FAQ - Licensing and Support
(Updated: Dec 2009)
What is the licensing model for the Lustre file system for Linux?
The Lustre file system for Linux is an Open Source product.
New releases are available at the Lustre download site to the general public at the same time as to our paying customers and partners, under the terms and conditions of the GNU GPL.
As we develop ports for operating systems other than Linux, it is possible that these will be proprietary.
Virtually every open source company has gone out of business or had to change to a proprietary model; this is our way of balancing the realities of business with the desire to provide an excellent open source cluster file system for Linux.
If public money helped fund the development of Lustre, don't the taxpayers own that code?
Some portions of Lustre were developed under the sponsorship of the US Government under Subcontract nos. B514193, B525177, B523817, B536384, 2204-10713, and others. Under the terms of those subcontracts, Sun retained the copyright to all software developed. We released all of this software to the US Government under the GNU GPL.
Many of these efforts were to produce prototypes or beta implementations, not production-quality software. Sun has invested considerable resources in productizing these features, and developing new features entirely on our own.
If Lustre stops getting professional support, the taxpayers' money will have been wasted. To that end, our government sponsors strongly encourage us to build a sustainable business model.
How does the commercial distribution of Lustre work?
Our Lustre enterprise support customers receive unlimited access to the Lustre technical support team, and through them, the Lustre developers. Support contracts are priced according to the number of Lustre clients and servers, with discounts that grow as the cluster size increases.
For more information about Lustre support contracts, see Lustre Support.
Will Sun develop custom features for a proprietary product?
You can ask, but generally speaking, no. There are several potential reasons for this:
Ideological: We want to provide a fully-featured cluster file system for Linux which is available to everyone. If some features were developed for your proprietary product, it undermines that effort.
Pragmatic: We don't have the resources to test and support very many different versions. It's best for us if everyone runs software with the same features, because it substantially reduces the release engineering burden.
Selfish: It would be unfortunate for us if the code that we developed for you, under a proprietary license, was code that we later wanted to use in a different way. We'd rather not paint ourselves into that corner.
What Lustre support services are available?
For information about Lustre support services, see Lustre Support.
Information about training opportunities for system administrators or support staff can be found under the heading Training and Internals on the Learn page.