[License-review] Approval: Server Side Public License, Version 2 (SSPL v2)

Rob Landley rob at landley.net
Tue Jan 29 03:26:07 UTC 2019

On 1/28/19 7:07 PM, Vadim Tkachenko wrote:
> - You want to prohibit big cloud providers from doing the same (creating Cloud
> SaaS to manage MongoDB)
> - To achieve this you changed the MongoDB license from AGPLv3 to SSPL

I assume this was an xfree86 style fork off an existing codebase, so the old
code is still out there under AGPLv3, and the big cloud players who want to do
this can still deploy and develop that version? And that any patches added to
the open source fork could not be used in the new proprietary "you can't deploy
on servers we don't like, you have to pay us instead" SSPL fork?

> - This really creates an entry barrier for anybody to provide managed SaaS for
> MongoDB

It would if the relicensed fork became more popular than the open source one,
but I'm unaware of any historical instances of that actually happening. People
can usually smell a rat. Of course they want OSI's endorsement of their
proprietary fork to cover the smell...

> - You still want to name SSPL as OpenSource license because it paints MongoDB as
> OpenSource-friendly company, which what really drove developers to MongoDB before.
> The SSPL license here is to serve only one purpose - to prohibit others from
> doing what you are doing yourselves.

Luckily Linux Weekly News ran an article warning users:


It didn't explicitly reference similar historical situations like Xfree86->x.org
and mysql->mariadb and ethereal->wireshark and openoffice->libreoffice and so
on, but judging by the comments everybody put 2+2 together pretty quickly.

Let's see what the first couple pages of Google hits or "mongodb sspl" say:

Red Hat and Debian dropped monogodb over the relicensing:


Amazon has its own fork already:


China's ignoring it because you can't win in chinese court:


Various small companies have announced they're sticking with older versions
before the relicensing:


And of course articles like "17 best alternatives to mongodb as of 2019":

OSI aside, the community seems to have pretty clearly spoken.


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