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/1324090557954695171 which show that Carmack was able to use Anki for some Facebook content.
So if one day I end up moving to Facebook, at least I already know why

Does google ban you from accessing web apps which are AGPL licensed? Think about this statement for a little bit and you’ll realize how ridiculous this stance is.

my employer forbid me to put any corporate information on a server they do not control. In this case, it’s not even the fact that AnkiWeb seems to use AWS, it’s more generally that there is no way for them to know who, apart from me, will have access to the information.
So whether or not it would be accepted to work with a website licence is not relevant here.

I admit that I had never thought about website licence and that would be a very interesting points to ask the company’s lawyers