MongoDB, the developer of a popular document-oriented distributed database server by the same name, has updated the open source license that applies to versions of its software published after October 16, 2018.
Previously, the MongoDB software was licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License v.3 (“AGPLv3”), which is a “strong copyleft” license. Strong copyleft licenses, among other things, require that the source code for the licensed software (including any modifications) be made available to the public, typically when the software is distributed to third parties. AGPLv3 goes further than other strong copyleft licenses in that the obligation to make source code available is triggered not only when the software is distributed, but also when it is accessed over a computer network, such as the Internet.
In an apparent response to attempts by users of MongoDB to architect their services so as to avoid the obligation to make their source code modifications available under AGPLv3, MongoDB has created a modified version of AGPLv3 (see here for a redline comparison) with broader disclosure and licensing obligations. The new license is called the Server Side Public License v.1 (“SSPLv1”).