Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Nginx Plus (nginx.com)
340 points by Aqua_Geek on Aug 22, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 141 comments

I fully appreciate the need for the developers of nginx to make money and I can understand that moving to what essentially is open-core is probably the only way for them to actually make money out of nginx (the thing works so well that selling support contracts probably won't do).

But open-core shifts motivation of the developers away from something the community at large can profit. Whenever a new feature is debated internally, it will have to be placed in the closed or open bracket. The more complicated the feature, the more likely it's going to be closed. The more time spent on closed features, the less time is available for open ones.

Worse, when people want to submit patches (it's still open source after all), their patches aren't just vetted for quality and whether they fit the overall product vision. They are now also vetted against an internal roadmap of planned commercial features, making it impossible or highly unlikely for a feature on the internal roadmap to ever by accepted from outside sources.

This has a huge potential to diminish the product as it's available for the community at large.

Combine this with the fact that purchasing the pro version isn't really possible without talking to sales (heck - it's not even possible to learn the price without talking to sales), the full product won't even be available for most of us (unwilling to deal with sales people) which makes this even more painful.

I'm not saying I'll be looking to move away quickly, but I think it might be time to start evaluating possible alternatives as they come along.


To add something constructive: I would have much preferred them to move into a service business based on their knowledge about nginx and do something like a cloud flare competitor or other stuff related to serving HTTP, so basically anything they are now using as arguments for buying the pro version, but as a service.

They would still be able to a) use their good name related to the backend technology and b) profit from their huge know-how of the internal workings of nginx to create patches and features for internal use. That would still drain some development time, but it wouldn't be wasted on polish and UI which is needed in this open-core case. :-)

Agree on the motivation, and you see this with Automattic/Wordpress. They haven't touched or accepted tickets into commenting or ORM in quite some time, because they've "fixed" it as they think it should be in outside projects (http://www.intensedebate.com/ http://wordpress.org/plugins/hyperdb/). While these are "free" (for now), they're closed source so that they can do as they wish with them. The great majority of WP commenting code is 3-5 years old, and they keep deferring this DB ticket (http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/21663) despite the drivers they use (mysql_*) being deprecated in modern versions of PHP.

Actually, Automattic is completely separate to WordPress as a project. While some of the commit team are Automattic employees, most aren't (at least of the active ones; there's a few that work mostly on Automattic internal projects).

Automattic themselves contribute a hell of a lot of time and effort back to WordPress. There's tonnes of plugins that they've contributed back (http://profiles.wordpress.org/automattic), they often test patches that might break things (with the scale of WP.com meaning they do break, and quickly), and they employ people to work full-time on WordPress. Automattic is pretty much the worst example of a company that doesn't contribute back.

As for the ticket you mention above, that has been deferred because we're still working on the specifics on how to handle that in a backwards compatible manner. This is being handled in a plugin at the moment, with hopes for integration later: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-db-driver/

(If there are any specific tickets you want to point to that haven't been accepted, please let me know and I'll re-review them for you. Intense Debate is not an excuse for the built-in commenting sucking, especially since ID is basically dead.)

I believe the point was that WP is lagging behind the times. A developer that works with modern frameworks and looks at the WP codebase will quickly ask themselves "Why"...

There is always a "backwards compatible" argument that pops up, but the solution is simple: persons that dont want to upgrade from their 2002 PHP installation can use legacy WP. Everyone that wants a new WP site can just do so using modern server software.

> There is always a "backwards compatible" argument that pops up, but the solution is simple: persons that dont want to upgrade from their 2002 PHP installation can use legacy WP.

We tried a long-term support branch. It doesn't work with WP's development process, and it's a lot of extra effort. It's not too hard to maintain backwards compatibility on the other hand.

This means that legacy has to continue to be maintained for security issues. See Rails 2.3 (http://www.kalzumeus.com/2013/06/17/if-your-business-uses-ra...)

Correct. But the quicker you stop working with legacy code, the quicker the cutoff can be.

Even automotive manufacturers have to supply parts for cars they manufactured for X number of years after the final production. I hope new 2014 cars don't include parts from the 1940's era for "compatability" reasons.

I hope they do. There is an obscene amount of integral parts in automobiles that are made out of poorly formed plastics. Not only do a higher number of parts fail, the manufactures making replacements often follow the same flawed construction.

No 1940s vehicles didn't come with ABS, front and side panel air bags. But linkage in the suspension was at least metal, and wasn't known to fatigue every five years. If I were so inclined I could bring my hick mechanic in here and he would have volumes of corner cuts to cite that have resulted in unnecessary deaths over the years.

