Riak Bug Tracker

Antony Falco tony at basho.com
Sun Mar 14 20:31:18 EDT 2010

Stephen --

I think we understand your concerns and really appreciate your  
involvement with open source Riak.

Just to clarify, Riak EnterpriseDS is a blend of some features and  
advanced support with SLAs, not just a bunch of valuable features  
"arbitrarily" held back.  While this is still technically an open-core  
licensing model (OCLM) it differs from most OCLM offerings in that it  
allows us to push many more features _and_ support hours into the open  
source community

  It also underscores an oversimplification some make that holding  
back features is categorically BAD but holding back support is  
categorically GOOD.  Both are business models defined by what value  
they hold back and for which they charge users of software.  (I am  
intentionally ignoring NoSQL-as-a-service companies here because the  
differences are not germaine to the point you raised.)

In my experience,  support-only companies would never be as aggressive  
about answering questions on the riak-users list  as we are -- note  
how fast Rusty and Sean responded today to questions (on a Sunday no  
less).    Look at our response times in general to questions on Riak- 
users -- mine aside, of course.  Our calculated decision to productize  
a blend of some features and some support allows us to offer more of  
both to the community for free.  More companies should do this.

There is an economic component to our choice as well.  Support-only  
companies scale much differently than our approach with OCLM and  
require a LOT more capital, usually from those stalwarts of  
benevolence, venture capitalists.

Support-only models make money not off subscription-based licenses but  
off of support.   Support staff who focus solely on customers soon  
outnumber developers,.  Support companies give away their software for  
free then look for ways to "monetize the community."  We are under no  
such pressure.   We don't market to our open source users.   We don't  
have to.   We are not under pressure from outside investors because of  
our choices.

At Basho we are 19 partners (we believe the idea of "founder" in open  
source software companies is silly and corrosive to the community ),   
of which 15 of us are developers.  We are self-funded mainly, though  
we have had critical help from some angels interested in open source  
software and scaling infrastructure.  The other projects in NoSQL are  
either venture-funded or subsumed under large public corporations or  
licensed under AGPL (or all three!).  Does anyone feel safer with a  
company 51+% owned by venture or who answers to Wall Street?

Contrary to your fears about us setting some sort of enterprise trap  
"even if [our] intentions were benevolent,"  Basho is getting more  
open with every release.

We started building Riak two years ago and open sourced it in August.   
Since then, the open source code base has grown at many times the rate  
of the enterpriseDS code base.  We chose the apache license for its  
open nature.  We have plenty of companies (like EA) who use Riak open  
source.  In addition, we run the EnterpriseDS for Startups program --  
startups pay us whatever they can for features  _and_ Advanced Support.

Companies that disingenuously enter into open-source licensing  
arrangements and engage a community of users will fail.   The users  
will figure that out soon enough.   I respect your concerns and  
believe that part of participation in a community is not just  
respecting opposing ideas but encouraging them.   I ask only that you  
show us the reciprocal respect of commenting on our actual actions,  
not asking us to defend ourselves against some conjectural future evil  

Please keep contributing ideas and questions and otherwise actively  
engaging with Riak.   It is perhaps a quaint notion nowadays but we  
believe dissenting views strengthen communities.

Tony Falco
Basho Technologies
m:  617-417-4482

On Mar 12, 2010, at 3:24 PM, Stephen Day wrote:

> Thanks for the quick response.
> On Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 1:56 PM, Sean Cribbs <sean at basho.com> wrote:
> We have a bugzilla at http://issues.basho.com. Feel free to submit  
> bug reports there.  For patches, send a pull request on BitBucket.
> Thanks. This was hard to find.
> There's no bulk-commit, but the HTTP interface supports Keep-Alive,  
> so you should be able to submit multiple requests over the same HTTP  
> connection.
> I will try this.
>> 3. Why are features that come in other projects as standard (web  
>> monitoring, site-to-site replication) bundled in an EnterpriseDB  
>> edition? This is a huge risk when considering Riak for adoption,  
>> especially when its not clear what future features might not make  
>> it into the open source version, especially if a larger company  
>> purchases Basho. For instance, if there is a great community patch  
>> for a monitoring interface or site-to-site replication or any other  
>> feature that you want to monetize, it seems doubtful that you would  
>> consider accepting it. I understand that you need to make your  
>> money, but I have to say, this model raises concerns, even if your  
>> intentions are benevolent. That said, hypothetically, I would be  
>> more interested in support, if it could be considered without  
>> having to weigh it against arbitrary bundling decisions.
> You can start your development with the open-source version of Riak,  
> then when you're ready to  add those features, talk to Basho about  
> upgrading to EDS.  I believe you'll find Riak Open-Source to be very  
> capable even without those features, and that when you're ready for  
> the features, you'll also want the direct relationship with the  
> Basho team that EDS provides.  In addition to the feature bullet- 
> point stuff, you get input into future features, prerelease code and  
> world-class support.
> Agreed, but other than support, this all comes with open source  
> projects. I can get prerelease code from any of them; I can send an  
> email to their list saying, "I want this project to Foo", and it  
> gets taken under advisement. It just seems like an arbitrary line  
> was drawn in the sand for what is called "enterprise".
> The dual-licensing model that Riak uses is not new, especially in  
> the database world -- Sleepycat did it years ago.  The devs are also  
> committed to releasing functional open-source products, not crippled  
> ones.
> It's interesting that you mention Sleepycat as a point in favor of a  
> dual-license model, because I was considering mentioning them and  
> MySQL as examples that this can can be risky for users. While these  
> were successful businesses, both companies were purchased by Oracle  
> and now their flagship projects sit in stagnation (debatable, I  
> understand, but neither project is where PostgreSQL is now). Both of  
> these companies were committed and did release very functional open  
> source options. Now, decisions about these products are made solely  
> based on the bottom line.
> Riak Open-Source is by no means crippled, EDS just has some extra  
> sauce.
> This is clear. I wouldn't be writing you if I thought it was  
> crippled. The concerns come from the future of the extra sauce,  
> especially if the sauce spoils the meat. I guess the more accurate  
> question would be, how are you going to ensure that the open source  
> version doesn't become crippled when you start seeing dollar signs?  
> What is the feature roadmap for Open-Source and EnterpriseDB versions?
> Sean Cribbs <sean at basho.com>
> Developer Advocate
> Basho Technologies, Inc.
> http://basho.com/
> _______________________________________________
> riak-users mailing list
> riak-users at lists.basho.com
> http://lists.basho.com/mailman/listinfo/riak-users_lists.basho.com

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.basho.com/pipermail/riak-users_lists.basho.com/attachments/20100314/bae79650/attachment.html>

More information about the riak-users mailing list