Redis Changes License, Rival Fork Launched
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Wednesday, 03 April 2024

The developers of Redis have announced that they are changing the licensing model for the database. From now on, all future versions of Redis will be released with source-available licenses rather than the current three-clause Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). 

The move has prompted the Linux Foundation to announce plans to fork Valkey as an open-source alternative. A number of high profile other companies including Amazon, Google and Oracle have announced support for the Linux Foundation's fork.

Redis has until now been open source and BSD licensed. It is now 'source available'. Redis is an advanced key-value store where the keys can contain strings, hashes, lists, sets and sorted sets. It’s popular for web development as a session state store because of its simplicity and rich data structure support.

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This isn't the first time the licensing of Redis has been in the news. It was orginally created by Salvatore Sanfilippo as an alternative to MySQL. The name Redis comes from REmote DIctionary Server", and VMware hired Sanfilippo to continue the development of Redis before moving him to work on Pivotal.

Redis continued to increase in popularity, and in 2013, a company called Garantia Data began offering Redis services. Garantia changed its name to Redis Labs, and Sanfilippo joined the company to lead the open source development. He left in 2020. Redis Labs moved to a modified version of the Apache License, Version 2.0, with an addition called the Commons Clause because of the use of open source software (includign Redis) by cloud providers who were selling services based on open-source code they didn't develop.

Redis dropped the "Labs" from its name in 2021, and now says that 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).

This fits with the dual licensing for their advanced Redis modules under the Redis Stack distribution, which they say has been well received by the community. In fact, more than 50% of redis.io downloads – from Redis 6 and beyond – come from Redis Stack. Based on this, the team believes that extending this licensing to Redis itself will:

"enable us to continue to evolve the most holistic set of data models, processing engines, and developer capabilities for our users."

The announcement says that cloud service providers will be able to deliver Redis 7.4 only after agreeing to licensing terms with Redis, the maintainers of the Redis code but, also says that nothing changes for the Redis developer community who will continue to enjoy permissive licensing under the dual license.

The news has not been received particularly warmly, however, and the Linux Foundation announced its intent to form Valkey, an open source alternative to Redis. The foundation says Valkey will continue development on Redis 7.2.4 and will keep the project available for use and distribution under the open source Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) 3-clause license. The foundation also says that industry participants, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Oracle, Ericsson, and Snap Inc. are supporting Valkey, and are focused on:

"making contributions that support the long-term health and viability of the project so that everyone can benefit from it."

redislogo

More Information

Redis Website

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 April 2024 )