Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), launched Open Distro for Elasticsearch to address the conflict between cloud operators, and the creators open-source projects whose code is used for cloud-for-pay services.
AWS was under fire when it announced January’s Amazon DocumentDB service with “MongoDB compatibleity.” Some observers were critical of MongoDB Inc. which created the database and offers it as a proprietary for-pay version. quoted MongoDB CEO Dev Ittycheria as saying that imitation is the best form of flattery. “But developers are smart enough to tell the difference between the genuine thing and a poor imitation.”
Yesterday’s announcement of Open Distro to Elasticsearch was a turning point in the controversy. AWS reacted to some open source maintainers with a post titled “Keeping Open Source Open- Open Distro For Elasticsearch.”
Adrian Cockcroft, AWS executive, complained about open-source maintainers who “distress the waters between open source community members and the proprietary codes they create to monetize open source.”
Cockcroft specifically complained about Elasticsearch which is used to analyze machine-generated data. It is available under an Apache 2.0 licence. Cockcroft claimed that the code of the project has become intertwined with proprietary code. Elastic maintains the project.
Cockcroft stated that there has been “unfortunately” significant interminglings of proprietary code into the codebase since June 2018. “An Apache 2.0 licensed download is still possible, but there is a lack of clarity about what customers who are interested in open source are getting and on what they can rely.”
Cockcroft stated that after receiving complaints from customers about the code changes, AWS decided to announce, along with partners Expedia Group, Netflix, its own open source offering, Open Distro for Elasticsearch. It is based on Elasticsearch code.
He compared the situation to AWS’s Corretto distribution OpenJDK to address customer concerns regarding Oracle’s Java licensing.
Cockcroft stated that, “as was the case for Java and OpenJDK”, our intention isn’t to fork Elasticsearch. We will be contributing back to the Apache 2.0-licensed Elasticsearch downstream project as we develop addon enhancements to base open-source software. “In the first release, we will include many new advanced but completely open source features including encryption-in-transit, user authentication, detailed auditing, granular roles-based access control, event monitoring and alerting, deep performance analysis, and SQL support.”
Industry observers quickly characterized the brouhaha within the context of the overall struggle between cloud platform and open source maintainers.
A Business Insider article said that Amazon’s relationship with open-source software is being scrutinized. Smaller companies like Redis Labs and Confluent have taken drastic steps to change their software licenses to prevent AWS and other large cloud providers from selling and taking its open-source software as a service. These new licenses have been criticized by some for what they perceive as undermining open source’s foundations. reported today that Elastic stock fell 5% after Amazon increased its open-source game.
Today, Shay Banon (CEO of Elastic) also fired back at AWS.
“Our brand has been misused, hijacked, misrepresented, and used many times.” Banon stated that companies have claimed they work in collaboration with Amazon, topically. “We didn’t let it distract from us, we continued to build great products and communities, that