Bacula Status Report

Hello,

I would like to speak to you about the following points:

1. The rumors of the death of Bacula (the Community version)
2. Bacula Systems and the FSFE (Free Software Foundation Europe)
3. The future of Bacula (the Community version)

1. The rumors of the death of Bacula (the Community version):

I borrow words from a quote of Mark Twain : The rumors of the death of Bacula are highly exaggerated!

I began working on Bacula 14 years ago (in January 2000), and it has been Open Source from the time it was publicly released in April 2002, and it will remain Open Source. I have been and am fully devoted to Open Source, and in particular to Bacula, which is like my “baby”.

I did inform the Bacula Community several years ago that my personal participation in Bacula would decrease a bit for several years to allow me to focus more on getting Bacula Systems started. In my opinion, that has not been a serious disadvantage for the Bacula project since Bacula Systems over that period has contributed far more code to Bacula than I could have alone over the same period, and as you will see a bit later in this status report, Bacula Systems contributions are absolutely guaranteed to continue in the long run, and even increase.

2. Bacula Systems and the FSFE:

If you have been a long time Bacula user you may recall that I discussed the possibility in 2006-2007 of creating a company, now called Bacula Systems, to ensure the continuation of Bacula when I will no longer be able to personally contribute – say in 10 or 20 years, as well as to provide the financial means to add high-end features to Bacula (a fibre channel network costs about $50K to set up). Much to my surprise 95% or more of the responses I got were very positive. Bacula Systems was created in July 2008, and for the first two years, the Enterprise code base and the Community code base were identical. Unfortunately, that didn’t work financially for Bacula Systems. Companies willing to pay, were willing to pay for features and support but not support alone, so Bacula Systems embarked on development to continue maintenance and improvement of Bacula while at the same time creating mostly plugins to add differentiation to the Enterprise version.

Now this may not sound very Open Source to you, and I understand, because I feel the same way. Were it at all possible, I would give you all of Bacula Systems code, unfortunately, that is not economically feasible at the current time, and yet without Bacula Systems, I fear the Bacula project will die or worse yet fall into the hands of someone incapable of maintaining the high quality we have created.

In mid-2013, Bacula Systems and I began discussions with the FSFE on how to guarantee the long-term survival of Bacula. These discussions, extremely positive on both sides and all points, recently lead to a formal written agreement between myself, Bacula Systems, and the FSFE. There are a number of points in the agreement, but probably the most important of all is that Bacula Systems has now put in writing that it is an Open Source company (at its heart), as it has always proclaimed, and will contribute all the Enterprise code it creates to the Bacula Community code base within at most a 5 year period. One exception is that Bacula Systems is legally unable to contribute certain code encumbered by third-party proprietary license. The 5 year delay gives Bacula Systems the chance to develop Enterprise features that differentiate it, but ensures the continual growth of the Bacula Community code. This model can possibly be used across the industry to ensure the future of open source software in an environment where development costs, particularly for hardware to do testing, are prohibitive to the standard models of today.

5. The future of Bacula (the Community version):

If you have read section 4 above, hopefully if you were not already convinced that Bacula is alive that you can now see that it will have a long and successful future ahead of it. If you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to either send me an email on the bacula-users list or directly to me (if you want it private). Hopefully, by mid-December I will have a blog setup (need a major upgrade of bacula.org to do so), and I will then fill you in on what next to expect in Bacula.

Thank you for contributing to and/or using Bacula …

Best regards,
Kern