Red Hat Drops MongoDB Over License
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 24 January 2019

MongoDB's attempts to make some money from its NoSQL database have hit another snag as Red Hat has now dropped it from its Enterprise Linux distribution.

This is the latest in a sequence of moves and countermoves that started when MongoDB changed its license terms to use a Server Side Public License (SSPL) that explicitly says that if a company wanted to reuse and rebadge its database, explicitly to offer MongoDB as a service, then that company either needs to buy a commercial license or to open source the service.


At the time, Eliot Horowitz, CTO of MongoDB, said in a statement that:

“The market is increasingly consuming software as a service, creating an incredible opportunity to foster a new wave of great open source server-side software. Unfortunately, once an open source project becomes interesting, it is too easy for cloud vendors who have not developed the software to capture all of the value but contribute nothing back to the community.”

Unfortunately for MongoDB, this has prompted a sequence of other major players to drop the database. Amazon launched DocumentDB, a database that's compatible with the MongoDB API, but doesn't use any MongoDB code. Debian Linux has dropped MongoDB from its archive, saying:

"the SSPL is clearly not in the spirit of the DFSG, yet alone complimentary to the Debian's goals of promoting software or user freedom. In light of this, the Project does not consider that software licensed under the SSPL to be suitable for inclusion in the Debian archive."

Now Red Hat has decided to remove MongoDB from Fedora Linux and from Enterprise Linux. The reasoning behind the removal, according to a statement by Tom Callaway, Technical and Community Outreach Program Manager at Red Hat:

"It is the belief of Fedora that the SSPL is intentionally crafted to be aggressively discriminatory towards a specific class of users."

The statement continues:

"Additionally, it seems clear that the intent of the license author is to cause Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt towards commercial users of software under that license. To consider the SSPL to be "Free" or "Open Source" causes that shadow to be cast across all other licenses in the FOSS ecosystem......We have updated our "Bad License" list to include SSPLv1. No software under that license may be included in Fedora (including EPEL and COPRs)."

This means MongoDB will no longer be included in Red Hat's distributions. It's clear that the industry needs a way to be able to get a fair share of the money made by the big cloud companies who are using the software of other companies without paying, but this attempt by MongoDB seems to be hitting more and more problems.  


More Information

Red Hat Statement On SSPL

Related Articles

Amazon Ditches MongoDB, Launches Rival

MongoDB Changes License 

MongoDB 4 Released

IBM To Acquire Red Hat For $34 Billion 


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 January 2019 )