WSO2 firmly believes in Open Source Software as a business model. This does not change a bit. However, there are changes to the way WSO2 distributes its products. As of 1st March 2020, WSO2 introduced new terms and conditions regarding their Open Source Middleware stack. Allow us to explain how it may affect you.
In the recent past, WSO2 distributed the community edition of its amazing suite of products through its own website, and updates and fixes through the WSO2 Update Manager. The community edition proudly carried an Apache 2.0 License, whereas the WUM updates were distributed under a commercial product subscription contract. Product subscription contracts are set up for all the products out of the WSO2 product suite you are actively using.
As you probably know, WSO2 provides a wealth of product distributions targeted at different environments, supporting different package and configuration managers, including for instance Helm and AWS CloudFormation. Every product variant was Apache 2.0 Licensed and supported by WUM updates.
Granted, having a single distributor of software carrying two quite different license models for one product was sometimes difficult to explain. Fortunately, WSO2 has now streamlined its license model, resulting in a much more straightforward model.
WSO2 has adopted a new license model, WSO2 EULA 3, taking it much closer to the model other open source vendors are offering. The biggest change is in the product distribution model. As of now, the community edition of the WSO2 products is only distributed via WSO2’s GitHub repositories. The new WSO2 product download page provides a link to the corresponding product repository. Everybody who downloads the community edition from GitHub can keep using the product under the Apache 2.0 license. Should you also be interested in, say, the Puppet Modules for WSO2 Identity Server v5.10, then at the moment you can still find the source code after some digging around GitHub. Contrary to downloading the pre-assembled package from the WSO2 website, there will be some assembly required if you pursue this route.
If you download the supported distribution of any WSO2 product directly from the WSO2 website, you now have to accept the WSO2 Software License first. Under certain conditions, you are allowed under the license to use the product for free. This applies specifically for non-commercial purposes, educational purposes, or trial purposes. As a paying customer, you’re entitled to the 24/7 WSO2 product support we all know and love. The product support brings unlimited support for incidents and limited support for queries. If you need professional support during your development stage or operational stage in a broader perspective, for instance, with your architecture and your CI/CD pipelines, that’s where Yenlo jumps in with its WSO2 Remote Development and WSO2 Operational Support services.
What has changed
Apart from the legal framework, from a practical point of view, the main change is potentially at the end of your contract. Under the old EULA 1 framework, you were allowed to terminate your support subscription and keep using the software (including your installed updates and patches) for as long as you wanted. There was a catch, though, as soon as you opted to renew your subscription, WSO2 expected a fee from the termination date of your previous subscription. Under EULA 2, this got restricted. Under the latest arrangement, things are much more straightforward. If you do not renew your license, you have to migrate to the community edition of the products you want to keep using. Only once you migrate back to the licensed product distribution, the WSO2 license will kick in again.
Please take note that the WSO2 GitHub library only contains the builds for the most recent versions of the products. Effectively, WSO2 discourages the use of older versions with known bugs and vulnerabilities. If you’re considering the open source route, you have to remember to plan for frequent updates anyway.
Talking about updates, WSO2 now provides migration scripts only as part of the WSO2 distribution. Open Source users must take full responsibly for their own migration effort. Fortunately, WSO2 is still open about the changes they make in a new release. Paying close attention to the change documentation does pay off for all users migrating to a new version.
There are also some minor changes:
- The Open Source distribution now includes an update check. You can expect specific information on missing updates in the version of the product you are using. This will help you decide to upgrade to a newer version, or even the WSO2 distribution, to have immediate access to these updates as they are published.
- WSO2 does not commit to provide future security updates for the open source distribution. Like all other patches and fixes, they will be bundled with the next release. However, the WSO2 license does allow you to implement updates and patches during product evaluation. Moreover, WSO2 promotes using the latest and greatest version of their software during your trial period.
- WUM, the WSO2 Update Manager will now only update the WSO2 licensed product distribution. Again, this clarifies using updates exclusively with the supported edition of the product.
What did not change
We’ve already pinpointed WSO2’s ongoing commitment to Open Source Software. Importantly, WSO2 is not planning to beef up the commercial distribution of its products with exclusive commercial-only features (aka the open-core model). In other words, the vanilla version of a new WSO2 product release remains functionally equivalent to its community distribution. Moreover, WSO2 will keep providing all fixes it develops to the development community for the Open Source software component. It is technically up to the development community to subsequently make a determination if the fix will be committed into the software component’s source code tree.
Furthermore, developer tooling such as WSO2 Integration Studio and the VS Code Extension are still free as in beer and are distributed via the WSO2 website as usual. Of course, you can also download those from GitHub if you prefer.
Also, WSO2 Solutions are still licensed according to the WSO2 Commercial License. Solution customers are used to this license for some time already.
Using WSO2 Product Analytics is still free of charge. Did you know that WSO2 has recently revamped the user experience of their Analytics products?
WSO2 continues supporting the Docker Hub and the Helm Hub as channels for the community edition of their products. Alternatively, you can use the WSO2 Docker repo if you opt for the WSO2 licensed containers.
Older releases of the product are still distributed on the WSO2 website under the old open source model. However, be aware that WUM updates to these products may now be under the new EULA 3.0.
WSO2 now provides you with two clear options, a free Open Source distribution and a Supported WSO2 Licensed distribution. We’ve explained the main differences between those options. Obviously, there are more details to be aware of than can be discussed in a brief blogpost. Please contact Yenlo if you’re interested in the new EULA or if you have related questions. As WSO2’s Platinum Value Added Reseller, Yenlo is always eager to help you out.