[Beowulf] Anaconda distribution sowing FUD to generate sales?

Prentice Bisbal pbisbal at pppl.gov
Wed Apr 13 16:11:08 UTC 2022

Recently, one of my users go this e-mail from a commercial account rep 
at anaconda.com:

> Hi [User]
> I'm reaching out because I've noticed we are one of [Employer's 
> Name]'s preferred tools and also to offer guidance in navigating our 
> new Anaconda Terms of Service, as there are changes for the commercial 
> use of Anaconda. Based off my research, [Employer's Name]is mirroring 
> quite a few packages in the past few months.
> We remain deeply dedicated to OSS, and that cost is funded by the long 
> tail of our enterprise products and users. In short, we changed our 
> Terms of Service to prohibit commercial use of our Public Facing Repo 
> (repo.anaconda.com <http://repo.anaconda.com>) channel without a paid 
> license.
> We'd like to discuss how your organization can remain compliant and 
> discuss some options moving forward.
> Are you or someone in your IT department available to chat? Book time 
> with me [link to online scheduling service 
> removed]<https://anaconda.getoutreach.com/c/Cody_Foxwell>
> Cheers,
> [salesperson's name]
Have any of you received an e-mail like this?

Since I work at an academic, government research site, I don't think we 
fall into the commercial category, so I'm pretty sure we're safe, but I 
still don't like this attempt to monetize open-source software like 
this. I'm not an open-source zealot like RMS, but I don't like when 
people take open-source software, try to monetize it it like this.

What's interesting is their approach here - they are not trying to keep 
open-source software from your directly - they're saying you can't use 
their *repo* to get that software. So you can have your open-source 
software, but to get it from the dealer to your house, you need to pay a 
toll to use the roads.

I don't like this because many people now rely on conda, and conda only 
has value because of the repo. If people using conda knew that this 
might be a problem, perhaps they would have stuck with the python.org 
distribution of Python and pip.

The other think I don't like, is that you can't find any of this 
information on the anaconda.com website. Even after knowing these terms 
and conditions applied, I couldn't find any warnings about this on the 
product pages for the Anaconda Distribution. It's as if they're 
deliberately hiding this information from potential downloaders of 
Anaconda. I only found it by going directly to 
https://repo.anaconda.com, where they do have links prominently displayed.

This seems like a trap to me. You download anaconda, completely unaware 
of these terms and conditions, and then use conda to install the 
packages you need, unknowingly violating their license..

Your thoughts?


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