pfSense Licensing changes

Seeing some changes to the license for pfSense plus for home/lab use.
@tomlawrence have you any more info?

I am aware, but I will make a video on the topic once I have all the details.


Where did you find this information?

pfSense Plus Home+Lab is no longer available as a free download. TAC Subscription now required for CE upgrades.

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Well… This looks like what many were predicting a few years ago.

The talk about closing the source off in the linked thread (CE will not get the new network stack) being the most ominous. Guess it would be a good idea to look at opnsense, at least to have an idea of what it can and can’t do, and how to make it do that. I’m guessing that the CE project will get abandoned once they shift enough code away from open source projects.

Another example of leveraging opensource to build a good project, then shutting it off once it achieves enough market share. How many times have we seen that happen in the last 20 years? Electronic Fuel Injection products, operating systems, scheduling software think long enough I could probably come up with a good handful.


I want to wait and see the final result of this before making any moves, but I am pretty disappointed with that email so far. I upgraded to plus shortly after it was available and I talked up pfsense so much and even switched a company of to using nothing but pfsense for all its locations (Netgate appliances).

The community knew this was coming from a mile away and here we are seeing it in action. I agree with @Greg_E that companies sweeten the pot and let you upgrade to their latest and greatest and then whenever they see how many people are using it they slam you requiring a subscription to continue to use it.

I think they know this wont sit well with their customer base, but they are willing to take a hit if they are able to make more money off of it. BTW I’m not against them making money off of it and I think they should. I don’t like the bait and switch method of going about it.


What a horrendous bait and switch. And also a huge F-U to their community. I tried to give Netgate the benefit of the doubt after their history of scummy business practices but here we are…again. So disappointed.


Classic example of a drug dealer business model.

Give it away free until the number of addicts (aka users) doubles, then charge what ever price you want.

From their site: pfSense Software Types

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Yeah they did this so sudden and fast they still have pages that contradict each other. I really don’t want to setup a new firewall from scratch, but I am look at opnsesne unfortunately.

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They’ve always known exactly how many and what version people are running… Every time it checks for an update, it sends stats back home. So I’d guess they know what they are doing, and probably doing exactly what a few of us jumped to when they changed things up the last time. Work is currently on a Fortigate hardware kick, I may need to investigate this even though I remember some of the “sins of the fathers” with Forti products.

I did just grab the latest opnsense and started looking through the docs a little, I’m going to have challenges with e2guardian to figure out. It also automatically expects the interfaces to line up a little differently (LAN on port 1, WAN on port2) so that might need to be changed. Still thinking about how I may approach this for testing, probably going to pull my home HP T620+ because it is kind of idle right now, or I might build up a miniPC I have and see where I get.

If you click on the Register Now button under Home or Lab use it takes you to a paid TAC license page.

TAC Lite is also getting a paid recurring extortion fee

How long before CE stops being maintained?

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I didn’t even realize that CE support ended last year according to their site. This is something else…


Lots of chatter on the NG forums. Write down your existing NDI(s)!

Interesting read from a few years ago:

Yes, I’m kind of “dog with a new bone” this morning. I think CE being opensource and freely available is going to be limited to only a couple more releases. And yes this may break the Apache 2 licensing that they are using as they close things down. But what made them “dominant” may also be their undoing. Just look at Youtube and how many big names have done extensive video on pfsense.

I think this may be the final straw for me, I can see where this is going, reflected back from earlier years, it was the “normal” or “common” progression for some time now. I may be getting bent out of shape about nothing, but I also think I’m going to be proven right in the long run. Time to invest in something different while I can still make use of what I’m currently running. Make a backup plan people, don’t get taken by surprise. The most recent CentOS change should be the clear sign that we all need to jump, now! More and more opensource end up closed and leave people in a bind.

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I’m already in the process of installing opnsense in a VM for testing. I don’t want to switch to something else because I was good at configuring pfsense because I personally used it for my home and it helped me professorially. This isn’t just going to hurt netgate. This will also hurt creators like @LTS_Tom and creating these videos. No one is going to watch a video about a product that no one is using anymore because of this.


I hate to go back to the perpetual beta DD-WRT or OpenWrt on consumer [redacted] routers.

Just waiting for iXsystems to pull something similar. :frowning_face:

If you look at it a different way, this is good for Tom… He can make a bunch of new videos on a different product, and they will get watched. Not good for the former company, though mostly those are hardware based systems that I assume (probably incorrectly) come with some sort of software updates if nothing else.

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This is true, but I have heard Tom say many times they he wont review something because he or his business doesn’t use it. Which I understand completely, but I don’t think he will branch out much at least on the firewall front. I am curious to know what his thoughts are on this topic and that will determine his videos going forward.

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Migration to OPNsense in progress…

“So long and thanks for all the fish” - :dolphin:, HHGTTG

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Guessing most people here know this, but Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy reference. I’d suggest the book, though the original TV version was entertaining.

(edit), I just did a search on Youtube for opnsense, it does not seem to have the depth of content on it, it might ab opportunity here for an established channel to do a full walk through, Ventoy boot to operational. Then follow up with some of the extras that people will want/need. My preference is real hardware, I still don’t like virtual machines for something that is supposed to keep the gates locked.