Docker angers open source developers: No more free team plans

Developers who have organized their projects on the Docker platform in the form of the free plan “Free Team” need to look for alternatives or pay. Because Docker wants to completely discontinue this plan, which can no longer be booked for a long time.

30-day period upsets those affected

Anyone who is still using one of the old plans now has almost 30 days to switch to a paid subscription or to switch services. After that, Docker will turn off access to the data of the respective account, like Alex Ellis from Openfaas reported.

That’s a tight deadline for those unwilling to pay upwards of $300 a year for any of the paid plans, which is a given with a number of open-source projects on the platform.

Docker spontaneously received a lot of criticism for this announcement, but feels that it has been unjustly criticized. After all, “free team organizations are (to) an old subscription level that no longer exists,” Docker writes in the email.

This tier included many of the same features, plans, and functionality as a paid Docker Team subscription. Docker made it clear that those who still have such an old free team organization will lose access to the paid functions, including private repositories, on April 14, 2023.

In a grace period of another 30 days, the data of affected accounts should still be kept. “After that they will be deleted.”

That doesn’t sound completely inappropriate and is basically part of the standard procedure for developing services. Apparently, in the present case, the short deadline in particular has led to annoyance among those who manage open source projects with build dependencies. Of course, these dependencies could break if you don’t manage to move in time and implement the change of dependencies everywhere.

Either way, the switch takes work that can only be avoided by switching to a paid subscription. However, Docker has a possible alternative for affected projects.

Alternative: Docker open source program

It is the Sponsored Open Source Program (DSOS), where open source project operators can get free team subscriptions. Docker has pledged to “defer the suspension or deletion of an organization while the DSOS application is reviewed,” and is giving “organizations at least 30 days before we suspend the organization if the application is ultimately denied.”

That sounds like a compromise. In addition, Docker promises: “Any organizations that are suspended or deleted will not release the namespace, so occupying previous namespaces will not be possible.”

In the DSOS process, however, considerable waiting times are to be expected. On the other hand, there are limitations that may make it difficult for some projects to be accepted. Above all, such projects “must not have a path to commercialization”.

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