Using strong copyleft to build a sustainable business
By Björn Schießle

How to build a Free Software business based on strong copyleft licenses without relaying on CLA's and dual licensing? What positive effects can you expect by providing a level playing field? How to build a real Free Software business? This will be discussed on a real world example and based on first hand experience by the author.

Monday 2:30 p.m.–3 p.m.

In a business environment copyleft is often used to maintain two versions, one is Free Software available for the community and the other one is a proprietary "value added enterprise version", used by the company to generate its revenue. Nextcloud shows that it can be different. The Nextcloud team comes from a company which followed this strategy, often referred to as Open Core. With Nextcloud we started a new company two years ago with the aim to do things different. By being completely Free Software, using the strong copyleft license GNU AGPLv3, we provide a level playing field for everyone who wants to participate. The talk will describe the lesson we learned from our previous endeavor and how we managed to setup a successfully company, based on strong copyleft without compromising on software freedom. How does every stakeholder benefits from it and how does it lead to better software for everyone?

Björn Schießle

Björn is a computer scientist, graduated at the University of Stuttgart. He conducted research in the area of cloud robotics before he joined ownCloud in 2012 where he started to develop the federated cloud technology. In 2016 he co-founded Nextcloud, a completely Free Software collaboration platform and a company align with the Free Software values. He is active in the Free Software movement for over twenty years and has a deep understanding of the technical, legal and social aspects of technology. In 2005 he joined the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) as a translator. These days he serves as the Germany Coordinator and as a member of the general assembly.