Sphinx-Needs Enterprise is released under the BSL 1.1, the Business Source License. This means the usage is free for private projects, but commercial projects need to purchase a license.

To obtain a license key please visit or get in contact with useblocks, the company behind this extension.


A license key must be set via the config option needs_enterprise_license in the file of a Sphinx project.

The value of needs_enterprise_license must be a string in the format ABCDE-FGHIJ-KLMNO-PQRST.

If no license key is set for needs_enterprise_license, the private mode is activated and Sphinx-Needs Enterprise can be used for private, non commercial projects.

With no license key set, you will get some hints during startup and end of the build. Mainly telling you that private mode is active and that it would be nice to support Sphinx-Needs, if used for commercial projects.

This hints / log entries can be deactivated by setting needs_enterprise_license = "PRIVATE". In this case, only a one-liner will be printed that Sphinx-Needs Enterprise is licensed for private projects.


If True SNE will write warnings, if something went wrong with the license, e.g. no floating-license is available right now.

Default: False

License check workflow

As all licenses are Floating licenses, they can be used by multiple users, but not in parallel. The amount of parallel usage is defined by purchased keys per license.

The license key status gets checked during the initialisation of the Sphinx-Needs Enterprise extension.

If needs_enterprise_license is not set or set to PRIVATE, the private mode gets directly activated and no request to the external license server in the cloud is made.

If a license is set, then the license server of Cryptolens is asked to validate the license key.

During license validation, the current license gets blocked by the current machine for 5 minutes. If the build takes longer than 5 minutes, we renew the license block.

After the build has finished (and was not interrupted by the user or has crashed) the blocked license gets freed and is immediately available for the next machine.

If all available license keys are used, Sphinx-Needs Enterprise waits 5 seconds until the license server is asked again. After 3 unsuccessful attempts, the license is set into private mode for the current build and the build goes on. If this happens more than 2-3 times a day, please consider requesting additional license keys.


For sensitive company networks with no internet connection or other security concerns, a local license server can be provided with no extra costs.


Why is it not free for all?

Sphinx-Needs and related extensions are mostly used by process-driven companies. And so most of our users and contributors must follow company internal rules if they want to contribute to an Open-Source project. They also use Sphinx-Needs mostly during their daily work, so motivation to spend additional time on it after work is low.

This makes it hard for the Sphinx-Needs community to gain enough contributors, even if the amount of users is quite high and most of them are developers.

So we have created Sphinx-Needs Enterprise, which shall help to retrieve some kind of money back from companies, which earn or save money thanks to Sphinx-Needs and which have a special interest in the solutions provided by Sphinx-Needs Enterprise.

The money gets completely spent on development power for Sphinx-Needs and related extensions. And we hope that one day a full-time engineer can work on it thanks to the license fees.

Any chance of a discount?

Sure, we support startups, small companies, research and academic use cases.

Just get in touch with us at useblocks.

License Text

Business Source License 1.1


Licensor:             useblocks GmbH
Licensed Work:        sphinx-needs-extensions
                      The Licensed Work is (c) 2021 useblocks GmbH.
Additional Use Grant: You may make use of the Licensed Work, provided that you do
                      not use the Licensed Work for and inside commercial projects,
                      products or documentations.

Change Date:          2025-10-06

Change License:       MIT License

For information about alternative licensing arrangements for the Licensed Work,
please visit or get in contact with useblocks GmbH (


The Business Source License (this document, or the "License") is not an Open
Source license. However, the Licensed Work will eventually be made available
under an Open Source License, as stated in this License.

License text copyright (c) 2017 MariaDB Corporation Ab, All Rights Reserved.
"Business Source License" is a trademark of MariaDB Corporation Ab.


Business Source License 1.1


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works, redistribute, and make non-production use of the Licensed Work. The
Licensor may make an Additional Use Grant, above, permitting limited
production use.

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License, whichever comes first, the Licensor hereby grants you rights under
the terms of the Change License, and the rights granted in the paragraph
above terminate.

If your use of the Licensed Work does not comply with the requirements
currently in effect as described in this License, you must purchase a
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resellers, or you must refrain from using the Licensed Work.

All copies of the original and modified Licensed Work, and derivative works
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