Redis NoSQL Key/Value Store Is No More Open Source Software

Starting with Redis 7.4, licensing will change to RSALv2 and SSPLv1. Fedora is considering removing it from its repositories.

Redis has been at the heart of the tech industry for over a decade, offering unmatched speed and flexibility for data storage and management. It has become a critical component for applications that demand real-time performance.

Yesterday, in an unexpected move, Rowan Trollope, the CEO of Redis, announced a significant shift in the company’s licensing model. Starting with Redis 7.4, it will adopt dual source-available licensing for all future releases.

Beginning today, all future versions of Redis will be released with source-available licenses. Starting with Redis 7.4, Redis will be dual-licensed under the Redis Source Available License (RSALv2) and Server Side Public License (SSPLv1). Consequently, Redis will no longer be distributed under the three-clause Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).

Rowan Trollope, Redis CEO

In other words, this move will see the popular open-source project transitioning from its long-standing BSD 3-Clause License to a combination of the Redis Source Available License (RSALv2) and the Server Side Public License (SSPLv1).

However, according to the definition of Open Source, software licensed under this category does not qualify as open source. As a result, it’s expected that Redis will be dropped from many Linux distribution repositories, with Fedora already initiating discussions on the matter.

What Causes the Change?

The shift to source-available licenses addresses the economic realities facing Redis. Despite its widespread adoption and critical role in modern data infrastructure, most commercial sales have historically benefited the largest cloud service providers.

These providers have commoditized Redis, leveraging the open-source community’s efforts without equitable returns to the project.

The new licensing model seeks to rectify this imbalance, requiring cloud service providers to enter into licensing agreements with Redis to offer its technology. This move is expected to ensure fair compensation for Redis’ contributions and secure the project’s financial sustainability.

Redis: The Way Forward

With the introduction of dual licensing, Redis aims to unify its offerings, integrating advanced data types and processing engines previously exclusive to Redis Stack into the core Redis project.

According to the announcement, this change promises to bring enhanced capabilities directly to the community while also addressing the sustainability challenges associated with the open-source model.

And now, the most important part. Under the new licensing arrangement, Redis will remain freely available through the Redis Community Edition. This ensures developers, customers, and partners can still access and use Redis without significant barriers.

The adoption of RSALv2 and SSPLv1 licenses is intended to support Redis’s ongoing development and expansion as a comprehensive real-time data platform. By combining core Redis functionalities with Redis Stack’s advanced features, the project aims to serve a broader range of use cases.

However, if the recent changes to Redis’ licensing policy don’t align with your preferences, you might be interested to know that Microsoft recently unveiled Garnet, their alternative to Redis. Garnet’s source code has been made available under the MIT license and has demonstrated superior performance in various tests. This presents a viable alternative to consider.

At the same time, other established players in the field of in-memory NoSQL databases, including Memcached, KeyDB, and Dragonfly, have consistently proven their value over the years. So, you still have free alternatives other than Redis available.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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One comment

  1. I don’t think that Redis’s new approach is unreasonable. The things is, though it might be shocking for some to contemplate, open source has enabled the tyranny of the cloud. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and all that.

    There is a quote by Mark Rendell in his “worst programming language” lecture I loved. Can’t find the quote, but can closely paraphrase:

    “Open source is great. You can put the source out there… and then realise: Oh, there was a business there but I MIT licensed it. And others will use it to become billionaires… and go to the moon… and leave you behind.”

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