Lightbend, the company providing a cloud-native microservices platform for some of the world’s largest brands, has announced significant changes to the licensing model for its Akka technology. The company is changing the license on all Akka modules from Apache 2.0 to the BSL v1.1 (Business Source License), starting with Akka v2.7, which will be delivered in October.

Under Akka’s new licensing model, any organization with less than $25m in annual revenue will not require license fees for production usage of the software, but a $0 commercial license must still be granted by Lightbend. For those larger businesses with more than $25m in annual revenue, a paid license plus a subscription, of which there are several options, is required for production usage. The license does not permit back-porting of any software released under the new license.

The Business Source License v1.1 was crafted by MariaDB Corporation AB, and has been used by Cockroach Labs amongst other organizations. The BSL is not an open-source license. It works in 2 stages: commercial and open source.

Commercial – Software is viewable (Source Available), downloadable and usable in non-production environments. Production usage requires a software license from Lightbend.

Open Source – After 3 years, the source for that version will be released under the current Apache 2.0 license. The license offers a customizable “Additional Use Grant” that will be used to grant usage for other OSS projects (particularly the Play Framework).

“We have decided to change Akka’s license to ensure a healthy balance between all parties, shared responsibility, and, by extension, contribute to Akka’s future development,” said Jonas Bonér, Lightbend’s founder and CEO, as well as the creator of Akka.

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