AGPL Policy

WARNING: Code licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) MUST NOT be used at Google.

The license places restrictions on software used over a network which are extremely difficult for Google to comply with. Using AGPL software requires that anything it links to must also be licensed under the AGPL. Even if you think you aren’t linking to anything important, it still presents a huge risk to Google because of how integrated much of our code is. The risks heavily outweigh the benefits.

The primary risk presented by AGPL is that any product or service that depends on AGPL-licensed code, or includes anything copied or derived from AGPL-licensed code, may be subject to the virality of the AGPL license. This viral effect requires that the complete corresponding source code of the product or service be released to the world under the AGPL license. This is triggered if the product or service can be accessed over a remote network interface, so it does not even require that the product or service is actually distributed. Because Google's core products are services that users interact with over a remote network interface (Search, Gmail, Maps, YouTube), the consequences of an engineer accidentally depending on AGPL for one of these services are so great that we maintain an aggressively-broad ban on all AGPL software to doubly-ensure that AGPL could never be incorporated in these services in any manner.

  • Do not attempt to check AGPL-licensed code into google3 or use it in a Google product in any way.
  • Do not install AGPL-licensed programs on your workstation, Google-issued laptop, or Google-issued phone without explicit authorization from the Open Source Programs Office.

In some cases, we may have alternative licenses available for AGPL licensed code.