Some advancements have been great but overall legacy parts don't engulf vehicles in flames. Hodge-podge workarounds do[1].

[1] http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0e40ac

How exactly is HyperDB closed source?! It's in the public wordpress.org plugin repository.

SVN repository: http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/hyperdb/

SVN changelog: http://plugins.trac.wordpress.org/log/hyperdb/

Yes, it's not on Github (which is a shame), but that's a long way away from being closed source.

I can't find any license information in that repository. That means all rights reserved, at least in my jurisdiction.

All plugins hosted on WordPress.org are GPLv2+ if not otherwise specified (see #2 on http://wordpress.org/plugins/about/guidelines/ ).

GPLv2 requires that a copy of the license is distributed "with every copy of the program". [0]

[0]: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0-faq.html#Wh...

Counter Argument: (Not saying I disagree, just a different point of view)

It is possible that having a commercial offering, or a way to actually make money off nginx, will simply increase development time over all. Yes, some (most) of that will be towards the commercial product, but if they are making a reasonable amount of money off this, it may mean more time spent on the open version as well.

Also, with the nature of git it is possible for someone, or a group of someones, to fork nginx and run that fork as the 'new' open source nginx. What I mean is someone could fork the repo and if that one is getting enough attention from open source devs, it is possible that the fork would become the recognized version of nginx in the future. Not saying this is overly likely to happen, but it is possible.

This is exactly what happened to the Phusion Passenger application server (available as an addon for Nginx). Since the release of our (paid) Enterprise version we have a lot more resources at our disposal, and development of the open source version is now faster than ever before. Before releasing Enterprise we would make our living by doing consultancy but that slows down development even further. I'm very glad we decided to release an Enterprise version.

I think MySQL's three copyright owners (with a heavy emphasis on Oracle) gave open core a bad reputation. I like reading stories like this because I think it's important for there to be different business models for open source.

For what it's worth, this fork of nginx seems to be actively maintained, and appears to have viable sponsors:



From my cursory reading, it actually adds some significant features. Perhaps it's worth considering.

$50 says the open-source fork will be called "openginx" :)

Surprising to see this (not at all uncommon with OSS folks) preference for "group o' dudes" over "group o' dudes with enough money not to need to take day jobs and a tangible motivation to work hard on this particular product." Especially considering that their list of "closed bracket" features seem to all be things to support their hosted service rather than webserver functionality.

Doesn't seem like we've lost much here. Does seem like we've gained a lot more likelihood that this piece of software will be maintained for the foreseeable future.

>Surprising to see this (not at all uncommon with OSS folks) preference for "group o' dudes" over "group o' dudes with enough money not to need to take day jobs and a tangible motivation to work hard on this particular product."

From the other side it is a "group o' dudes who freely share" becoming a "group o' dudes who allow a little bit of access but otherwise don't share". If you are big believer in sharing then it is sad they don't want to share anymore.

Sharing is only fair if it's a two-way exchange. How much code have most people contributed to Nginx? If they don't contribute code, then how about donating money? Oh hm... the donation page doesn't look so impressive.

It is two-way exchange, but common, have you tried to contribute? They do not accept anything and neither are open to talk about it.

Yes I did. I contributed the ability to listen on unix domain sockets, and it's been part of nginx since 0.8.

Not all of them - in particular, "on-the-fly reconfiguration" and "adaptive media streaming" sound like useful webserver functionality, although it's hard to tell without more technical details (the absence of which is somewhat grating).

Clearly nginx has gotten along fine for years without any of these features, but there is a difference between features that are missing because they're not ready yet or a bad idea, which usually have some sort of best practice workaround, and features that are missing because you need to pay. Although Nginx theoretically has a strong incentive to maintain a strong open source version and not make the limitations too onerous, open core doesn't have many success stories in practice. And there's a big psychological difference between "best of class software" and "intentionally limited software".

To reply to one of the children commends, the idea that Nginx does not owe its users anything is a red herring: it doesn't, but in the so far, hypothetical situation where nginx starts to unacceptably resemble crippleware, neither do the users owe Nginx the continued use of its product rather than a competing open source alternative or fork. Your own question, whether it's philosophically better for Nginx to be able to make money this way, is probably the better one to ask. I don't know. For such a popular piece of software, there are certainly potentially viable business models that do not depend on making users pay for features - for example, there are probably numerous companies that depend on nginx enough to employ its developers to work on it, like Linux or Python; alternatively, support (including hotfixes) from the original authors of the code is really valuable, and might make the product worth it for many users on its own. But without that hypothetical situation actually occurring, it's unclear that there will be anything really wrong with this model in the long run.

The price is written on the website $1,350/year for the standard subscription.

