An Open Source License War Between Cloud Providers and Open Source Software Company
Elastic Search is a powerful search engine that was first released in 2010. It quickly gained popularity due to its ability to scale and handle large amounts of data. In 2015, Elastic Search was rebranded as the Elastic Stack, which includes additional tools such as Logstash, Beats, and Kibana.
In the CAP theorem, ElasticSearch falls into the CP category, which means that it prioritizes consistency and partition tolerance over availability. This means that in the event of a network partition or failure, ElasticSearch will choose to maintain consistency of data over providing immediate availability, which can cause some nodes to become unavailable until the partition is resolved.
Over the years, Elastic Search has undergone several changes, including changes to its license. Here is a brief history of those changes:
- 2014: Elastic Search was released under the Apache License, Version 2.0, which is a permissive open-source license.
- 2018: Elastic NV, the company behind Elastic Search, introduced the Elastic License, which included additional restrictions on the use and distribution of the software.
- In 2021, Elastic NV announced that it would be changing the license of Elastic Search and the Elastic Stack to a new license called the Server Side Public License (SSPL). The SSPL is similar to the license introduced by MongoDB in 2019, and it includes additional restrictions on the use of the software by cloud providers.
This change in license led to concerns within the open-source community, with some arguing that it goes against the principles of open-source software. In response, a group of developers forked Elastic Search and created a new project called Open Search. Open Search is a community-driven, open-source fork of Elastic Search that is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.
- In 2019, MongoDB, a popular document database, made a similar change to its license, introducing the Server Side Public License (SSPL). This license added restrictions on the use of the software for cloud providers that did not contribute back to the open source project.
- In 2020, Neo4j, a graph database, also introduced a new license called the Commons Clause. This license added restrictions on the commercial use of the software.
- In 2020, CockroachDB, a distributed SQL database, changed its license from the open-source Apache License 2.0 to a new license called the CockroachDB Community License. The new license restricts cloud providers from offering CockroachDB as a service without purchasing a commercial license.
- In 2020, Confluent, the company behind the popular Apache Kafka messaging system, changed the license of its Confluent Platform from the open-source Apache License to the Confluent Community License. The new license adds restrictions on how the software can be used by cloud providers, requiring them to purchase a commercial license to offer Kafka as a service.
Because Cloud Provider will be charged under new lincese.
AWS played a key role in the license changes of Elastic Search, Open Search, MongoDB, and Neo4j. AWS is one of the largest users of Elastic Search and has contributed significantly to its development. In response to Elastic NV’s license change, AWS announced that it would be forking Elastic Search and creating its own version of the software, called OpenSearch.
OpenSearch is a community-driven, open-source project that is fully compatible with Elastic Search. It includes several new features and improvements that are not available in Elastic Search, such as new security and governance features.
In addition to OpenSearch, AWS also offers several other open-source database services, including Amazon DocumentDB, a fully managed document database that is compatible with MongoDB, and Amazon Neptune, a fully managed graph database that is compatible with Neo4j.
The fork of Elastic Search into Open Search highlights the ongoing debate around the use and distribution of open-source software. While open-source software is designed to be freely available and distributable, companies that invest in its development may feel that they are not getting a fair return on their investment. This has led to the introduction of new licenses that seek to address this issue.
Elastic Search and Open Search have undergone several changes over the years, including changes to their licenses. The recent change in license from Elastic NV has led to the creation of OpenSearch, a community-driven, open-source fork of Elastic Search. MongoDB and Neo4j have also introduced new licenses that restrict the use and distribution of their software. AWS played a key role in the forking of these open source databases, and continues to offer several open-source database services to its customers. The ongoing debate around the use and distribution of open-source software highlights the challenges of balancing the needs of developers, users, and companies that invest in open-source software. While open-source software has enabled incredible innovation and collaboration, it is also important to ensure that companies that invest in open-source projects are able to sustain their investments and receive a return on their investment.
As the use of open-source software continues to grow, it is likely that we will continue to see debates and discussions around the best ways to support the development and distribution of open-source software. While there may be challenges and disagreements along the way, it is clear that open-source software will continue to play a key role in driving innovation and collaboration in the technology industry.