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    That’s understandable. There aren’t many ways to make sustainable money from open source, and having an open core with proprietary add-ons seems like a reasonable compromise between sharing the code and having a defensible business.

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      I was also very optimistic about the open core model, but the recent events have shown how vulnerable open core startups are against the cloud giants who have the resources and the incentives to replicate the proprietary shell once the core is popular enough..

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        That’s exactly the motivation behind Redis’ and MongDB’s license changes, isn’t it?

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        The sad thing is that the actual goals of Free Software & Open Source would be served by the AGPL: any company using AGPLed server software must make it available to end users to read, modify & redistribute, which means that the original authors would also have access to it.

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          I agree, but that’s predicated on two things:

          1. The company complying with the license (which we’ve seen not all do)
          2. The company using the (A)GPL’ed software in the first place

          Some companies won’t (or try not to) use GPL software because of what the license entails. So saying the software in question would be in the exact same predicament had the liberal license been a GPL variant isn’t a given. The software may not have taken off like it did.

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            Which leads to this weird scenario:

            – Here’s a permissive license, so that companies can use it!
            < Companies take it and make a proprietary product from it >
            – Wait, not like that!

            We end up having unwritten rules about what permissive licenses permit. We expect the code to remain open. We expect companies to give back. But the license doesn’t actually require any of this.

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              At the end of the day, companies will do what makes economic sense. There was a time when they refused to use GPLed software out of superstition, and then once a few showed that they could make a profit by opening up development and charging for services others followed suit.

              Likewise, would Amazon really care if it had to, for example, give back its updates to Redis or PostgreSQL? AWS is still loads easier to manage than running those things manually, and (most) competitors won’t have the name recognition or integration that AWS has. There’s really no reason other than superstition for Amazon not to deliver (some) services using AGPLed software.

              Regarding the first point, all it takes is a few pointed judgements and folks tend to fall in line.

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          These companies trying to stay afloat aren’t the bad guys. All of us using all of this free stuff and not giving back are the bad guys, if anybody is.

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            Enclosing code with proprietary licenses isn’t fighting enclosure. But yes there’s a lot of entitlement to the name “Open Source” without a corresponding desire to actually do Open Source. This is easier to try to get away with for Open Source than it would be for Free Software. Which historically has always seemed like the point.

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              Looks like a case of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish applied to software freedom itself.

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                I think the F/OSS licenses themselves do that. I went into why here and here.

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                  OSS/FOSS have done great things but are a fundamentally-flawed model in a capitalist country where money wins

                  FOSS is very similar to scientific research, where results are made available to enable collaboration. It worked very well in the last 200-300 years; it enabled technology to flourish and it was mostly tax-funded. The big flaw is elsewhere.

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                    Research are just ideas mostly. FOSS is more like an idea combined with execution of it. Like a startup vs its pitch. Businesses can run on FOSS. Many have been doing so, too. Most aren’t giving back either. Better to look at the actual situation than a hypothetical example when building our solutions.

                    Also, most of the research funding for software doesnt require it be built into something useful. They’re incentivized to publish papers, not code. Anti of Rump kernels told me his griped at him for wasting time implementing it. So, FOSS is even further away from scientific research given it discourages FOSS creation. That’s why I praise the few research groups that actually build and FOSS tools.

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                The entire point of the name ’‘open source’’ is to provide software freedom as Free Software does, but without ethical concerns, making it ’‘corporate friendly’’; it’s then no surprise to see these companies with no real loyalty to the concepts. Furthermore, they insult by claiming that things are ’‘broken’’ and they’re going to ’‘fix it’’.

                I won’t weep for any company. Amazon and these other grotesquely large companies should be broken up. Here’s a good read:


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                  This is what comes from taking your business playbook from the bad guys. You have to take legal mechanisms to control distribution off the table or you’ll end up compromising on values.

                  There are so many better business models, but you won’t find them if you keep the old way on the table. Even if you can’t find one for your particular software, it’s better to fail trying than to give up and go backwards.

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                    What are some examples of profitable, successful, independent companies with those kinds of business models?

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                      A grab bag of examples off the top of my head:

                      • Nextcloud (primary models: support, custom development)
                      • Chef (formerly was open core, but not longer – primary models: indemnification, support)
                      • Discourse (primary model: hosting)
                      • Conversations (models: libre-non-gratis, hosting, custom development)
                      • JMP.chat (primary model: hosting)
                      • Purism (primary model: hardware sales)
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                        What are some examples other than Red Hat and SUSE of all-FOSS companies bringing in tens of millions in revenue per year at Microsoft or Oracle margins?

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                          While those seem like decent businesses for now, they’re mostly models that have been steamrolled by Amazon and the like: hosting, for example, is exactly the model that many of these formerly-FOSS companies were aiming for before AWS ate their lunch. The largest support-based company, Red Hat, couldn’t stay independent, and while I hope Purism eventually succeeds with hardware sales I think it’s a bit premature to call it a win.

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                            In my view, nothing short of antitrust legislation and enforcement can stop FAANG from steamrollering any company, “open source” or not.

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                      Every example was using BSD/Apache/MIT licensing. Do Google/AWS avoid embracing GNU-licensed projects?

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                        Google’s page is here.