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I've been designing an interesting new project that is based on a graph database: to put it simply, what I'm going to sell (SaaS) is an API with access to a graph database, which is implemented in neo4j.

Given neo4j's license(s) - which I'm totally confused about to be perfectly honest - am I allowed to do that, using the "Community" Edition? Or should I get an Enterprise license? (If this is the case, then given the extraordinarily high costs, I would have to find another graph database engine).

Any help will be appreciated.


(UPDATE) As a sidenote, I've contacted the official Neo4J support and almost a week later, no answer whatsoever.

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    What license is neo4j's Community Edition under? If it's a standard OSS license we can probably answer this, if it's a custom license you need to ask an actual lawyer. Dec 12, 2020 at 15:43

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The Community edition is available under a GPL license, which allows use for any purpose including commercial use. And if you don't give anyone else a copy of Neo4j and don't modify the software, the GPL doesn't impose any further obligations on you. So use in a SaaS setting seems perfectly fine.

Of course, you might find that the feature set of the Community edition is insufficient for your use case, in particular with regards to security and backup features and development tooling. Obviously, Neo4j the company is interested in up-selling you to their enterprise edition or to their own database as a service offering. This is the usual open-core business model.

Currently, no parts of Neo4j are under the AGPL license. Prior to version 3.5 the source code for the enterprise edition was available under an open source license, but they stopped that practice in 2018.

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