first of all: Yes, you can of course keep using RapidMiner 5 legally. You can even still download it from our Website if you want.
Second: We have changed our licensing model to a so called 'business source' model. That means that older versions of the software are available under an OSI-certified open source license while the latest version, although still open source for most parts of the product, will only be available as a trial version or under an commercial license.
I am a professor at a Business School. I teach Data Mining & Business Intelligence. I have been using your software in my class for the past 4 years. My next course is in January and I will use version 5.3. My dilemma is what to do next.
Do you recommend me to explore alternatives (Knime, Orange, R) or do you plan to make your software free for academic institutions (similar to what Revolution Analytics & Tableau have done recently)? Students today are not able to purchase a $1,000 package, but 'tomorrow' they will be the company managers who can afford it.
I'm in a similar position ( INS*** ) and comment that USD 5,000,000 not only changes the logo ( more shapes up front than underlying ), it also shows the frailty of "Open Source", and amuses this summer's wheeze of getting user votes to show how popular Rapidminer is at KDNuggets ( at these prices do we expect next year's result to equate?).
Nevertheless, according to the license, there is almost nothing to stop someone else developing RapidMiner and doing what has already been done again! This ruse smells like privatisation of the public domain, "stand on the shoulders of giants" etc...
This was a different place when "community" was stressed ~ the suits have it now, as well as its future.
The answer is actually very simple. You have basically two options to continue using RapidMiner for free:
You continue to work with the 5 series available on our new community page http://community.rapidminer.com
You continue with the free "Starter Edition" of RapidMiner 6. After the trial period of 14 days ends, RM 6 will automatically revert to this Starter edition. The same is true when you enter no valid license for RM 6 - you can still use RM 6 right now, can't you?
In summary: No existing user of RapidMiner is losing anything but is getting more options. Just as before with our Enterprise Editions, we are offering an improved version of RapidMiner to our customers only. I am sure that our community members also support this idea since it is at the end our customer base who invest most into the future development of the RapidMiner platform. Actually, the situation is even better than before since now not only our customers can make use of the extended feature set but all users within the community - if they can live with the limited data sizes and data sources of the Starter Edition. Those limits are perfectly fine for evaluation purposes and most academic scenarios we have encountered in the past ourself.
For our acadmic users, however, we will in the future also a special offer for the Professional edition of RapidMiner - stay tuned...
And finally, our guarantee is that always the current version will be completely opened up with the release of a new new major version, i.e. as soon as RM 7 is released, the 6 series will then be released as the new community edition and so on. This is the basic idea of the Business Source model which is even superior to our previous Open Core model since now all users will truly benefit from the opened source of the complete platform over time.
We are convinced that this flexibility in the choice of editions and versions together with the improved platform itself deliver the biggest value to both our user community as well as to our customer base.
We will definitely also work on our web page to explain the different options better in the future so thanks for pointing out that there has been some misunderstanding.
I assume that a lot of people looked very encouraged into the list of differences untill the "no database import" showed up. That one really hurts! Two questions: - Where can we get the exact conditions for the various product flavours? This would be needed to better understand if this is a viable option for certain deploys - Is there any other possibility to get DB support (import and export) into the starters edition? OpenSW DB would be fine for most! I understand that as it is not OpenSW (Rapidminer 6), adding some modules would probably be technically feasible, but not quite recommendable?
Thank you for the good work!
BTW: we started recently developing modules for Rapidminer (5) (first one already submitted). We would have no problem in giving full rights of our development to Rapid-I. So, not sure if Rapid-I would be interested in this, and if this fits with the new licensing scheme.... (first operator seems to have been incorporated already in version 6, so that one would not really help you, but we are preparing others...)