The Future of Seldon: Strengthening our Commitment to Open Core

Since Seldon was founded in 2014, its mission has been to accelerate the adoption of machine learning. Thanks to unwavering support and guidance from our customers, community members and investors, this vision has turned into a reality, with over 10 million machine learning models deployed across the world’s most innovative companies.  

The vast majority of these models are deployed using Seldon’s primary open source projects, Core 1 and Core 2, which consistently deliver incredible amounts of market-leading functionality and value to those wishing to serve machine learning models into production.  In addition, Seldon’s Alibi open source projects are widely used to facilitate advanced monitoring and explanation of models served into production with Core.  Historically, all projects have been licensed under a free and permissive open source license, Apache 2.0.

Seldon has always committed itself to an open core business model, i.e. using open source as the foundation of the product suite, with advanced features, support and governance under commercial licensing models.  As the market and Seldon have matured, it has become clear the value the Core and Alibi projects deliver is extensive, and no longer commensurate with the licensing and pricing model. To enable us to deliver even more value across our products, have better control over how they are commercialized, and reduce the threat of others benefitting from our efforts, we have decided it is appropriate to change the license of Core and Alibi. Our entry level serving product, MLServer, will remain open source under Apache 2.0. 

What are the Changes?

From today (January, 22 2024), the license for all future releases of Seldon’s open source projects Core 1, Core 2, Alibi Detect and Alibi Explain will change from the Apache License Version 2.0 (“Apache 2.0”) to the source available Business Source License v1.1 (“BSL”). We believe the BSL is the fairest and most transparent source available option out there, and is widely used across the industry, by companies such as MariaDB (its creator), Cockroach Labs and Hashicorp.   

In practice, this means that free use of the Core and Alibi projects under the BSL will be for non-production uses only, i.e. pre-production and testing, with production use requiring payment under a commercial license. There are no changes to the way you access the software.    

Strengthening Our Commitment to Open Core

We believe this change is a re-commitment to our open core principles. We now have an open source foundation with the MLServer project, a source available step-up with the Core projects, and commercially licensed enterprise grade products, with pricing across the suite that reflects a fair exchange of value.  

The world of MLOps and AI is ever-changing, and we’re excited to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation alongside our customers and community. We’re committed to ensuring that everyone involved feels supported, informed, and equipped for the exciting road ahead.  We have tried to answer all the questions you may have through our FAQs and licensing guides, so please check out the resources below.  

Thank you.

James and the amazing Seldon team.  






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