That said, you make good points. I think it's possible to make it work for them but for this they'll need to have explicit guidelines they apply internally to avoid conflicts of interests when accepting patches for example.

I hope however that the increased amount of revenue they will get will help them finance more development work for both the open core and the pro feature

It's a different world now, but this is similar to the transition Snort went through over a decade ago. It started as an open-source piece of software, but then the creator of it formed a company around it, and started to add on value-add features and provide support. The OSS of Snort still exists today and a lot of people use the free version of it. There arguably a lot of features in Sourcefire's paid products that could be integrated into the free version of Snort, but they aren't.

Selling additional features I feel will generate more revenue for Nginx than just going the support route. It may not be great for those that use the free product now, but I see it as a solid business model.

As far as having to go through sales, I see this product being geared towards IT people, and those that are strictly sysadmin/IT are much more accustom to working with sales reps to buy products they will be using. Not saying I like it, but it's just how things are.

Re moving to a service model:

The problem with doing such a move is that it requires a whole different skill set than just being software developers. They would have to be a much more operationally focused company handling all the hurdles that a CDN handles (DDOS, routing, conf mgmt). Besides, it would be a volume game and they would be pretty late to this game.

I fully appreciate the need for the developers of nginx to make money and I can understand that moving to what essentially is open-core is probably the only way for them to actually make money out of nginx (the thing works so well that selling support contracts probably won't do).

They don't necessarily have to do "open core" though. How well something works isn't necessarily the measure of whether or not a customer would want a support contract. The real issue is "how important is this application (of nginx) and what's our tolerance for risk"? When customers buy the "enterprise" (or "supported" or "certified") version of an OSS project, they aren't necessarily buying it to get features they can't get otherwise... they're buying it to get the comfort and the risk management and the surety of knowing "if this breaks, there is somebody I can call that will be on the hook to provide a fix". Also, people think things like: "will I lose my job if a I deploy an unsupported OSS product in my enterprise and it breaks? But what if there's a vendor backing it?"

The nginx developers obviously have to make their own decisions based on their knowledge and research and feelings, but I will posit that for many OSS projects, there is no need to go "open core" in order to provide a commercial/paid version.

(Disclaimer: I'm a founder of an OSS enterprise software startup, and am pretty opinionated / biased on this topic).

The price is now public.

On the up-side there is now commercial pressure to produce first-class documentation.

I can only speak for myself, but i've found their Wiki always to be extremely helpful and for the most part, i can't seem to think of an occasion where i couldn't find what i've been looking for..

"it's not even possible to learn price without talking to sales" - that turns out not to be the case. Price is listed at http://nginx.com/products/

$1350 a year for 1 server, standard support.

Edit: I realise others have mentioned price, but no URL.

I don't mind they taking this approach.

As a developer myself, I do understand that open source alone is very hard to live from, specially when comparing salaries between both worlds (closed vs open).

So I rather have all options available, and won't steer from a product just because it is closed source.

"Nginx Plus will cost $1,350 per instance per year and is available now"


I really dont get it.

People have been using Nginx, saving money and time over the years. And not paying for a single dollar. And as you see from all these post, No sign, signal or movement of appreciation what so ever.

Now you make enough money out of/with it. They want to survive and charge for some advance features. MOST of it are already being done with a few more simple scripts and manual setup.

And you shout foul. Most of you didn't even need Adaptive Streaming Media Support. And so most of those features in Plus are already being used by you in some way or another.

And if you really did need Adaptive Streaming Media Support, how about paying for it? And if you dont want to pay for it, how about some meaning donation to Nginx for something that you have used and take it for granted?

Sometimes i really do understand why folks swear by GPL, or AGPL.

And if anything, I really expected better, especially from HackerNews where StartUp gathers around. And StartUps are all about creating values, not destroying it.

Who are you replying to? If you're actually replying to someone's point, reply directly to it. However the haughty, I-am-disappointed-in-all-of-you tactic is entirely boring and has been played out.

The responses in here are mixed, but seem to be predominately supporting. A few mention the conflicts of interest that may arise, and of course they should: They're real and should be considered.

I believe he's replying directly to the original post.

I'm not necessarily thrilled at their move either (though I understand it completely) because the automatic expectation is that they're going to dilute the free product and focus only on the paid product. Other commenters have hashed out examples dealing with MySQL and Wordpress so I won't bother restating them.

That said, being GPL or not wouldn't matter because they have the right to relicense their code under whatever terms they like. There's nothing that stops the owner of the code to put out a commercially licensed release along side a GPL version. Example: http://www.mysql.com/about/legal/licensing/oem/

Nope, s/he is replying to the HN responses in general ("And as you see from all these post, No sign, signal or movement of appreciation what so ever.").

