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Graph Database Neo4j Updates Licensing and Enhances Usability

by Jai Hirsch on Apr 28, 2011 |

Neo Technology has released version 1.3 GA (General Availability) of Neo4j, a graph-style database.

In creating this new version, the Neo4j team had two goals in mind. The first was a change in licensing. The Community version of Neo4j is now licensed under GNU General Public License (GPLv3). The Advanced and Enterprise editions are available under GNU Affero General Public License (AGPLv3) or commercial licensing. Neo Technology Chief Scientist Jim Webber says the new licensing will allow open access to the community edition.

We believe that graphs are very broadly applicable to an awful lot of computing domains, and yet nobody (including us) has up until this point made graph databases universally free to use and tinker with. We think that's incredibly important since it completely opens up the whole field of graph databases to commercial organizations, researchers, students, and tinkerers and hackers.

According to Webber, the second goal was creating a more developer- and dev-ops-friendly product.

The second theme we had for our 1.3 release was to make the database friendlier (and that's a theme that will continue in future releases). Although the graphistas can naturally think in graphs, we understand that for folks coming from a relational or KV/document background, the simplicity and expressiveness of graphs can (ironically) take a bit of getting used to. I think of it as the injury that lingers once you've taken off the handcuffs.

Some highlights of the Neo4j 1.3 release:

  • Each database can now contain 32 billion nodes or relationships and up to 64 billion properties.
  • Reduction of the database footprint by implementing a new strategy for common short strings
  • The WebAdmin tool for exploring graphical relationships has been revamped
  • Faster searches using Dijkstra’s algorithm to find the shortest path between nodes
  • Updates to indexing API and underlying implementations
  • Enhancements to the REST API

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Licency changes by Luis Trigueiros

Does this means that it can be tried on comercial projects no string attached ?
Cheers, Oscar

Re: Licency changes by Dan Tines

Does this means that it can be tried on comercial projects no string attached ?
Cheers, Oscar


Hmm..good question about "trying". The Affero clause of the GPL is definitely strings attached though.

Re: Licency changes by Ivan L

I wish they would give us the one line answer to this as well. Last I remembered it was anything more than a million nodes required a commercial license. Otherwise, Neo4j continues to be a useless technology to me.

Re: Licency changes by Michael Hunger

It is basically the same kind of license (for the community edition) as MySQL has, so whenever you would be able to use MySQL without acquiring a commercial license you can use Neo4j.

Only the advanced and enterprise versions (with additional monitoring, HA, online backup, support, etc.) come with AGPL or commercial license nowadays.

Re: Licency changes by Thomas Krafft

When someone says a particular product is "a useless technology" just because the group producing that product has some licensing scheme that helps them generate revenues (and thereby continue to evolve and improve their product), I immediate know the person commenting is an idiot, and/or isn't working on anything really useful or important.

(1.) If it's the right tool for the job, and there are no alternatives, then saying "it's useless" shows you really don't want or need to build something. (2.) If you're building something important, chances are you will also either be paid to produce the application, or will somehow generate your own revenues from it (even if it's through banner ads on the site where the "widget" lives).

These vendors are simply saying you can start for free, and then build (and buy) as needed. It doesn't matter the type of organization building these tools, whether commercial or open source... Everyone. And I mean EVERYONE who develops these tools needs revenues to survive and continue their work. Even something as simple as travelling to an open source conference, where you have been invited to speak about your open source product, can cost a lot. If these vendors - and particularly innovative new products - don't have revenues to support their operations, the product(s) will wither on the vine and die.

That's the only point at which people like Ivan can or should truly say something is useless to them.

Try out OrientDB by Rohit Rai

A few months back I had to search a Graph DB system and I did study for a client all the systems available in the market then. Finally we decided OrientDB was the best thing.

I recommend that everyone interested in GraphDBs or DocumentDBs check it out. It is faster than Neo4j, has embedding and clustering support, a web based db management application, RESTful interface, supports Graph as well as Documents and SQL too ;)

And if you have to just go by licensing, it is licensed under the business friendly Apache License 2.0

More details here - www.orientechnologies.com/

Disclaimer - I m not related with this project in anyway, though have plans of working on it in future.

Re: Try out OrientDB by Guest

And it also has a JDO/JPA layer (DataNucleus) so you can use it with the API's you're familiar with

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