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  • Is Cloudron Free Software (as in freedom)?

    I've been using Cloudron for years and I'm more than happy to pay for the service. The way I see it, this pays for apps to be kept up to date by the cloudron team, as well as for new features to be developed.

    My question is, how much of Cloudron is open source and how much of it is proprietary?

  • Staff

    Cloudron is split up between the backend code, which is AGPLv3 and the frontend code which has a custom proprietary license

  • Thanks for that. Is it your intention to keep (at least the backend) open source? I rely on this quite heavily for day-to-day personal things and do not like the idea of a company being able to stop my server from functioning at a moments notice.

  • Staff

    At a high level, we think stopping/bricking apps and servers just because the license expired is a big no-no and is against the spirit of self-hosting. I think this aspect is separate from the open source intention.

    As for open source, yes, the idea is to keep the backend opensource. We also like open development, this is why we continue to develop the frontend in the open. People should be able to inspect software and understand how it works and our subscription also allows you to make patches and use it for yourself. About the data, @nebulon didn't mention that all our app packages are MIT licensed (100's of repos). So, even if Cloudron backend becomes closed or you decide to move away from Cloudron, you can always take your data and figure out how to import it in a non-Cloudron setup.

  • That's very reassuring. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  • @girish

    Hi, thanks for this explanation, but there's something that - not being a developper - i'm afraid i don't understand :

    What is the point of having only a part of the software FOSS and not the other (only open source) ? Isn't that the same as if all the software wasn't FOSS ?

  • Staff

    @El-Gavy Good question, thanks for asking. The Cloudron backend is FOSS and usable completely standalone and you can use it without the fontend or the Cloudron App Store. It's actually very similar to other projects like dokku, flynn, deis, kubernetes, docker etc in that regard. These projects are also "backend" software and have no web interface to do stuff. To make the backend "useful" out of the box, our app packages are also open source.

    The Cloudron frontend (web interface) makes use of the REST API and is part of our Open core style business model. The Cloudron App Store is a service for 1-click deployment and update of curated apps which is also part of our business model.

    IOW, I like to think of Cloudron frontend as building on an opensource components akin to products like Docker Data Center and Tectonic (which are closed source).