The overall responses didn't strike me as overly negative; most of the people saying "this isn't a good idea" are suggesting other ways the nginx devs could build a for-profit business around it...

If even half of the professionals who use open source products would budget even small amount (like $100) to distribute between their favorite open source projects per year, we would not have this conversation. Seriously, Is it so hard to spend less than hour per year (around Christmas maybe) to voluntarily subscribe to the tools you like.

Investment to learn some software tool at expert level can easily be $10,000 - $30,000 when you distribute the cost of learning all the details over several years.

This has lot to do with the reason why people start using open source products. They are not just looking if the code is open source just now. What they want is community that guarantees the long life and continued development that justifies the continued investment to learn and keep up with the tool.

I have invested significant amount of personal time for learning to use stuff like Gnu Emacs, Linux, coreutils, C, R, Matlab, Common Lisp in general and SBCL in particular etc. Investment to these things pays dividends that can be measured in significant money. It looks like communities involved are alive and work towards goals I like, so I donate.

These guys have given the world a lot and they deserve to make some money. Without people like them we'd be running abominations like MS IIS.

I am not however very sure the open core model would work that well, people generally dread it as it tends to be crippleware.

Serious question: can anyone name one open core product that is really successfull?

If I were the people behind Nginx I would make my money through selling my technical expertise and support. Pretty much like RedHat make their money.

On the other side, this would make room for some new projects or for older to pick up some new steam (e.g. lighty, cherokee).

> can anyone name one open core product that is really successfull?

Mysql? Was doing really well even among the OSS crowd until Oracle, and post Oracle still seems to be doing alright.

Postgresql while not traditionally open core, there are a couple of companies that employ core contributors that sell addons fairly similar to the way Mysql used to(maybe still does I haven't looked at Mysql in a while.)

Xen/XenSource seemed to go OK.

I'm not very sure about that. It certainly worked, but Xen lost a LOT of market to KVM, to the point they open sourced the whole thing (maybe a little too late?) in order to slow down the fall.

At least this is my impression. At the end of the day I do like Xen and Citrix, they were/are certainly good for virtualisation on linux.

You misspelled "apache".

As in Apache is an abomination?

I do not believe that and Apache has saved our arses over and over since times immemorial. Should've mentioned them, but it was kind of implied.

I think he's saying that people would be running Apache, not IIS. Which is what virtually everyone on Linux/BSD ran before nginx's rise.

(I'm both an nginx and apache fan, just trying to add some clarity here.)

How is apache an open-core model? AFAICT the server is open source and they aren't selling server addons ...

I assume he was correcting the line "we'd be running abominations like MS IIS". Many of us were running Apache httpd prior to Nginx (and Apache remains a very competitive server; still the easiest way to run PHP, and Rails+Passenger+Apache is arguably simpler than Rails+Unicorn+Nginx).

> Many of us were running Apache httpd prior to Nginx

Ah, ye olde dayes of Apache. Cast my memory back there, lord!

Many of us still are running Apache, as well as MySQL, & even PHP :)

There is also Rails + Phusion Passenger + Nginx, which is just as easy as Rails + Phusion Passenger + Apache.

If there's justice in the world, the people behind a software that powers 15% of the world's websites would have already had their fuck you money and never have to worry earning a salary anymore.

* Redhat is somewhat open-core: They develop proprietary interfaces and products as well as the core OS.

* Nagios.

> Redhat is somewhat open-core: They develop proprietary interfaces and products as well as the core OS.

What proprietary interfaces?

Red Hat does have things that are not available to the public (e.g. RH network), but these are more services than actual products (machine management and patching can be managed using Spacewalk these days, and all patches are rebuilt and released by CentOS/SL). There's a bit more leg-work required but RH's whole business is based around adding service value for customers.

AFAIK their whole virtualization management stack is closed.

It's fully open source, it's called Ovirt, find it at ovirt.org.

The one thing they do not provide to everyone for some reason is signed Windows drivers for QXL KVM graphical devices, but one can sign it himself need be.

Here is, at least in my industry, a fairly successful open core product: http://www.mirthcorp.com/products/mirth-connect.

I've spent a lot of time working with Mirth Connect (the OSS version), including submitting patches and bug reports back to them.

The OSS base product is not crippleware by a long shot.

Instead, MirthCorp's main way to encourage folks to purchase the paid version is the lack of freely-available, up-to-date documentation, and getting secure connections working with the OSS version requires either custom code or more sophisticated server admin skills (i.e., stunnel or proxying to get SSL support for incoming connections).

canvas[1], the LMS that a lot of of universities have been adopting is open-core and has been quite successful over the past few years.

