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Oracle nixes free Sun GridEngine, goes 90-day trial

by on August 19, 2010

This bit of news only impacts a tiny portion of the readers here, but bears repeating.  As Oracle slowly works its way through the massive collection of Sun projects, they’ve been killing them off one by one.  First there were questions of how Oracle would treat open-source competitor MySQL, then the death of long-time open source project OpenSolaris, and now Sun GridEngine is on the block.

Oracle has “absorbed” Sun GridEngine internally and renamed it “Oracle GridEngine” (OGE) and placed it under a new license that restricts it to only 90-days of free usage in a “trial” arrangement.  From the 6.2U6 EULA:

As selected in your Entitlement, one or more of the following Permitted Uses will apply to your use of Software. Unless you have an Entitlement that expressly permits it, you may not use Software for any of the other Permitted Uses. If you don’t have an Entitlement, or if your Entitlement doesn’t cover additional software delivered to you, then such software is for your Evaluation Use.

(a) Evaluation Use. You may evaluate Software internally for a period of 90 days from your first use.

So you have to be granted an “Entitlement”, which basically means special exception or paid license, to use it beyond that.  It looks like this was done first back in June, and is just now being noticed by the community at large.  Folks are already talking about forking the project into something like “Open GridEngine”, but there are questions about licenses, patents, and general legal safety of such a project.

So, why do you care?  Well, SGE is used by some VFX shops as a queue controlling system.  It’s a pretty nice project, and (at least it used to be) free.  The open nature of it makes it ideal for use on massive renderfarms without custom software or expensive queue-ing solutions.  If SGE is going away, I doubt they’ll wind up buying it from Oracle and instead switch to other options.  SGE is also popular in several university environments (like TACC) because of budgetary constraints, who will now have to find some other option.

What do you think? Do you use SGE?  Will you buy OGE?

… and SGE goes 90-day trial license … « scalability.org.