Is it possible to share an app's source code like Atlassian does?

Hey all,
Dear Atlassian,

Question:
Is it possible to upload the source code for an app to the marketplace and let licensees download them?

Rational:
What if an app provides a business critical feature and the vendor goes AWOL / bankrupt / does not maintain an app anymore…?
With Atlassian’s product licenses the licensee is able to download the source code. Even if Atlassian goes belly up, they could build and run a server from that. (in theory; it is all about perceived possibilities, not about feasibility or effort / cost)
Especially bigger customers are more reluctant to invest in an app if there are contingencies in place.

Atlassian does it already.
Offering an escrow service to customers is cumbersome and expensive.
How about it? Possible? I couldn’t find any document on the subject. I guess it is not available…

Cheers,
Jay

There are several options: first is to make it open source with an appropriate license to prevent exploitation (IANAL, but pretty sure there are licenses that cover this). You can provide a source code URL in your marketplace listing.

The other option is to create a customer portal yourself, offering access to it for customers only, and provide source code access from there.

Alternatively, you can add contact details in your EULA, allowing people to ask you for a copy of the source. Granted that this is time consuming and only provides them with a snapshot (current version) instead of the option to download each new version. The question is: how many companies would want it?

To be honest, although we’re a small vendor (only ~800 active customers), a lot of them are Fortune500 and we’ve never been asked about source code access, escrow, etc. Did you get active requests, or are you trying to solve a problem that might not exist?

Either way, whatever option you choose, I would definitely make sure that you outline the exact policy for source code access in your EULA, because it is mandatory for customers to accept that prior to installation.

5 Likes

Did you get active requests, or are you trying to solve a problem that might not exist?

You are right about “solving a problem that might not exist”.
Me as a business owner, I doen’t want my business to rely on other vendors to much.
Maybe I assume other business owners are as paranoid as I am about securing my business and income. :sweat_smile: