A basic promise of open-source code is that even if a company goes out of business, the source code can live on. Back in October 2016, after seven years of effort, the company behind the popular open-source RethinkDB database announced that it was ceasing operations.
The fact that RethinkDB was open-source should have helped to ensure that the code would live on, but the reality is that not all open-source licenses are equally friendly for commercial development. RethinkDB had been licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License, which is a reciprocal open-source license. With such a license any changes made to code must be contributed back, which isn't something that all organization want to do.
As such, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced on Feb. 6 that it paid $25,000 to acquire all of the RethinkDB code, copyrights and assets. The CNCF then re-licensed all the code under the Apache Software License version two, which does not have the same strict requirement for code contributions. CNCF has subsequently contributed the code to the Linux Foundation. CNCF itself is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.
"CNCF saw the opportunity to salvage an enormous investment with a small incremental contribution,” CNCF Executive Director Dan Kohn said in a statement. "Now that the software is available under the Apache license, the RethinkDB community has the opportunity to define the future path for themselves."
According to RethinkDB's frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the database, the structure is somewhat similar to MongoDB, though it offers more abstraction.
"RethinkDB’s feeds integrate seamlessly with the query computation engine, and allow you to subscribe to changes on query results, not just raw replication data," RethinkDB's FAQ states. "This architecture dramatically reduces the time and effort necessary to build scalable realtime apps."
Work is currently ongoing for the RethinkDB 2.4 release in the open-source community project on GitHub.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseAppsToday and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.