In April MuleSource announced that they were splitting the Mule ESB into a community edition and an enterprise edition.
Apparently the enterprise edition also has features that are available only in that version, plus the only version customers can buy support for is the enterprise edition. It also appears that the license requires you to uninstall the enterprise edition if you ever stop paying for it .. and rumor has it that the software will actually stop working if you don't continue to pay for it. Wow. WOW.
I guess what this is saying is that MuleSource is having trouble monetizing the more than million downloads they claim.
However, I'm surprised, no, shocked. Larry Augustin (who happens to be an advisor to MuleSource and also WSO2) gave a very interesting talk at the last OSBC about how to make it less difficult for customers to pay. One of his main points was about avoiding a rip-n-replace approach when getting customers to pay.
Today if you want to try Mule then you go and download their free community edition. But then if you want to buy support for it, then you have to get new bits and switch over! And of course if you ever decide to stop paying, then you have to drop back to the community edition, which has some missing features. Vendor lock-in for sure.
This is the opposite of "make it easy to pay" that Larry was advocating at OSBC.
Forcing people to pay by legal means is the hallmark of proprietary software. Open source vendors need to find a way to deliver sufficient value to customers to make them want to pay .. apparently MuleSource has failed at that and is going back to the license to force people to pay. In other words, giving up on open source.
Summary: If you want a really open source ESB then don't look at Mule any more! Ah yes, we've got one .. and BTW its the fastest around :-).
(Oh yeah, we ran into Mule's non-open source nature head-on when doing the performance analysis .. it turns out that the enterprise edition license does not allow us to publish performance numbers against it! We're familiar with that with BEA AquaLogic etc., but never expected that from Mule. Oh BTW that's a field of use restriction, which violates the Open Source Definition (item #6) .. so really, Mule is effectively no longer available under an OSI approved license and hence not at all open source.)