MariaDB announced BSL 1.0 together with MariaDB MaxScale 2.0 in August 2016. After having the license “in the wild” for a few months we’ve been reaching out to Open Source advocates to get feedback on the BSL. We’ve gotten some great responses, including from Bruce Perens and Heather Meeker of O’Melveny & Myers LLP*.
Our next MariaDB MaxScale release** will use BSL 1.1. We feel that the updates make it easier for other vendors to adopt the BSL, providing a better monetization opportunity for software vendors than many alternate approaches, especially Proprietary or Open Core software. To read more about BSL 1.1, we have updated our MaxScale-specific and vendor-oriented BSL FAQs.
The changes in the new release aim to better enable the BSL as a viable license for other vendors by setting consistent expectations.
First, we set a cap of four years for the duration of the time window prior to code becoming FOSS. That said, we encourage a shorter window (and for MariaDB MaxScale, the window is between two and three years). Second, we now require the Change License to be GPL compatible with either GPLv2, GPLv3, or any other license that can be combined properly with GPL software. Lastly, with the Use Limitation, we failed at identifying a reasonable least common denominator, as software comes in so many different shapes. Even “non-commercial use” is hard to define. As an example, we want to enable App developers to distribute their free versions under the BSL, where a payment trigger would be getting rid of ads. And what exactly is commercial use? Internal use, where you save a lot of cost, in producing value for your own customers? If the users earn money – directly or indirectly – the developer should be fed.
*Heather is author of Open (Source) For Business: A Practical Guide to Open Source Licensing, and has been a pro-bono counsel to the Mozilla, GNOME, and Python foundations, so who better to ask than her.
** To be specific:
- MariaDB MaxScale 1.4.5 (released 8 Feb 2017) is GPL and the following maintenance release MariaDB MaxScale 1.4.6 (whenever that may be) will remain GPL.
- MariaDB MaxScale 2.0.4 (also released 8 Feb 2017) is BSL 1.0 but the following maintenance release MariaDB MaxScale 2.0.5 (whenever that may be) will move to BSL 1.1.
- MariaDB MaxScale 2.1.0 will be released under BSL 1.1 from the start.