Running a business is balancing risks as any signed contract or bought product can cause problems down the line. The fine print in various contracts and software licenses need close scrutiny. The AGPL under which Nextcloud delivers its software gives enterprises the certainty that comes with a widely used and understood license designed to protect the customer rather than the vendor. And Nextcloud guarantees its customers license compliance, assisting with any license related legal inquiries.
How the AGPL protects your business
Developed with input from lawyers all over the world, Open Source licenses were designed to protect businesses and individual users from vendor abuse. Among all possible Open Source licenses, the GPL and its derivative for web software, the AGPL, are some of the most used, accepted, proven and tested licenses.
Under an Open Source license you can rely on any vendor for support for your software, or even hire your own engineers.
This protects you in three ways:
- you are not locked in by a vendor and free from any abusive license terms
- if the vendor of a product you use gets in trouble, you can keep using their product and will find other sources of support
- if you are unhappy with the quality of the service you get, you can change service provider!
The protection of your investment provided by open licenses like the GNU AGPL never threatens your intellectual property like trademarks and logos, system configuration or the rest of your infrastructure. Nor is the showing-source aspect an issue as a link to a Github repository or a zip file suffices.
Risks of proprietary licenses
Software licenses are typically designed to protect the vendor and give them a great degree of power. When they use such licenses, vendors can lock in in and squeeze customers instead of providing them with what their customers need: quality products, service and support.
Once you have opted for a proprietary product, there is not much opportunity for change left for you. Is the support bad? The vendor is the only one that can help you. Did the vendor fail? Sorry, you have to find a replacement on short notice, risk using an unsupported product from a vendor that no longer exists, or accept the treatment of whoever buys what is left of the company.
Be careful, those risks are just as true for the so called „Open Core“ software products.
Open Source in Nextcloud
For Nextcloud, open source is central to our business model, a strategic asset. We have build an expansive ecosystem, empowering partners to help provide our customers with solutions for their unique needs. The over 100 apps developed for Nextcloud already include gems like two Online Office solutions, blockchain storage integration, Zimbra integration, OpenID SSO, file locking and a medical imaging tool, all built by the various companies active around Nextcloud.
License compliance for Nextcloud has been validated through OpenChain, a Linux Foundation project. Nextcloud GmbH guarantees its customers license compliance and assists customers with any license related legal inquiries.