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Lightbend switches Akka licensing model to better support open-source development

Lightbend switches Akka licensing model to better support open-source development

Akka, an open-source software framework for building applications, is changing its licensing model, starting with Akka v2.7.

Lightbend, the company behind Akka, says it is switching the license from Apache 2.0 to the Business Source License (BSL) v1.1 to better support software development.

Akka is a well-known framework that industry leaders in e-commerce, finance, automobile, cloud infrastructure, web services and gaming use. Lightbend says that Akka provides highly distributed, concurrent and resilient event-driven apps for Java and Scala.

The BSL is a two-stage license that allows organizations to use Akka in non-production environments without paying fees but requires a paid license for production usage.

Lightbend CEO Jonas Bonér says the old “open core” business model has limitations. The new licensing model will allow Lightbend to support Akka’s development better.

“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. “This will enable Akka to remain at the forefront of building innovative solutions that are used by many globally recognized brands to build and run some of their most business-critical applications.”

According to Lightbend’s new licensing structure, any company with less than $25 million in yearly revenue does not have to pay for production usage of the software. Still, Lightbend must grant a commercial license for $0.

Companies that earn more than $25 million per year must have a paid license and active subscription to use our software; there are several subscription plans from which to choose. The license does not permit companies to backport software under the new terms.

MariaDB Corporation AB created the Business Source License v1.1. According to Lightbend, this license type has been used by Cockroach Labs and other companies.

The new licensing model goes into effect with Akka v2.7, scheduled to be delivered in October 2022.

Lightbend was recently in the news for the launch of Kalix, a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) approach that the company claims makes cloud-based application development easier. Specifically, the platform’s programming model and Developer Experience (DX) enable developers to build cloud-native applications without databases.

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