Lightbend: An Open Source Licensing Game or a Smart Business Move?

Jonas Bonner, Founder and CEO of Lightbend


repeat after me and VM “Vicky” BrassorWell-known, open source business strategist:Open source is not a business model.“It’s a software development model that can be used as part of many business models. But that doesn’t stop open source-based companies from blaming open source for revenue problems. Lightbendthe father of the company AcreIt is an important open source middleware for Java. Lightbend drops Apache open source license from Akka In favor of a non-open source business license (BSL) 1.1.

Unless you’re a Java developer, you probably haven’t heard of Akka. It is an open source middleware for building highly concurrent, distributed, and fault-tolerant Java Virtual Machine (JVM) systems. It provides Scala and Java APIs for developers to easily build scalable, fault-tolerant software that can scale from computer to cloud applications. However, I have heard about the companies that use it. They include Apple, Disney, GM, HPE, Starbucks, and Tesla.

But Jonas Bonner, the company’s CEO and founder of the project, claims that these big companies haven’t paid their fair share. So, Bonér converts Akka to BPL 1.1. He explained, when “he initially chose Apache 2.0 license For Acre, I was not aware of the impact that this option would have if Acre became a major global project.”

He still believes that “Apache 2.0 is a very liberal license that is well suited for the small open source projects that create the community. It gives users the right to do whatever they want without any restrictions or obligations to contribute back to the community and the project from which they benefit.”

I can only say, “Yes, it’s an open source license. That’s the name of the game.”

But, as I now realize, “open source is not a business model”. So, with the new license: “Use of the software in production requires a commercial license. The trade license will be available to companies in their early stages (less than $25 million in annual revenue) without a fee. “But, bigger Companies will be charged $1,995 to $1,295 per core per year.

Other open source communities and companies are not satisfied with the move. Peter Zaitsev, CEO and co-founder of berkonaInc., an open source database company, wasted no time in announcing the change of Lightbend license in case Open source bait and switch.

From where Zaitsev sits, what Lightbend really means is that they’ve decided that they don’t think that an open source license (Apache 2.0) fits their business goals any better, and that a proprietary source license (BSL) is going to be a better fit.” A unilateral change of license will be seen as a breach of an unwritten contract with your community, or a sign of infidelity. Was that really required for the company’s survival, or was it required for the company’s investors to get 100x the return instead of 10x? “

over the years, Lightbend received $84 million in venture capital funding. The last round came mainly from Greylock and Bain Capital Ventures.

Zaitsev isn’t the only one who thinks this license change is more about maximizing venture capital gains than a sustainable business decision. Simon Phipps, Open Source Initiative (OSI) The Director of Standards and Policy said, “This is yet another example of a disappointing trend for companies that have retained control over software rights while claiming to offer open source freedoms that pull the rug out when they gain enough market momentum—sometimes called the ‘rights’-ratchet model.” OSI recommends that software users pay Careful attention to the sustainable presence of open source freedoms when committing to publishing a project.”

Stefano Mavoli, CEO of OSI, added, “Developers should be very careful when signing shareholder licensing agreements (CLAs) with open source companies. They can steal you by changing the license under your donated work.” Mafoli also said, “I see where these companies come from. I see their pain, but how they solve it taints open source.”

True, “It’s frustrating to keep open source software,” said a well-known open source lawyer and OSS Capital General Partner Heather Meeker, “If the world is using it and nobody is giving back. But it’s also sad to see a popular project move away completely from open source.” Maker concluded that open source projects today have “more options for creating sustainable work around open source software.”

Some open source projects, after seeing Acre’s change, are already running from Acre as fast as they can. Leadership Apache Flinkan important framework and distributed processing engine for state computations on data streams, emphatically stated, “We will not use Akka versions with the new license.Instead, we would go ahead, “We will remain in Akka 2.6, the current latest version still available under the original license,” and look for an alternative.

Bonner replied that it wasn’t His intent to cause any problems to Flink. He suggested fixing it by adding an “extra usage grant” for Flink in the new Akka BSL license. Matt Seeker Apache Software Foundation (ASF) The secretary replied, “He doesn’t really see a feasible way to do that Make this style license ASF compliant projects”.

So, how does all this work? stay tuned Both the business and the project face significant challenges with this license change.

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