June 21, 2021

Important Changes to ActiveState’s Licensing and Pricing Model in 2021

Starting  June 21, 2021, we’re changing how we distribute, license, and price our products and services. The changes will be rolled out over the rest of 2021 to provide our customers and users time to adapt to the changes. We know that this may be inconvenient and will do our best to make the transition smooth for you, if you are affected.

The most important changes in ActiveState’s licensing and pricing are:

  • Development use by organizations will no longer be free of charge. Organizations will need to pay for development use beyond certain limits.
  • Retiring our Community Editions and installers. We’ll phase out our Community Edition language distributions and installers. These will be replaced  with the more flexible and powerful ActiveState Platform.
  • Better Security/DevSecOps and Operations/DevOps. The licensing and pricing changes are part of a larger change to our offers that will make your use of Python, Perl, and other Open Source languages more secure, efficient, and reliable.
  • Open Source licensing. While Community Editions were free for development use, they weren’t licensed under an Open Source license. Starting with Perl 5.32 and Python 3.9, this changes and most custom distributions created on the ActiveState Platform will use only Open Source licensing.

If you have installed 10 or more copies of our Community Editions of ActivePerl, ActivePython, and/or ActiveTcl, please contact our sales team to discuss enterprise pricing for continued use. As not all versions of our language releases are affected by this change, please review the list of affected releases below.

If you have installed less than 10 copies of our Community Editions of ActivePerl, ActivePython, and/or ActiveTcl, we recommend that you sign up for the ActiveState Platform. It’s free and we’ll inform all Platform users of the new licensing and pricing options when they are ready.

If you are a customer, no direct action is required yet. We’re directly contacting our Enterprise Tier customers to discuss the changes and we’ll share updated offers for our Coder, Team, and Business Tier customers before the end of 2021.

Background

ActiveState has provided enterprise distributions of Perl, Python and other languages for over twenty years. These distributions have been free for development use and were available as installers that contained a language core (eg. Python 2.7) and a curated selection of hundreds of dependencies typically needed for enterprise use (eg. Pandas, Django, etc.)

While this was a good approach in the early 2000’s, software ecosystems have grown dramatically in the past decade. While our early ActivePython distributions were just a few megabytes in size, more recent versions are now nearly half a gigabyte in size. Frequent dependency updates mean frequent updates to our distributions, while legacy requirements mean that it’s difficult to take something out of one of our distributions once it’s been included.

Security is another critical element of this situation. Vulnerabilities and exploits have dramatically increased as well. An all-in-one distribution has a larger attack surface and is much harder to remediate than a custom distribution that’s built for a single application.

The ActiveState Platform is our answer to these challenges (and many others) that developers and enterprises face when using Open Source languages.

To understand our vision for the ActiveState Platform and how it can benefit you, visit this page.

Details and Frequently Asked Questions

We make heavy use of the Community Editions of ActivePerl, ActivePython, or ActiveTcl. How does this change impact us?

On the security and operations side, you have a lot to gain. Most large organizations have security and DevOps issues related to unmanaged and out-of-date software. Our new Platform addresses many of these issues for languages your organization relies on.  We also have new features that will particularly help your engineering, security, and compliance teams. Contact us to get a product demo (or enterprise trial) that’s customized to your needs.

On the financial side, you’ll likely need to pay to continue your use. Contact our sales team to discuss enterprise licensing.

How will this affect individual developers?

If you’re an individual developer, this should be a positive change for you. You’ll gain powerful new capabilities, improved security, and pure Open Source licensing.

You can use our new Platform without signing up using our command line interface. It’s just a one-liner to install:

You can also sign up for a free account on platform.activestate.com to use our Web UI.

If something doesn’t meet your expectations, please let us know on the ActiveState Community Forum.

How will this affect Open Source projects?

We’re working to make the ActiveState Platform free and unlimited for Open Source projects. If you want to use the Platform for your Open Source project, please apply to our Open Source early access program.

What is ActiveState’s new licensing and pricing model?

Our new licensing model charges for use of the ActiveState Platform, while the old model charged a license fee for copies of software. While the price is still measured by the number of runtimes you are using, the new model gives you flexibility to change languages and dependencies as needed. As with the old model, there are various services and add-ons that have their own pricing separate of usage. If you have questions about enterprise licensing, please contact our sales team.

Most individual developer use will be free, while most organizations that use the ActiveState Platform will need to pay for access.

What if I need an installer?

Many use cases for installers are covered by our State Tool Command Line Interface (CLI). Please read our docs for detailed instructions or hit us up on the community forum.

If you still require installers, we offer them as part of our ActiveState Platform Enterprise Tier. For details, please contact sales.

Can I keep using the ActivePerl, ActivePython and ActiveTcl Community Edition releases I’ve already installed?

In most cases, no (though some older releases can still be used.)

If your organization has 10 or more copies of any Community Edition release installed, you must contact our sales team to discuss further usage.

If your organization has less than 10 copies of any Community Edition release installed, you must discontinue use by the end of 2021.

What ActivePerl, ActivePython, and ActiveTcl releases are impacted by changes to the Community Edition EULA?

All versions listed below are impacted by the changes to our licensing. Versions older than this may still be used. However, as with any old distribution, they likely contain multiple known vulnerabilities and should not be used in production.

ActivePerl

  • 5.14.0 and later releases (eg. 5.16.x, 5.18.x, …)
  • 5.12.2.1203 and later releases in the 5.12 series
  • 5.10.1.1008 and later releases in the 5.10 series
  • 5.8.9.828 and later releases in the 5.8 series

For example, ActivePerl 5.10.1.1007 is not affected while ActivePerl 5.10.1008 is.

ActivePython

  • 3.2.0 and all later releases (eg. 3.3.x, 3.5.x, …)
  • 3.1.3.5 and later releases in the 3.1 series
  • 2.7.1.3 and later releases in the 2.7 series
  • 2.6.7.20 to 1.6.0.100

ActiveTcl

  • 8.6.0 and all later releases (eg. 8.6.x, …)
  • 8.5.9.1_RC2 and later releases in the 8.5 series
  • 8.4.19.5_RC1 and later releases in the 8.4 series
  • 8.3.5 and later releases in the 8.3 series

Where can I find ActiveState’s legal agreements?

New & updated ActiveState License Agreements (EULAs) can be found here

Archived ActiveState Agreements (Legacy Products) can be found here

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

For questions about use by individual developers or Open Source projects, please use the ActiveState Community Forum.

For other questions, please contact our sales team.

Zak G