BeeGFS is now on GitHub: What does this mean for you?

22nd March 2024

It’s official! BeeGFS has packed its bags (ahem, pollen baskets) and moved to GitHub. This transition marks a pivotal moment for our development team, enabling us to boost our efficiency and increase collaboration with our community. In this post, we’ll address some of the common questions anticipated with this change.

What does this mean for you?

The most immediate change is if you’ve bookmarked or checked out the BeeGFS source, you’ll want to update your bookmarks and change your git remotes to the new GitHub repository. For downloading pre-built packages, you will continue accessing our package repositories without any changes from our Download page.

Why did we choose GitHub?

Our decision to move to GitHub was motivated by two goals:

  1. Simplifying Development: We’ve been interested for some time in moving to a hosted solution so our team had one less mission-critical tool to maintain. Developer experience is also really important to us, so we didn’t want a hodgepodge of tools, we needed a one-stop-shop to organize, communicate, and get stuff done. After assembling our requirements and listening to the team, GitHub quickly became the front-runner with robust git-based source control, CI/CD, issue tracking, advanced project management, wikis, discussion boards, and more.
  2. Enhancing Community Engagement: As the BeeGFS community continues to grow, we want to make it easier to organize feedback and, in the future, accept contributions. Creating accounts in self-hosted source control for anyone and everyone in the community is just not practical. Who wants to remember one more account anyway? So instead of trying to bring more developers to where BeeGFS is, we thought it would be more practical to bring BeeGFS to where developers are already accustomed to finding and collaborating on code. GitHub was again the clear winner here (with over 100 million developers).

Wait, does this mean BeeGFS is 100% open source now?

Well, the short answer is no, but given our move to GitHub, a platform often synonymous with open-source projects, you might wonder if BeeGFS is now open source. While we’re committed to continuing to make the BeeGFS source code freely available for anyone, and even allowing modifications for private use, BeeGFS still cannot be redistributed in modified or unmodified form without prior written consent (just talk to us!). This differs from most common definitions of open-source software and is why we will continue to refer to BeeGFS as “available source”. For more details see the BeeGFS End User License Agreement.

The development of BeeGFS is supported by our enterprise edition, which includes additional features and support. Both our community and paid enterprise editions share a source tree which receives updates simultaneously. We don’t delay releasing fixes and enhancements in the community edition. However since they are part of the same source tree they fall under the same license, and restricting use of certain features is incompatible with every open source license we know of. Instead, our philosophy aims to reflect the open-source spirit by offering our community edition with no restrictions on number of users, file system size, or usage duration.

In practice, this model has worked well over the past decade. We know file systems are a critical part of your infrastructure, and this approach has allowed us to tightly control our source code ensuring it is safe from supply chain attacks, while allowing contributions that are rigorously vetted, tested, and will be maintained going forward. The result is a trusted and rock solid file system widely used behind the world’s largest AI and HPC workloads. Looking forward, it is imperative that any future changes to our licensing model ensure a sustainable future for ongoing BeeGFS development without crippling the community edition.

What’s next?

Looking ahead, we aim to expand our engagement with the community, leveraging GitHub as a platform for us to collect and organize feedback while being more transparent about what we’re working on. More on this in the coming months, stay tuned. In the meantime we’d love to hear your thoughts, just drop us a note in the comments!

PS: If you’re attending ISC24 in Hamburg we’d love to chat in-person about how we can continue to get more engaged with our community. Sign-up to attend the BeeGFS User Group meeting or drop by the booth #L40!

Joe McCormickSenior Software Engineer, ThinkParQ
Philipp FalkVP of Engineering, ThinkParQ


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