Skip to main content

FAQ: Snowplow Personal & Academic License (SPAL)


This FAQ is not a substitute for reading the license text.

What is the SPAL?

The SPAL is a license from Snowplow Analytics, designed for products and components where we want to make the source available for non-commercial use. Some of our code is available under open source licenses.

Which license is the SPAL based on?

The SPAL is based on the PolyForm Noncommercial License.

I have commercially licensed software from Snowplow. Does this impact me?

No. If you have entered into a separate commercial licensing with Snowplow, for example, buying a Snowplow BDP commercial product, then the commercial license terms you have agreed to will continue to govern your use of the software.

Why make the source available?

First, at Snowplow, we have a design principle that all data processing must be ‘glass box’: it must be possible as a data practitioner running Snowplow to understand exactly how the data processing affects output from end to end.

Second, we want to encourage the use of this code as a teaching aid for students.

Third, we want to encourage data practitioners to try out this code for personal uses without needing a commercial relationship with us.

I am a student or just tinkering, can I run this code?

Yes, the SPAL encourages usage of the code by educators and students for educational purposes. If you are a data practitioner seeking to use this personally, for example on a blog or hobby project, that is also fine.

I am an educational institution wanting to use this in the running of my business, can I?

No. That is a commercial use. Please contact us for commercial licensing, see below.

Can my company or I provide support to others who are running software under the SPAL?

This license is not intended to stop you from providing professional services, such as development, installation, or support, to others who are running software under the SPAL. Clients can engage you to do this work for them as long as they themselves are complying with our licenses.

Why don’t you release the code under an open source license?

We need to run a sustainable business. Snowplow’s open source software development is funded by our commercial efforts, which include charging to use code released under the SPAL for commercial uses.

Is Snowplow moving away from open source?

No, we do not plan to wholly move away from open source, but like many companies today, we need to adjust our mix of open source and source-available offerings, to ensure we can continue to have the revenue and resources to support our open source community users.

We remain committed to the transparent processing of data, with the source code available for users to inspect and run for themselves as part of our “glass box” philosophy. Our source code will continue to be made available under one of the following: the Apache 2.0 license, the Snowplow Community License, the Snowplow Limited Use License Agreement, or the Snowplow Personal and Academic License. (See the licensing overview.)

That means our software will remain transparent and available.

Can I contribute to this software?

Yes, we welcome community contributions. However, you will need to agree to our Contribution License Agreement terms.

As a commercial user, can I make edits to code?

The SPAL does not allow commercial use. However, if you want to use the code for commercial purposes, we can discuss a license that will allow you to use and modify the code for your commercial purposes.

I want to use this code commercially, what is the next step?

Please email us at

Please email us at

Was this page helpful?