Docker Desktop is no longer free for enterprise users

Docker is changing its pricing plans, ending free Docker Desktop use for larger business customers and replacing its Free plan with a Personal plan.

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Docker will start forcing enterprise customers to sign up for a paid plan to use its popular Desktop application as of August 31, 2021, as part of a major subscription pricing shakeup from the container company.

Existing professional Docker Desktop customers who work for a company with more than 250 employees or have $10 million in revenue will have until January 31, 2022, to sign up to a paid subscription to keep using the application. It will remain free to use for smaller businesses, personal use, education, and “noncommercial open source projects,” which the company says accounts for about half of its current user base.

This move is part of a broad change to Docker’s licensing terms, as CEO Scott Johnston continues to plot a turnaround for the once-blazing hot container startup that sold its enterprise business to Mirantis in 2019. Under Johnston, the remains of the company has shifted to focus on serving developers building containerized applications, primarily through the Docker Engine container runtime, Hub image repository, and Desktop application, which is installed on 3.3 million computers at last count.

The new pricing plans are Personal, Pro, Team, and Business, which replace the old plans of Free, Pro, Team, and Large. The Personal plan remains free, while the Pro plan costs $5 a month for individuals and the Team plan costs $7 a month per user. The new Business plan starts at $21 per user per month.

The Pro and Team plans will remain much the same, while large business users—which is an enterprise plan in everything but name—will require a paid subscription for additional features like registry restrictions, single sign on, and secure software supply chain management.

Docker Personal customers will continue to get free access to Desktop, as well as Docker CLI, Docker Compose, Docker Engine, Docker Hub, and Docker Official Images.

“The updated license terms for Docker Desktop reflect our need to scale our business sustainably and enable us to continue providing value in all Docker subscriptions,” Johnston wrote in a blog post detailing the changes.

There have been no changes to the Docker Engine runtime, upstream open source Docker, or Moby projects.


Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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