Legal implications of Mongodb licensing change


#1

I have put this as a comment to bug# 533 as well

hi guys,
not sure if you have looked at this, but it is becoming increasingly imperative to build an alternative to mongodb.

this is based on a recent news around mongodb license change - https://www.mongodb.com/press/mongodb-issues-new-server-side-public-license-for-mongodb-community-server

“Service Source Code” means the Corresponding Source for the Program or the modified version, and the Corresponding Source for all programs that you use to make the Program or modified version available as a service, including, without limitation, management software, user interfaces, application program interfaces, automation software, monitoring software, backup software, storage software and hosting software, all such that a user could run an instance of the service using the Service Source Code you make available. (emphasis added)

This amazingly broad. For example, this would include deployment scripts and software (e.g., Ansible, Salt, and my scripts) - but I don’t own the copyrights to that software, and I cannot release it “under the terms of [the SSPL].”

from a legal perspective, we are reading this to mean that RocketChat Cloud as well as Server could be in potential conflict with the broader mongodb license.

We would love to get clarity from the core team if there is a goal to move away from Mongodb to Postgresql. Given where Postgresql has reached with its last PG11 release, and the Mongodb license issues… we strongly believe that this is something that could soon turn into a blocker.


#2

I’ve relocated since as phrased its not really a feature request.

INAL(I am not a lawyer) speaking from my personal interpretation only…

It’s my understanding that this license really effects those that offer mongodb as a service. Think mlab, compose, and other mongodb as DaaS (Database as a Service).

Regarding postgres… I don’t know that it’s on roadmap right now. But we are all about user choice. :slight_smile:


#3

Hi Aaron
Thanks for replying.

As I pasted from the part that was interpreted by lawyers, the way that the terms are worded, it could extend to even go to deployment scripts. So I’m not so sure you are in the clear.

One of the biggest value of Rocketchat is on-premise and that is in unknown territory here.

We really request you to pay due attention to this. There are viable alternatives in postgresql that a few of us would argue are superior to mongodb.

And now it is is not just technical…but also legal.

The rest is upto you.


#4

@sandys We are certainly not taking this lightly, having had polarized discussions internally since its announcement mid-October.

We have the community’s interest at heart (Cloud is significantly less affected), and have seen similar license changes with ORACLE and MySQL and noted its effect on projects that depended on it.

Support for postgresql however is quite orthogonal to this license change - more of a technical topic - and is likely to arrive with our maturing support for GraphQL / Apollo.

Please rest assured that we will investigate further and proceed / action in the best interest of our greater community.


#5

dear @sing.li,
thanks for replying. Your answer makes me hopeful that this will be resolved.

I want to address just one point.

Support for postgresql however is quite orthogonal to this license change - more of a technical topic - and is likely to arrive with our maturing support for GraphQL / Apollo.

I’d like to take the stand that Postgresql support will solve multiple problems in one shot and ensure a long-term solution to this problem. It may look to be a little hard, but the benefits completely outstrip the effort. Right from scalability, to cloud hosting (RDS, GCP, etc) to scale-out (Citus)… and lastly to licensing, postgresql should be able to solve a lot of infrastructural problems.

In fact, it should add many more features as well - for example, this issue (https://github.com/RocketChat/Rocket.Chat/issues/309) is resolved by postgres full text search.

I may sound like a fanboy, but I think that there is a huge long term advantage to making the decision to transition to postgresql. Licensing is one of the most important of them of course… but there are others as well.


#6

After reading the MongoDB Licence and asking some lawyers, I totally agree with Aaron, they are just focusing in preventing companies like AWS from offering MongoDB as a service, specially after they acquired mLab.

They are also focused in bringing more clients to theys Atlas service.

I don’t think it has anything to do with using MongoDB to power a service. Anyway, I’ll get a statement from their own lawyer to make sure we are in the clear and we will post on our website.