1. https://github.com/instructure/canvas-lms


Most of the Plus additions are reasonable as a separate commercial offering.

What concerns me most is that "on-the-fly reconfiguration" and "advanced load balancing" [1] has been introduced as Plus. It feels like they freeze an existing feature for OSS offering and all the improvements on these primary product features will be commercial.

[1] http://nginx.com/media/cms_page_media/21/nginx_plus_datashee...

Apart from the Adaptive Media Streaming feature, all the "plus" features seem to be stuff that anybody can have with the open source version and some external scripting/integration:

* Application Health Checking -> Nagios * Monitoring -> stub_status_module + Munin/Nagios * Advanced Load Balancing -> Chain Varnish / Nginx * Dynamic Configuration -> Seamless configuration reload without service interruption is possible in the open source version * High Availability -> Pacemaker or whatever...

That's stuff that high traffic sites have covered themselves. But: Many normal Enterprise IT ops won't touch Nginx with a stick if they can't pay for it and have someone to blame should things go wrong. Plus, managers love shiny dashboards, buzzword features and fact sheets like http://nginx.com/media/cms_page_media/21/nginx_plus_datashee...

Everybody wins.

May him make tons of money.

Nginx provides more values than hundreds of million-dollars acquihires nowadays.


It is a bit sad though that free software has come to this choice, now needing to maintain a commercial and an open source version, and the conflict of interests that means and the possible diminished value of the open source product.

But alas no other solution than this is really on the table for the developers to actually make money out of something so valuable to society.

Donation-route? Didnt they have that?

They did. Check out how many people donated: http://nginx.org/en/donation.html

Hint: not enough to support yourself + wife + children.

Damn, he'd make more money working for McDonalds.

At McDonald's, there's a very obvious causal relationship between paying some money and getting a hamburger, so of course people pay. With nginx, you just apt-get install your hamburger, and you're done. Donating would hardly ever come to your mind in that process.

I assumed so, its a sad state of affairs.

Its mostly private persons, where are the companies making huge profits from nginx?

So its good they do like this with nginx plus, even if the open source version suffers, I wish the developers make tons of money.

Convincing your boss you need to pay $1500 for a software license for some core software is fairly easy and all companies have procedures to handle it. Convincing your boss that you should donate $1500 to some open source hacker in Russia who wrote the web server you use is much much harder and there may not even be procedures in place.

A publicly-held corporation could (in theory) be sued by its shareholders if it just gave away profits like that.

The problem with relying on donations is that people don't make donations.

Yeah, I can feel with them and it IS hard to make money with FOSS software. I think the problem is that the argument "You can sell support and consultancy to your software." is a little bit flawed as it contradicts with one fundamental purpose of software development: automating things;

So things should just work and if you are able to build a software that is easy to install, start and configure the user has no demand for support.

I'm a hacker who has built a ton of services with Nginx, and the concerns you all raised were my initial concerns as well. I've been lucky enough to work closely with the guys at Nginx (we even had an Nginx feedback meetup [shameless plug http://sfhackernews.com]). Brilliant group.

This product is built with your help. The roadmap reflects services you requested, but in no way would this company ever prevent the scene from offering additional patches, etc. that would serve to better the product itself.

If anything, this should be a welcome hint that this company is seriously looking forward to the future of growing itself into a competitive entity that is vigilant about bettering what services/products it offers.


Wish the page had more specific technical details and less sales-speak

+1 on that. and I hate having to submit a request for a salesperson to contact me so I can get more info on the product.

my interest went from "oh wow I'd like to evaluate this tonight" to "blah. this is sure to be a grating email dialogue."

edit: ..and even though I'd be willing to buy a small license now for evaluation purposes that seems to lead to the same sales trap.

I wanted to add that someone from NGINX contacted me first thing this morning with a refreshingly personable follow-up.

So while I still object to forced-into-sales-inquiry funnels like we were discussing here.. I have to apologize for assuming they'd be bad at it. :)

At this point I don't think they're trying to appeal to the system administrator or developers. The page should be directed at the sales people, initially they customers will be people like me, who just want to give them money but needs to convince the business people that it's a good investment. We doing just fine with the current open source version, but I want to see nginx stick around and honestly their price is very reasonable. Even small companies can pay and help keep the nginx developers around.

I understand peoples concerns, but it seems to be the only way for the nginx developers to do what they do best. Donations are clearly not working. It's only reasonable that they want to get a stable paycheck while helping the rest of us getting ours.

There's a datasheet http://nginx.com/media/cms_page_media/21/nginx_plus_datashee...

