The effect, also, LTS and the mysteries of software pricing

Episode 162 · January 18th, 2019 · 1 hr 4 mins

About this Episode

Are we still on that open source licensing thing? Yes. “The most boring topic of all time.” Also, Slack's logo and long term support software monetization models: how do they work?


  • “ buster (AKA Amazon)”
  • “What is someone really selling with LTS?”
  • “Artful genitals.”
  • “It’s not butt ducks”
  • “I’ve had three dogs since then…”
  • Microsoft laughed.

This week’s cover art from TheNextWeb.


  • MongoDB Issues New Server Side Public License for MongoDB Community Server
  • MongoDB not in RHEL 8.0
  • MongoDB "open-source" Server Side Public License rejected
  • AWS vs. open source: DocumentDB is the latest battlefront
  • AWS gives open source the middle finger
  • AWS, MongoDB, and the Economic Realities of Open Source (Ben Thompson) Fine, fine…but music companies didn’t “sell” CDs, they sold music. Authors don’t “sell” printed books, they sell stories. They sell IP. The medium isn’t the product.
    • “This trade-off is inescapable, and it is fair to wonder if the golden age of VC-funded open source companies will start to fade (although not open source generally). The monetization model depends on the friction of on-premise software; once cloud computing is dominant, the economic model is much more challenging.”
    • There’s some ponderous gyrating between public cloud being good at managed hosting/services (they run the stuff well) vs. software (their features are unique/good).
  • Ben’s follow-up (subscription required):
    • “ Atlas was only 8% of total revenue last year, which grew 57% year-over-year; that means that Atlas itself grew 330% year-over-year, from $3.3 million to $14.3 million. Of course cost of revenue grew 68% as well, thanks to a $4.1 million increase in hosting costs (AWS wins either way), but particularly given the addition of a free Atlas offering, those costs aren’t out of line.”
  • So, with this “SSPL” thing, AWS would have to open source all of itself, or just the DocumentDB part?
    • Here: “The specific objection is that SSPL requires, if you offer services licensed under it, that you must open-source all programs that you use to make the software available as a service.
    • From Mongo’s press release on SSPL, Oct. 2018: “The only substantive change is an explicit condition that any organization attempting to exploit MongoDB as a service must open source the software that it uses to offer such service.”
  • What would happen if AWS was all open source? Given that few companies could use OpenStack or make their own clouds (even with and such), just having the code matters little to a successful cloud business, right?
    • Or, maybe it doesn’t mean all of AWS, just the DocumentDB part. Which is, really, the in the spirit of the GPL.
  • The competitive tactic of forcing competitors to open source their stuff is weird.

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