Aiven Blog

Dec 18, 2018

Aiven statement on license changes for the Confluent Platform

Aiven is committed to an open source platform, users not affected by recent license changes by other vendors.


Heikki Nousiainen

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Chief Technology Officer at Aiven

On Friday December 14th, 2018, Confluent announced they're changing licenses for some Confluent Platform components from the open source Apache License version 2.0 to a proprietary license. There’s no effect on Apache Kafka itself, which remains governed by Apache Software Foundation and licensed under Apache License version 2.0.

While Aiven does utilize some of the affected components in our services, there is no impact on your services or our ability to offer Aiven for Apache Kafka and the related additional services as they have been available before.

License change details

Confluent is changing the license for some of the components of the Confluent Platform from Apache License version 2.0 to Confluent Community License. These components include software that Aiven has offered as a service, namely Schema Registry, Kafka REST as well as JDBC, OpenSearch and S3 connectors.

The new Confluent Community License is a proprietary software license, specifically excluding "making available any software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service or other similar online service that competes with Confluent products or services that provide the Software."

While the license change does apply to all future versions of the specific software, it doesn’t alter the licensing status of the components in the versions that have been released and utilized by Aiven.

Aiven for Apache Kafka services

For the time being, we will continue operate your clusters and make available Aiven services with the Apache License version 2.0 licensed versions of the components as necessary. We are committed and ready to maintain and possibly address bugs and/or security issues with the versions that we utilize.

Aiven is committed to providing a data platform based on open source software. We are in the process of formulating our longer term plan and actions with respect to the recent changes, and will communicate the plan in January.

Components not affected

The following components are governed by the Apache Software Foundation, and thus not affected:

  • Apache Kafka
  • Kafka Connect (see below for remarks on some specific connectors)
  • MirrorMaker

The following components are part of the Confluent Platform, but remain open source under the Apache License version 2.0:

  • Avro and JSON serializers and converters
  • Schema Registry client components

Components affected

The following add-on components are part of the Confluent Platform and are only distributed under a proprietary license starting from version 5.1 inwards:

  • Schema Registry

  • Kafka REST

  • Kafka Connect connectors by Confluent:

    • JDBC
    • OpenSearch
    • S3

Further reading

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