But that's got more sales-speak sprinkled in with the technical details.

What a fantastic product offering. They've clearly been listening to their users. For those of you who may not understand: when lots of people are using your product to make money ... you can charge for your services.

Nginx has had a Nginx SE that was around $1300 per month per insurance for a while now. This seems to just be a rename. I'm not sure how this suddenly starts worrying you, but the open and closed bracket has existed for quite some time.

Do we actually know if this is a different closed source branch with all these features baked in the app itself or is it a service offering bundling other systems/scripts into a nice platform on top of everyday nginx? (i.e. can be re-created with the proper recipe, just lacking the support)

Sad news, although it was obviously coming. Glad for Igor and others involved, but for me it is about time to start looking for alternatives.

You need to start looking for alternatives because they put out a slightly more advanced version only available to subscribers?

This sucks. Why? Because having e.g. "Adaptive Multimedia Streaming" in the Pro version might mean that you won't get it in the open version since the professional product would lose it's edge. I would much rather see a model where features from the professional edition propagate to the open one after authors earn enough from subscriptions.

Who says they won't do that?

Not to mention: If you get value from Adaptive Multimedia Streaming then pay for it. Why should they necessarily provide you value for free?

I'm personally getting tired of folks who ride the coat tails of "open source" because they simply read it as "I don't have to pay" rather than getting behind the ethos of what it's actually about. I don't know about your specific situation to say this is the case here, just venting on a pile of comments that are poo-pooing the fact these folks want to make some money from the MASSIVE value they are providing the world.

I'm personally getting tired of folks who ride the coat tails of "open source" because they simply read it as "I don't have to pay" rather than getting behind the ethos of what it's actually about.

What about the people who are fine with paying? Where can they get an open source version of Plus?

Pretty sure buying proprietary software is not part of the "ethos". Well, maybe of the open source ethos, but certainly not part of the Free Software one.

If they are fine with paying, why then they do not pay?

Amount of donations on this page: http://nginx.org/en/donation.html is really suck.

I just donated 20 dollars. Nginx is a really excellent example of how to do concurrency correctly imo, and I think they deserve a lot more.

Did you pay more for your text editor?

I use vim, so no. Also Bram Moolenaar works for Google so I don't think he needs my money.

Of course he needs your money — it will be used to help children in Uganda — http://www.vim.org/sponsor/index.php

Valid point :-) I think they'd be wise to sell access to the source for more money again. Certainly lots of organizations are keen to access that for safety.

Granting access to the source is not the same as having an Open Source license (assuming we're using the OSI definition).

> Who says they won't do that?

Well, they seem to have no stance on that - at least there's nothing on the page. So I tend to assume that pro features remain pro features.

Nobody is demanding that the nginx folks provide value for free. However, I see problems with their chosen business model. The separation of "open source" vs. "closed source" is ill defined. What happens for example if some other party implements a solution that provides the same functionality as a pro feature? Would they accept a PR for that and then provide it as part of the free version or would they just keep the pro-approved version and let the OS-version play catch up? Is it possible to patch the pro version as it is possible to patch the os version? Syslog logging requires source patches atm and it doesn't look like the patch will ever be accepted in the mainline. There's a legal question as well: From the changelog it seems as if other people contributed patches - the implied idea is that they provided patches to an OS project, did they sign a CLA that says they're transferring all rights to the nginx company?

Don't get me wrong: It's fair and square the authors want to make money of their project and they're certainly entitled to. I just see a bunch of issues cropping up.

On the legal question:

As of writing, the Contributing page states: "License

Submitting changes implies granting project a permission to use it under an appropriate license."[0] "license" links to [1] which states (in part):

" * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without * modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions * are met: * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright * notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer. * 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright * notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the * documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution. " followed by standard liability disclaimer.

There may well be a problem agreeing what "appropriate" means. There's an argument that given the link, appropriate could mean a license that allows redistribution in the same way as the current license - which would raise interesting questions for redistributing the nginx plus version.

Certainly it's not a simple assignation of copyright to NGINX. I can easily imagine a lawyer having a heart-attack when reading the original conditions of submitting.

[0] http://nginx.org/en/docs/contributing_changes.html [1] http://nginx.org/LICENSE

That's my point: Without CLA there's enough wiggle room for several armies of lawyers to squeeze through and attack you like a flock of piranhas. The other problem is that contributors might feel cheated - the implied contract was that they contribute to an OS project, not help lift a commercial project off the ground. OTOH, I have no idea how big outside contribution was. It's certainly a little shaky with a lot of pitfalls and I certainly don't hope that anyone feels inclined to challenge the commercial version, but we've all seen how well that went with VLC and the app-store version :(

All valid questions and certainly going to be food for thought of the team involved. Hopefully they see your concerns here and address them somewhere.

