Julia's business model

I recently switched from Matlab to Julia. It is my first time to use an open-source programming language. So far I have been loving it very much. I am very grateful for all the help from this very friendly Julia community!

One thing I have been wondering is that how could we make this tool available to everyone for free? Right now, I am donating monthly to this project, but the “donation” nature makes it hard for me to pay Julia using my research project funding. I would recommend the below business model:

  • Free for personal use
  • Charge a one time fee of $1000 per person for each business use (commercial and academic) to get a perpetual license.

That way, we would have more funding to allow more people to be full time on making this wonderful programming language even better.

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Julia is already free for everyone to use.


Hello Leon,

welcome to the Julia Community. The community is made up out of many entities and there is no one business model. Donations (and sponsorship of JuliaCon) go to the JuliaLang project with NumFocus and are used to pay for costs like hosting this forum, or providing bandwidth for downloads. For commercial users Julia Computing is offering enterprise support. We at the JuliaLab finance our efforts through research grants.

So there is no one entity that could change it’s business model.


In addition to above answers

It’s a bit hard to charge an open source software just for use, since anyone can already use it for free by compiling the source code. What is usually offered is support, and Valentin pointed out that Julia Computing already does that.


Also note that many (most?) successful programming language are free and open source - coming from Matlab, Stata, Mathematica, Spss etc it might seem like language development can only work under some sort of for profit model, but for the most part this isn’t true.


FOSS is a thing. Not everything has to be paid monetarily, at least not directly. Julia Computing technically has nothing to do with the situation of Julia, of course, many core devs are from the company, also running discourse costs money, etc., so it’s good to have a company backing up that. But at the very bottom, Julia language is already FOSS and nothing should change that.


Regarding this it’s probably best to choose a product from Julia Computing.
With that I also disagree with

because my guess is: if Julia Computing is successful (on market) this would be quite directly beneficial for Julia, the language, itself.


their success has a clear correlation, they benefit each other. I guess my point was they don’t die together – anyone can always keep using or forking Julia for free even if no company is backing it.

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Good to learn about Julia Computing. So using that program is the same as usingJulia, but Julia Computing allows a business to pay for it?

See JuliaSure - Julia Computing for options to pay for support.


Julia Computing had JuliaPro as a product JuliaPro v1.5 - Julia Computing but it seems to be not an offer anymore and was “replaced” by JuliaHub as a cloud based Julia platform.
JuliaPro was the same as Julia (v1.5), except for some pre-packed standard packages and other adjustment to improve productivity. It also came with it’s own issues.

As @tshort already suggested above, I suggest the same. Or just have a look at JuliaComputing to see what they have to offer for you, but for a

development support is probably well spend money. But using the cloud might be good also, e.g. if you can avoid buying special and expensive hardware for a risky software development.

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I think it hasn’t been said here: About Us - Julia Computing is led by THE key people of Julia.
(of course there are other important key people which are not part of Julia Computing which should not be forgotten!)


One thing that you might want to look into is whether or not your research funding allows for something like sponsoring JuliaCon.

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Still, you can/could put something in the license about commercial and non-profit use. And actually i’ve started recommending this to developers.

What do you mean? A license which doesn’t allow commercial/for-profit use?

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Yes. btw: that’s quite good explained in GPL - another recommendation.

That’s an easy way to put off potential commercial users. And normal users that might want to one day become commercial users.


Restricting commercial uses is explicitly against the Free Software Definition and point 6 of the “Open Source Definition”. In general “free” and/or “open source” licenses cannot restrict uses. But maybe I’m missing what you’re saying (and we’re derailing)


Ehm, Selling Free Software - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

That’s about charging the distribution of free software, which is difficult to make profitable, as anyone else can distribute it for free. This was the business model attempted by the developer of QtiPlot, but it was simply not effective, Linux distributions used to package it, despite the fact the developer made it somewhat difficult to build the software from scratch. In the end the developer simply changed the license and now that’s not free/open source software anymore :man_shrugging:

Also, that has nothing to do with restricting the use of the software. Maybe you wanted to link Selling Exceptions to the GNU GPL - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation? But that’s an exception to the license, so it doesn’t meet its definition, otherwise it wouldn’t be an exception in the first place.