Legal department of public institution concerned about Shiny Server AGPL

Recently been working with colleagues at a (central European) governmental institution. There's a debate about hosting shiny apps for external users. As far as I understand, in some apps users would need to log in.

As far as I understand, getting a Shiny Server Pro license once was rejected already, and the second go at it already is taking months. Researchers now wonder if an Open Source Shiny Server could be used on an existing machine. IT and legal department are, however, worried about the AGPL.

I read this and this post, with @winston's very concise statement "In terms of licensing, you are not required to supply your code to users."

Basically, as far as I understand, IT and legal department are saying if you deploy an external service and are using Shiny Open Source Server, your (shiny app) code falls under AGPL. Additionally, the legal department would need to extensively check if the data used in the apps would also fall under APGL. The latter is an absolute no-go, for various reasons. (One of which is surely buerocracy.)

Regarding data, I read the post by @cderv and would think that using pre-processed data is one way to follow, but some plots need to be computed in the app, and the data cannot be put under AGPL but needs to have another license.

This comment on stack exchange goes into further detail and basically says your shiny code doesn'T fall under AGPL just by using an Open Source server version. IT and legal department read this and interpret the AGPL differently: they argue that in the case of Shiny, a shiny script (program 1) will be compiled by the shiny server (program 2), and hence be a combined program falling under AGPL.

FTR: scalability and commercial use are, again as far as I know, currently no major concerns. Licensing a Pro server would surely follow at some point if Shiny can gain traction in this instutution.

I realise this is a community forum, and the legal problems are complicated.
However, I would appreciate your input! I'd be especially glad if someone from RStudio could elaborate on Winston's comment.

ETA, a week onwards: noone?

Pity. I would really like to see a Shiny server up and running, but with the legal department involved the project I could contribute to is likely going to end before this gets approved. If ever. It people think they are in legal limbo even considering data, noone is going to risk publishing shiny apps using third party information.

Hi @Arne,

Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on the legal situation here. Lawyers at different organizations interpret AGPL in many ways -- some more or less restrictive.

Our pro products come with commercial licensing, which can ease some of these issues. Please feel free to reach out (contact page here) if there's anything we can do to help the process along. We're happy to do a call or demo if helpful.

Also, there is a free 45-day evaluation of RStudio Connect (the successor to Shiny Server Pro) that is fully-featured and comes with our commercial license and professional support if that can help this process for you.

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