Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I just want someone to clarify the following questions as Demis Bellot had announced a couple of weeks ago that ServiceStack would go commercial. Refer link below.


(Please note that when I say ServiceStack or SS I refer to all associated SS libraries such as ServiceStack.Text, etc.)

  1. If I have a solution already developed using ServiceStack today will I have to purchase a license once SS goes commercial even if I don't upgrade the SS binaries to the commercial release version?

  2. Will previous versions of SS (prior to commercial licensing) always be opensource and use the same license as before?

  3. If I fork SS today (prior to commercial licensing) on Github, would it be illegal to maintain that after SS goes commercial?

  4. If the answer to question 2 is yes, then would I still be able to fork a previous version after SS goes commercial without worrying about the commercial license (all the while maintaining and releasing the source to the public)?

share|improve this question
I wasn't aware of the change to the library binaries and got burned fairly badly during a deployment. ServiceStack have branched and frozen v3 so you can still access non-commercial binaries. I've forked the V3 project here (github.com/nustack) and will try get new packages out at some point to change the package names. –  Doobi Dec 16 '13 at 0:04
There are 0 members of your nustack project, which I assume means you aren't even a member of it. Now that we have the [3,4) syntax available in packages.config makes it possible to use ServiceStack v3 and never pick up v4. I'm reading the tea leaves here, have you abandoned nustack in favor of just specifying version range in packages.config? –  yzorg Jan 21 at 15:03
This question appears to be off-topic because it is tour predicting a future –  gnat Jun 2 at 8:06
@gnat: There is nothing to predict here. It is basically a question about what happens to previous open-source versions of a product when the license of the product gets changed. –  Bart van Ingen Schenau Jun 2 at 12:12
@BartvanIngenSchenau this doesn't seem to match what I read in the question: "Will previous versions of SS (prior to commercial licensing) always be opensource and use the same license as before?" –  gnat Jun 2 at 12:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The best way to get a definitive answer is to ask them. But I will give you my interpretation anyhow.

Basically, they cannot revoke the license they granted you on the existing code. And from my reading of the message you linked to, they expect to keep the existing BSD based code available but will not be doing any work on it.

So to take your questions:

  1. No you will not need to purchase a license, just keep using the existing BSD licensed version.

  2. Yes. They have granted you a license on the existing releases.

  3. No it would not be illegal.

  4. Yes you may fork the old version. But remember they are under no obligation to keep the old code around so you may discover that suddenly the old version is no longer on their site but that doesn't change the rights they granted you to use the old version.

I will repeat my earlier statement: Ask them. Especially if you are building a commercial solution, it's worth getting their official position on the licensing of the existing code.

share|improve this answer
Yes I did ask them and got a reply very similar to yours. I just wish one of them would answer it here as it would benefit a lot of people more than me. They do recommend that support questions should be posted in stack sites and not in their community page. Hence this question. Thanks Craig for all your help. –  Harindaka Sep 18 '13 at 6:21
There are existing forks here: nservicekit.com, and here: github.com/nustack –  Jared Thirsk Jun 2 at 8:28
  1. No, you do not have to purchase a license to keep using your existing version of ServiceStack (version 3) once a commercial version 4 is released.

  2. Yes, you can still use existing versions of ServiceStack under the permissive BSD licenses with which they were released.

  3. No, it is not illegal to fork Version 3 of SS (and maintain that fork), because the license under which it was released allows you to do so.

  4. Yes, you may fork previous versions of SS (version 3) even after commercial versions (version 4+) are released. However, as another answer mentions, SS is under no obligation to provide the world with old versions. (It may be in their interest to remove it from the web.) However, rather than creating your own fork, may I suggest considering getting behind one of the community forks:

    a) NServiceKit - "a forever free, open source fork of ServiceStack V3"

    b) NuStack - "Providing a public, non commercial, user maintained version of Service Stack libraries."

share|improve this answer
would you mind explaining more on what it does and why do you recommend it as answering the question asked? "Link-only answers" are not quite welcome at Stack Exchange –  gnat Jun 2 at 8:03

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.