> I'm personally getting tired of folks who ride the coat tails of "open source"

Says the .NET developer with empty github and bitbucket accounts. Meanwhile, there are those of us who live and breathe open source software, building industry-transforming businesses around open source software and contributing to the open source ecosystem. Don't even try to pretend you are anything other than an outside observer.

Not to mention: If you get value from Adaptive Multimedia Streaming then pay for it. Why should they necessarily provide you value for free?

That argument applies to the software as a whole, not just to a particular feature, right? Isn't it just an argument against open source in general?

rather than getting behind the ethos of what it's actually about

What do you think is the ethos of what open source is actually about? I think part of it is indeed about sharing things with others for free, isn't it? If other parts of it are about the ability to see the code you're using, and make changes to it yourself -- you can't do that with the non-open-source part of this (or other) application either, right?

I don't have a definite opinion on the nginx model, whether or not it's good for the community, I don't really know. Certainly no developers are obligated to write open source ever, everyone can choose to write proprietary software whenever they want (and sometimes it's good for the community and sometimes it's not). But your argument is silly.

They are clearly shifting their priorities, which means that people building more open things can no longer rely on them participating. Instead, they have to treat them as a benevolent commercial entity dumping an open version their way.

Not everyone is on the world for money.

Sure, we can do like in middle age and trade goods instead of money.

> I would much rather see a model where features from the professional edition propagate to the open one after authors earn enough from subscriptions.

This wouldn't work. Paying corporations tend to be fairly conservative on the features they use, so it's not necessarily the new features that people are willing to pay for.

There's definitely some problems with this business model. On one hand, having a premium product means that Igor won't be contributing as much features to the open source version. On the other hand, it might discourage 3rd party developers from contributing features that are already covered by the premium product. There's probably some upsides as well, but it's certainly not without its issues.

Having a premium product could also mean that the open-source version grows faster.

Having stable revenue means the ability to spend 100% of the time working on the project (instead of it being a side project), and hire more full-time employees. It is possible that as a result both the pro and open-source versions improve faster than in an only-volunteer open-source project.

That's a good point. Although, so far, the project has evolved pretty well, so it doesn't seem to remedy a current problem.

An alternative strategy to ensure it to do so in the future, could be to build a team of open source contributors to take charge of the further development of the project. As a user, I would prefer this, as it doesn't have the inherent conflicts of interests that a premium/free model has.

Is that really necessary? People didn't stop using RedHat via CentOS because upstream is a commercial product.

Mainline Nginx is still available while this seems to be a value-added product with a bunch of extras.

The difference between RedHat and CentOS is basically just branding. That comparison doesn't make sense.

And which alternatives are you thinking of?

I've been thinking about going back to Apache on at least one server due to Nginx's poor WebDAV support. This might just push me over the edge.

Whether or not it's in line with the industry, the pricing here is insane.

The cheapest is $1350/yr/server. For that you get... remote logging? Configuration reloading? Oh my...

Zero downtime deploys? Is that a thing people care about? If you don't have server redundancy, having zero downtime deployments might be nice, but sooner or later you are going to have to reboot that machine, or you'll deploy broken code or bad configuration. Then what? If you do have server redundancy, zero downtime isn't even a feature. Not to mention, while nginx might have zero downtime, it's a fair amount of work to build an application that can be deployed with zero downtime. Maybe people are using nginx as a load balancer? If they are, and downtime really matters to them, they are seriously fucking up.

I expect a lot of corporations to pay this just because of some policy that they have to have support contracts in place for everything, but honestly, this is redunk.

I really like this, my only concern is that they don't link prominently to nginx.org - that worries me because the open source and free version is necessary for this commercial version to exist - if they get rid of it, I think many would reconsider using nginx long-term. I don't see a link on this page anywhere.

So do most people use Nginx as a load balancer and webserver?

I am using Apache webservers behind a fronted running Pound proxy (www.apsis.ch/pound‎). Pound is mind-bogglingly easy to setup and use, anyone looking for an Nginx replacement should really start there.

All this criticism odd. Having an open source and a paid premium product is very common in this industry.

Over the last week or so been learning about nginx as a possible solution to serve up compiled JS apps. Rails asset pipeline is just too slow - especially on heroku.

I've been working on my first real open source project - an nginx buildpack for Heroku/Dokku/Flynn optimized for static JS sites: https://github.com/cpursley/buildpack-nginx-js

Doesn't seem like Nginx Plus is hugely different from the open-source offering. I don't get the backlash. You are paying mostly for support - not the product. I'm fine with that.

