In Release 3.1.0, we combined Rocket.Chat Enterprise Edition (EE) and Rocket.Chat Community Edition (CE) into a single codebase.

We believe open source is best done transparently. We feel that communicating clearly and concisely what we are changing, adding, or fixing is a matter of high importance when it comes to our community.

In the early days of Rocket.Chat, we didn’t have an easy way of allowing our users to help support the development of Rocket.Chat. We believe that combining the codebase’s will allow our users an easy way to try out the new features and support the development of Rocket.Chat in more ways than just our sponsorship program.

This article will dive into our decision to switch Rocket.Chat over to a single codebase, as we explore what it represents in terms of changes and benefits to Rocket.Chat and its community.

Firstly, it is crucial to understand that, with this change:

  • Community Edition remains open source and MIT licensed.
  • Enterprise Edition becomes source-available with a proprietary license
  • We foresee a wide range of benefits to the community after this change.

Let’s dive into each topic to give you a better understanding of these topics.

Rocket.Chat Community Edition remains open source and MIT licensed

Rocket.Chat’s codebase will remain under the MIT license. The same applies to our code architecture and all frontend assets (JavaScript, CSS, images, views): these are accessible to all and unchanged. In fact, the MIT license is a crucial aspect when we talk about being open source. By allowing companies to modify, customize and use our core code for diverse purposes, we ultimately hope to empower initiatives that will impact society and the way we live.

Rocket.Chat Enterprise Edition becomes source-available with a proprietary license

The merge of the Community Edition and Enterprise Edition makes available the formerly unavailable Enterprise Edition code. It is totally optional and can be easily excluded. The Community Edition will always be able to run independently from the Enterprise’s codebase.

In regards to the official installation channels (Ex: Docker, Snap), you can still use them with its free open-source MIT license, but it will be easier to activate an Enterprise license key if you want. We are working to deliver new FOSS images without the proprietary code soon.

Moreover, the Enterprise Edition features will remain proprietary resources. In other words, you can use the software for development and testing purposes, as stated in our License. However, if you wish to fully use EE’s features, such as Engagement Dashboard, Premium Support, among others, it will be necessary to acquire a paid license.

How will our community benefit from this change?

Unifying our codebase will allow Enterprise to give back to the Community

Many of our Enterprise customers have their own product teams that add value to Rocket.Chat’s codebase. Merging these two repositories will enable us to receive these improvements from those customers. Ultimately, it means a lot of bug fixing and improvements to the codebase.

Receiving greater exposure to all kinds of people and companies

Expanding the Rocket.Chat open source ecosystem is an essential outcome expected from this change. We predict that as our repositories become unified and our Marketplace becomes more robust, developers will get the opportunity to promote their own applications to a broader audience, increasing business opportunities in the long run.

Community gets full access to try out Enterprise Edition with zero fuss

The community won’t need to contact us or have any inconvenience in order to try the EE out. By doing so, we expect to facilitate our community members that may have Enterprise needs to try out the Enterprise edition on their own installation. Thus, evaluating if the Enterprise Edition may be appropriate for their specific needs becomes easier.

Conclusion

We expect the move to a single codebase to go smoothly. Rocket.Chat has invested significant development time to guarantee that this change will have no major impacts, and we forecast substantial benefits for the company’s development and the community.

We hope to count on your support at this new stage.

If you have questions and want to learn more about what went on behind the scenes, please check the following resources:

  • Ask me anything with Gabriel, April 24th: live session with our founder to clarify doubts or concerns you might have about our release, or simply share thoughts and perceptions with us. Save your spot here.
  • Let us know what you think on our forum announcement.