Community perspectives on Elastic vs AWS
This week we’re talking about the recent falling out between Elastic and AWS around the relicensing of Elasticsearch and Kibana. Like many in the community, we have been watching this very closely.
Here’s the tldr for context. On January 21st, Elastic posted a blog post sharing their concerns with Amazon/AWS misleading and confusing the community, saying “They have been doing things that we think are just NOT OK since 2015 and it has only gotten worse.” This lead them to relicense Elasticsearch and Kibana with a dual license, a proprietary license and the Sever Side Public License (SSPL). AWS responded two days later stating that they are “stepping up for a truly open source Elasticsearch,” and shared their plans to create and maintain forks of Elasticsearch and Kibana based on the latest ALv2-licensed codebases.
There’s a ton of detail and nuance beneath the surface, so we invited a handful of folks on the show to share their perspective. On today’s show you’ll hear from: Adam Jacob (co-founder and board member of Chef), Heather Meeker (open-source lawyer and the author of the SSPL license), Manish Jain (founder and CTO at Dgraph Labs), Paul Dix (co-founder and CTO at InfluxDB), VM (Vicky) Brasseur (open source & free software business strategist), and Markus Stenqvist (everyday web dev from Sweden).
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- Adam Jacob – Twitter, GitHub, Website
- Heather Meeker – Twitter, Website
- Manish R Jain – Twitter, GitHub, Website
- Paul Dix – Twitter, GitHub
- VM (Vicky) Brasseur – Twitter, GitHub, Website
- Markus Stenqvist –
- Adam Stacoviak – Twitter, GitHub, LinkedIn, Website
- Jerod Santo – Twitter, GitHub
Notes and Links
- Amazon: NOT OK - why we had to change Elastic licensing
- Stepping up for a truly open source Elasticsearch
- The SSPL is Not an Open Source License
- MongoDB transitions to Server Side Public License (SSPL) for MongoDB Community Server
- Elastic Changes Licences for Elasticsearch and Kibana: AWS Forks Both
- Truly Doubling Down on Open Source
- Read the Open Source Definition OR the annotated version of the Open Source Definition
- Keeping Open Source Open – Open Distro for Elasticsearch
- The Commons Clause
- Initial thoughts on MongoDB’s new Server Side Public License
- SSPL Re-Takes the Stage in 2021
- Server Side Public License (SSPL)
- SSPL approval process on the OSI mailing list
- February 2019 License-Review Summary
- The Changelog #353: The war for the soul of open source with Adam Jacob
- The Changelog #424: You can FINALLY use JSHint for evil with Mike Pennisi
- The Changelog #371: Re-licensing Sentry with David Cramer
- The Changelog #322: There and back again (Dgraph’s tale) with Manish Jain
Adam Jacob is the co-founder and board member of Chef and talked with us back in July 2019 on The Changelog #353 about “The war for the soul of open source,” and the title of the episode could not have been more prophetic.
We pulled a segment from that episode where we talk about business models and how they correlate to open source business models, and how from Adam’s perspective…the AWS’s, the Azure’s and the Google Clouds of the world provide a humongous marketing funnel for open source businesses like Mongo and Elastic.
At the time of this conversation with Adam, Elastic was worth 1.5 Billion dollars and “killing it.”
Heather Meeker is a well respected open-source lawyer and specialist in open source software licensing and strategy. She wrote the book Open Source for Business which serves as a practical guide to open source software licensing. She is also well known for her work on the Commons Claus license which gained a lot of attention with the dust up it caused when Redis Labs’ transitioned their modules to use the license. Side note here, Redis Labs’ has since transitioned away from the Apache2 plus Commons Clause licensing due to undesired confusion in favor of the Redis Source Available License (RSAL) — which we might cover in a future episode as we chase this saga of not-quite-open source yet permissive licensing for commercial open source companies.
The whole reason for this conversation with Heather is because she’s the open-source lawyer who wrote The Server Side Public License (SSPL). We wanted to understand the design and intention of the license.
- SSPL Re-Takes the Stage in 2021
- In this Tweet, Heather Meeker said “Congratulations to Elastic on its new license!”
Manish Jain is the founder and CTO at Dgraph Labs. We talked with Manish a little over two years ago on episode #322 about their challenges with licensing and re-licensing Dgraph — so, we thought it would fitting to get him on this episode.
Paul Dix is the co-founder and CTO at InfluxData and shared his perspective on running an open source business, how InfluxData is innovating their commercial offering while having a permissive MIT licensed version of InfluxDB. Paul also shares his thoughts on the stand off between Elastic and AWS and why he’s long on Mongo and short on Elastic.
Paul shared a few links to Twitter threads he started:
VM (Vicky) Brasseur
VM (Vicky) Brasseur has been in free and open source software for 30 years and has been working with startups and enterprises doing open source & free software business strategy for quite a while now. We used Vicky’s post titled “Elasticsearch and Kibana are now business risks” as a reference on this situation. We even quoted her post a few times in our conversation on this episode with with Heather Meeker.
Markus Stenqvist self-describes as “a normal everyday web developer from Sweden.”