Redis’ license change and forking are a mess that everybody can feel bad about

Redis, a tremendously popular tool for storing data in-memory rather than in a database, recently switched its licensing from an open source BSD license to both a Source Available License and a Server Side Public License (SSPL).

The software project and company supporting it were fairly clear in why they did this. Redis CEO Rowan Trollope wrote on March 20 that while Redis and volunteers sponsored the bulk of the project’s code development, “the majority of Redis’ commercial sales are channeled through the largest cloud service providers, who commoditize Redis’ investments and its open source community.” Clarifying a bit, “cloud service providers hosting Redis offerings will no longer be permitted to use the source code of Redis free of charge.”


This generated a lot of discussion, blowback, and action. The biggest thing was a fork of the Redis project, Valkey, that is backed by The Linux Foundation and, critically, also Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Oracle, Ericsson, and Snap Inc. Valkey is “fully open source,” Linux Foundation execs note, with the kind of BSD-3-Clause license Redis sported until recently. You might note the exception of Microsoft from that list of fork fans.

↫ Kevin Purdy at Ars Technica

Moves like this never go down well.


  1. 2024-04-02 6:17 pm
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