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Is itext free?

 
ahmed dohar
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Is itext free and open source?
 
Bruno Lowagie
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ahmed dohar wrote:Is itext free and open source?


iText is released under the AGPL, a Free/Open Source license written by the Free Software Foundation and OSI approved. The very first versions of iText used to be released as MPL/LGPL, but the use of the LGPL has been discouraged by the Free Software Foundation for several years now, because the LGPL meant that people could use the software in a commercial context without ever having to contribute something back to the community. The migration to AGPL in December 2009 solved this problem.

Executive summary of what this means:
iText can be used as free software if the project/product/application using iText is released under the same terms. In other words: the software using iText has to be AGPL too: The contribution to the community consists of code.
iText can be used in a commercial context if a commercial license is bought: The contribution to the community consists of money that is used to improve the product.

Please consult your legal department if you want to understand the full implications of the AGPL.
Note that iText is a Belgian product, and that the interpretation of "free" according to Belgian law can be different from the laws in your country. See for instance Belgian court Creative-Commons jurisprudence.
 
Hauke Ingmar Schmidt
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I am not sure about the consequences.

When programming an in-house application, the obligation to give the users access to the source code is trivial. But has this any consequences when the generated documents are distributed?

Thanks.
 
Bruno Lowagie
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Hauke Ingmar Schmidt wrote:I am not sure about the consequences.

When programming an in-house application, the obligation to give the users access to the source code is trivial. But has this any consequences when the generated documents are distributed?


The AGPL was written because the GPL had a loophole when used in a SaaS context: the GPL only talks about "the distribution of the software". In a SaaS context, the software remains on a server somewhere. The AGPL makes sure that documents created as part of a service without distributing the software are covered by the F/OSS license too.
 
Mark Storer
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Bruno Lowagie wrote:...


The short version:

Yes.

Under the AGPL, anyone with access to the program's output needs to also have access to the source.
 
Lester Burnham
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... the bottom line of which is that the AGPL version of iText is a complete non-starter for just about any business application.
 
Mark Storer
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Lester Burnham wrote:... the bottom line of which is that the AGPL version of iText is a complete non-starter for just about any business application.


The AGPL version of iText is equivalent to any other commercial PDF library for just about any business application (with a comparable feature set, and you get the source for free which costs Much More for other libraries). Nice try though.

Or you can stick with the pre-AGPL version, 2.1.7.
 
Lester Burnham
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Mark Storer wrote:The AGPL version of iText is equivalent to any other commercial PDF library for just about any business application (with a comparable feature set, and you get the source for free which costs Much More for other libraries).

I think I'm missing something. The AGPL version of iText requires the app's source code to be available to people who get iText-produced PDFs; at least that's how I read your previous post. You seem to be saying that's identical to how other commercially-licensed PDF work, but looking at such products as ElegantJ and Aspose I see no requirement of this kind. Please clarify what you meant.
 
Mark Storer
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Apologies for the confusion.

iText in fact has two separate licenses.

1) AGPL, not exactly suitable for commercial use.

2) Commercial license, which costs about what you'd expect given iText's feature set.
 
Wojtek Cie
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Bruno Lowagie wrote:
Hauke Ingmar Schmidt wrote:I am not sure about the consequences.

When programming an in-house application, the obligation to give the users access to the source code is trivial. But has this any consequences when the generated documents are distributed?


The AGPL was written because the GPL had a loophole when used in a SaaS context: the GPL only talks about "the distribution of the software". In a SaaS context, the software remains on a server somewhere. The AGPL makes sure that documents created as part of a service without distributing the software are covered by the F/OSS license too.


I am waiting for final confirmation from my lawyers but it seems you are wrong. Output of the program is not protected - accessing the program by users is. MongoDB for example is AGPL. Does it mean that if my SaaS service presents data stored in MongoDB (output of the mongodb) then I have to opensource my whole infrastructure? That would be ridiculous...

Linux is a GPL project. It does NOT mean that if I start presenting system stats captured by using GPL-licensed system commands on the web site presented from this server I need to opensource my stack, does it?
 
Tim Moores
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You're correct as far as the GPL goes. The Affero GPL does require the source code to be available to anyone who uses a web app to create PDFs (in iText's case). If you then distribute said PDF, you don't need to pass along the source code.
 
Abhi Para
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Wojtek Cie wrote:
Bruno Lowagie wrote:
Hauke Ingmar Schmidt wrote:I am not sure about the consequences.

When programming an in-house application, the obligation to give the users access to the source code is trivial. But has this any consequences when the generated documents are distributed?


The AGPL was written because the GPL had a loophole when used in a SaaS context: the GPL only talks about "the distribution of the software". In a SaaS context, the software remains on a server somewhere. The AGPL makes sure that documents created as part of a service without distributing the software are covered by the F/OSS license too.


I am waiting for final confirmation from my lawyers but it seems you are wrong. Output of the program is not protected - accessing the program by users is. MongoDB for example is AGPL. Does it mean that if my SaaS service presents data stored in MongoDB (output of the mongodb) then I have to opensource my whole infrastructure? That would be ridiculous...

Linux is a GPL project. It does NOT mean that if I start presenting system stats captured by using GPL-licensed system commands on the web site presented from this server I need to opensource my stack, does it?


@Wojtek Cie : So what was the final conclusion? For web-based services where a user can generate PDF, is a commercial license required?
 
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