Chef Open Sources 100% of our Product Code!

Good morning! Today Chef reaffirms its commitment to Open Source - we are open sourcing all of our Product code (including Automate)! We also reaffirm our commitment to a healthy and sustainable Open Source community. For more information about exactly HOW we will be developing all of our product code in the open, check out the Chef Book of Open Source - we welcome feedback and contributions! All of Chef’s Open Source code is and will remain under the Apache 2.0 license. Anyone may use, change, build, and distribute it as long as our trademarks are respected. For the full trademark guide, see What is changing is the license on distributions of that code built by Chef Software. For more information on that, check out As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!

Whoa… So, this change basically means using chef binaries for smaller companies - especially startups - will be pretty much impossible.

An example: If I would like to continue to use chef (now chef infra) as well as habitat for ~5 nodes (as we currently do), this will be an annual fee of $35k. The pricing model also means one has to pay for 2 products and 95 nodes, that are not used at all.

Everyone who has gone through building a startup probably knows that putting aside an annual 35k is a very difficult thing within the first few years - maybe even longer. I am all in favour of paying a reasonable price for the software I use commercially, but I do not see any way of making that happen within those conditions.

I pretty much see two options here. We have a year while we can still use current versions of chef. Now during that time its either:

  • hoping for a free to use fork and trying to put some time aside to make that happen
  • switch over to one of the tools to automate infrastructure which are still free to use - and claim to be in the future

Honestly, I can not see how putting time aside for any of those two options will improve the quality of chefs OSS code. And I personally would rather invest the time I can put aside to improve and commit back to OSS I use.

I hope you also made changes to your sales policy. I have been in contact with the sales team a few times, since we were interested to use some of the commercial options. What we found was:

  • They are way to expensive to afford right now.
  • the sales team does not seem to have much interest in dealing with non enterprise companies.

I really do hope that I just overlooked or misread something, because this all seems a bit ridiculous if one is not part of the “enterprise” world.

Hello @Hummingbird,

I can understand how you would get that impression from the pricing page. What is not currently on that page is that we are absolutely offering unbundled pricing on all of our products (Chef Infra, Chef InSpec, Chef Habitat and Chef Automate). Each are available in quantities of 1 or more - you wouldn’t need to buy the entire bundle for ~5 nodes. Our marketing team is adding language to that effect to the pricing page shortly. If you would like to discuss a la carte pricing options I urge you to reach out to our sales team (I’m in Engineering and this definitely falls outside of my scope of influence).

If you are looking to contribute to our OSS projects, you may be able to apply for a contributor discount. Our SVP of Product and Engineering is putting together details on that program now and I will make sure they get posted to the forums, in Slack, and other places when they are available. There are other use cases you also might fall under - I posted details in a blog post published yesterday