No, Nginx Plus offers features not found in the open-source edition. Closed-source features. Some people are concerned this new focus on lucrative money-making code would be too much and the devs' time would be lost on the open-source part.

I love nginx and have been a huge evangelist for it. I also understand the need for the developers to make money. This makes me sad, though. I don't see good things coming from it.

Open Source works because the motivation is purely based on making the best product possible. Once you have this open core model, the stronger motivation is on the money making side of things. This means likely the free version will stagnate.

Curious about what sort of advanced metrics you get with NGINX Plus? Install the NGNIX plugin for New Relic (both it and New Relic Standard are free) and you'll see a bunch of charts marked "NGINX Plus only" http://newrelic.com/plugins/nginx-inc/13

the nginx, inc. CEO is the former vp of bizdev at redhat.


Calm down folks, there will always be open-source version =)

And anyone who wants to can folk it.

So this is going to be like Redhat -> CentOS ?

I don't think so. It looks like NginxTheWebServer is basically staying exactly as is... and NginxPlus is positioned more like a (probably cheaper) alternative to hardware load balancer with all the HA stuff already wired up.

I actually think this is quite a good way to fund nginx.

"Plus" code isn't open, is it?

I would say the other way around, more like Fedora getting baked incrementally into RedHat when stable.

"Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or RHEL) is a commercially supported derivative of Fedora tailored to meet the requirements of enterprise customers. It is a commercial product from Red Hat which also sponsors Fedora as a community project. Fedora is upstream for Red Hat Enterprise Linux but there are several other Derived distributions available too."


RHEL and Fedora are open source products (and this is the sole reason CentOS and ScientificLinux are able to exist).

Since Nginx Plus will not be open source I do not see how this is a valid comparison.

Because Red Hat, despite being open-source software, does not release its binaries as compiled, and there are several key features (such as RedHat Network for Redhat corporately-supported yum repos, to name one) that means you can take the source and compile the core product that (CentOS and SL), but there are parts that are not released. That is from my understanding.

You might not argue RHN is the feature, but what I understand from sysadmins the RHN subscription is one of the key features, in addition to a few others.

So, it is not the same level as Nginx Plus, but you must be kidding me if you believe RedHat is 100% open-source.

There SRPMS are open source because they have to be, not altruism.

> There SRPMS are open source because they have to be, not altruism.

Disagree. I think RH opensources a lot of products because they really do believe it's better (whether that be for "the community" or simply their bottom line). Look at how many (large) proprietary software systems RH has opensourced: Satellite (Spacewalk), SPICE, RHEV-M (oVirt)

RH is not 100% open source and I do not think they are angels or anything. They are a big company with their own interests and it so happens that being open source has worked out for them really well.

Having said that, because of chance or who knows why RH did a great deal of good deeds and they are literaly one of the locomotives pushing the open source train, if I may be permitted this metaphor.

Getting back on topic, if Nginx did as RH does and released the source of what they do so a "Centos-Nginx" or "Fedora-Nginx" can take form then I'd be happy with that.

So, I'm a little confused. Did the PLUS features exist in the nginx we all know and taken away? Or, are the PLUS features new?

seems to be available in the AWS marketplace here (just found it by Googling):


unfortunately it's not available for cluster compute/HVM instances, so I can't compare it with our existing nginx deployment.

So, that's a lot of marketing speak. Is this being positioned as an alternative to products like Varnish and F5?

$1300 per server per year sounds a bit expensive, at least when compared to Amazon ELB. What's the benefit?

Where are Amazon ELBs located? In Amazon's datacenters? Some people may prefer to serve static content and do TCP handshakes and slow-start closer to the customer.

Other than that, I haven't seen external connections to Amazon break 5 MB/s, but that might just be me renting cheap instances.

I predicted that, although I bet that they do it earlier. It is surprising that it took them until August 2013.

So what's a good alternative to nginx? Not going back to Apache, that's for sure.

Why leave nginx?

I don't want to use it anymore. What's the difference?

is there anywhere a side by side comparison between the two versions ?

so, nginx is no longer "fully opensource" so, fuck it. (yeah, i don't care - its closed, i can't help patch it/fix it/what not => fork or use something else)

note that i'd totally pay for support - its the closedness that bothers me.

note that i'd totally pay for support

So why didn't you? Nginx Inc. had support available for some time.

Because he was hoping to farm points off other zealots with his hyperbole. I'm not sure if that is better or worse than him actually believing what he typed.

Either way I really can't vote these kinds of people down enough.

Nothing that was open has been closed. Nothing that we had has been lost.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact