The controversial Affero general public license could get an unexpected boost from Ubuntu developer Canonical. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's chief executive, has said AGPL is "a strong candidate" for the eventual open source release of Launchpad, Canonical's developer collaboration tool.
The issue arose in a forum discussion over the future of Gobuntu, the "free" version of Canonical's Linux-based Ubuntu operating system.
Launchpad is currently a proprietary product offered as an online service so developers can collaborate and track bugs in open software projects. It is used extensively in Canonical's development efforts including its flagship Ubuntu operating system. Although Canonical has pledged to release the Launchpad source code, it been criticized because it has delayed the release. Shuttleworth has said he wants to keep control over Launchpad until appropriate standards for exchanging project data are in place.
The choice of AGPL - which specifically covers software offered as a networked service - would be appropriate for Launchpad. It would also add some much-needed credibility to AGPL, which has come in for criticism from Chris DiBona, Google's open source program manager. DiBona has said he wants to see more examples of AGPL in action before deciding whether Google supports the license. Google has closed the door to AGPL on its Google Code host site, forcing projects that use the license to leave.®