If an open source project which had Apache 2.0 license, has now changed its license to non-commercial use license, can we use a previous release(when it was free for commercial use) of the project for commercial purpose in a production environment?

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Yes. If you have access to a copy of the software that was licensed under Apache-2.0, then you can continue to use that software under Apache-2.0 even if newer versions use a different license.

However, running an old version of a software might not be a good idea, since you will be cut off from bugfixes and security fixes. Since this is Open Source, you aren't forced to stick with the original author – you could perform maintenance tasks yourself, or hire a third party to make necessary changes. In many cases, it might be sensible to migrate to an entirely different software. Of course, for commercial users it often makes most economic sense to stick with the same software and pay for a new commercial license…

As a practical example of a software that was licensed away from Apache-2.0, consider Elasticsearch. When Elasticsearch changed its license to the non-Open-Source SSPL, Amazon continued development of the last Apache-2.0 covered version, essentially forking the project. For trademark reasons, that fork was renamed to OpenSearch.

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    Just because the OSI has an aggressive stance on what is and isn't open-source and says that SSPL isn't, it doesn't make that the case. Nobody elected them to be the gods of open-source. Almost everyone else understands that open-source means you can see and use the source. Which you can do under the SSPL. Placing restrictions on derivative works doesn't change that... That being said, this probably isn't the place for this debate, I just don't think you can state this as fact. Jul 18, 2022 at 18:34
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    @ScottishTapWater No, “open source” means more than “source available”, and per our help center on this site the term “open” refers to the OSI concept. Your position is fairly common, but only among people who do not know the history of the term “open source”. In a software context, it is merely a rebranding of the FSF “free software” concept (which, incidentally, has nothing to do with price). The Open Source Definition is just an edited version of the Debian Free Software Guidelines. If it helps you be happy with my answer, consider it to say “the non-FLOSS SSPL”.
    – amon
    Jul 18, 2022 at 19:29

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