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Disclosure: I work on Google Cloud (but am glad to see you protecting your rights to your software).

The conversation down thread though raises an interesting point: why does the license say you can’t run modifications in production (under any circumstances) versus some sort of “for commercial purposes” clause? It seems to me like it’s infeasible to have actual contributions if someone isn’t allowed to have a patch, carry it forward, and attempt to upstream it over time.

I assume the intent / goal of your license is to prevent people (AWS, Azure, GCP) from taking your code and offering it as a service. I don’t disagree with that. I think it’s also fine to prevent even small companies from saying “and now we wish to be the TimescaleDB company!”. But it seems strange to also prevent non-commercial usage to run patched versions.

Lawyering is hard, but is there a clear reason against patched non-commercial?

The original intent of that clause was to help us avoid needing to support modified versions that were deployed to production.

And we tend to offer a lot of free support, e.g., via our 4000+ member Slack channel [0]. We like making sure TimescaleDB users are happy.

But that clause was written 1.5 years ago, and a lot has changed since then.

There’s actually an internal debate right now on whether we need to keep it. So thank you and HN for spurring this discussion!

[0] https://slack.timescale.com/

It's a good question. How do we classify non-commercial? Is a telecom company using timescaledb for internal time series storage non-commercial although it is directly supporting a commercial offering (maybe mobile traffic platforms)?

I do get the direct commercial inference. What about the indirect ones? Just about anything in production is directed towards supporting some sort of commercial offering.

Just genuinely curious...

We took great effort to try to draw a clear line within the actual Timescale License language [0].

Usage is permitted, as long as:

  the [end-]customer is prohibited, either contractually or technically, from
  defining, redefining, or modifying the database schema or other
  structural aspects of database objects, such as through use of the
  Timescale Data Definition Interfaces, in a Timescale Database utilized by
  such Value Added Products or Services.
In other words, if your service just provides DML access (read/write/modify), then that is permitted, while DDL access (modifying/creating schemas) is not permitted.

And in fact we already have thousands of companies building commercial applications on top of Timescale Licensed software (while adhering to the license).

[0] https://github.com/timescale/timescaledb/blob/master/tsl/LIC...

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