Is “vendor owned open source” an oxymoron?

  • Redis Labs, which introduced add-on “modules” licensed under Redis Source Available License (RSAL) on top of the BSD licensed core Redis.
  • Timescale, which introduced features under Timescale License (“TSL”) on top of the Apache 2.0 licensed core TimescaleDB.
  • Cockroach Labs, which introduced features under Business Source License (BSL) and Cockroach Community License (“CCL”) on top of the Apache 2.0 Licensed core CockroachDB.

Pay back vs. Pay it forward

Why is that? Why are vendors that are deeply vested in open source making such blunt anti-community and anti-OSS moves?

Open source is not a business model

Some companies figured out a business model. Red Hat, SUSE and Canonical are prime examples of that. Some companies haven’t, and ran into the wall. Then their open source started to crack. That’s what happened to MongoDB, Elastic, Grafana and the others above. In their own words, they testify suffering from the competition of giants such as Amazon.

Red flags in Open Source Software

A controlling vendor blocking community contributions is one red flag to watch out for, but there are other red flags you can detect, if you look in the project.

If you truly believe in OSS — Let it go

Companies can start a successful open source project.



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Dotan Horovits

Dotan Horovits

Technology evangelist, innovation enthusiast, Startup Nation resident, proud father.