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Fascinating read, albeit a sad one: I love RethinkDB, and use it personally every day in our particular production deployment.[1] But -- and to Slava's point -- we didn't/don't/wouldn't pay for it, and in that regard, we were part of the problem. That said, the constraint on that particular problem was that it had to be open source, and if it couldn't have been RethinkDB, it would have been some other open source database -- proprietary software is a non-option for that use case (or indeed, for any of our use cases).

So I feel Slava's pain (and feel somewhat culpable as a user of RethinkDB), but I don't entirely agree with the analysis. Yes, infrastructure is a brutal space because it has been so thoroughly disrupted by open source -- but the dominance of AWS shows that open source can absolutely be monetized (just that it must be monetized as a service). Indeed, right now, I would love to deploy a RethinkDB-based service -- and if the company still existed, we (and by "we" I mean "we Samsung", not "we Joyent"[2]) would potentially be in a serious business conversation about what a supported, large-scale deployment would look like. Actually, that's not entirely true, and it leads to me to one thing that Slava didn't mention. While it kills me to bring it up, it does represent the single greatest impediment I have personally found to deep, mainstream, enterprise adoption of RethinkDB: its use of the AGPL. Anyone who has been part of a serious due diligence knows that the GPL alone is toxic to much of the enterprise world -- and the GPL is a buttoned-down corporate stooge compared to the virulent, ill-defined, never-tested AGPL. The AGPL is a complete non-starter for any purpose, and while I appreciate why the AGPL was selected by RethinkDB (and very much appreciate the explicit riders that RethinkDB put on it to make clear what it did and didn't apply to), the reality is that no one -- absolutely no one -- has built a business on AGPL software and it seems vanishingly unlikely that anyone ever will.

I still use RethinkDB and still intend to -- and I still harbor hope (crazily?) that whatever entity that owns the IP will see fit to relicense it to something that is palatable to the kind of people who care about their data. I actually believe that a business can be built on the technology -- which, to Slava's points, I have found to be delightfully sound in both design and implementation. And that RethinkDB is open source means -- for us, anyway -- it will continue to live on, despite the unfortunate demise of its corporate vessel (AGPL or no). That said, I would love to have a lot more company -- here's hoping that we see RethinkDB relicensed and a thriving business behind it!

[1] https://github.com/joyent/manta-thoth

[2] https://www.joyent.com/blog/samsung-acquires-joyent-a-ctos-p...

> the reality is that no one -- absolutely no one -- has built a business on AGPL software and it seems vanishingly unlikely that anyone ever will.

I strongly disagree with that. Take RavenDB, which is very much comparable to RethinkDB in terms of a business is dual licensed as AGPL and has a commercial license available [1]. This forces any business doing non-OSI approved OSS work to purchase a commercial license. I don't know too much about RethinkDB but I think they must have used a very similar licensing strategy?

From an outsiders' perspective, RavenDB appears to be going strong and doing well commercially. They are hiring and expanding and have invested a lot into v.4.0, which I'm really excited about.

Interestingly, on the spectrum between MongoDB and RethinkDB in terms of "Wrong metrics of goodness" (Correctness, Simplicity of the Interface) they appear to me much closer to RethinkDB than MongoDB. In terms of stability, they may have been somewhat in the middle (e.g. not as bad as MongoDB, but probably not as good as RethinkDB). And they have moved very fast to add features and fix bugs in the product. It's a really nice DB to work with as a dev, I suppose the #1 reason they are not as successful as Mongo is that they're coming from the .NET niche...

[1] https://ayende.com/blog/4508/comments-on-ravendb-licensing

> ... the reality is that no one -- absolutely no one -- has built a business on AGPL software ...

MongoDB server is AGPL - client drivers are Apache. To be fair the business side is based around larger scale deployment and management, and is proprietary add-ons.

I'm kind of surprised that approach wasn't mentioned for Rethinkdb - a free open core product, with paid extras dealing with pain points in larger deployments.

It is possible to buy a different non-AGPL license to MongoDB -- https://www.mongodb.com/community/licensing. With RethinkDB it seems completely impossible to do so. I begged and pleaded: http://sagemath.blogspot.com/2016/10/rethinkdb-must-relicens.... I just spent most of my time during the last two months rewriting SageMathCloud to use PostgreSQL instead of RethinkDB, with the catalyst for doing this being the AGPL licensing and some concrete enterprise customers needing a completely non-GPL'd stack for SageMathCloud. Coming out of this rewrite, and back to PostgreSQL (which I've used off and on for decades), I'm very impressed by PostgreSQL today, and the LISTEN/NOTIFY functionality is a solid building block on which to build something like changefeeds (thanks to the many HN comments on previous stories about RethinkDB for pointing this out!).

While I like that idea (paid extras to deal with pain points), it puts developers of the base product in a weird position. They are incentivized to ignore user complaints on one codebase, as that's a business driver on the other codebase.

Nothing new, just a strange place to be in.

Re-licensing is working on by Intermin leadership team. We are also waiting for the results. Hopefully it will be Apache or MIT Licensed.

source : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f8qODp7voKIqwioQ3si69q3-...

I wish more databases were developed with modular, reusable pieces. RocksDB is already a popular storage engine for anyone building a database today. Throw iterlib[1] (shameless plug) on top of it, you get a query API for free.

Now you get to innovate on top of these modules using reactive APIs, user space TCP, Fancy serialization, Standards compliant SQL etc.

Some of the current incumbents were written in the 90s when C++ was a different programming language, which hurts innovation.

[1] https://github.com/facebookincubator/iterlib

A hosted distributed SQL-ish database running on Joyent would be amazing! I checked the available packages on Joyent cloud many times not quite believing RethinkDB _wasn't_ on the list as it seemed such a great fit. Fast native containers with RethinkDB's shardibg support would have been fun to have "precanned" support for.

Currently the pre-packaged databases on Joyent don't support both clustering and consistency. Is there anything in the works for this segment?!

I'm also interested to hear what the future, if any, looks like for RethinkDB. Would also be very curious to explore what can be done regarding the IP/licensing as part of that future (agree with the concerns mentioned here).

RethinkDB as a product is not dead yet, you can contribute in it. Re-Licensing attempts are already in progress , ex founders had to deal with legal issues for it so it will be long.

Here's a developer tool using AGPL which seems to be doing okay: http://itextpdf.com/Pricing

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