OK, some thoughts on the @elastic announcement and their move away from #opensource and the @TheASF license. A thread... ok a #rant. #search #elasticsearch
First these views are not those of the WMF, my employer, who happens to run a very large Elasticsearch cluster. Moreover, I competed with Elastic for a number of years as co-founder/CTO of @lucidworks and am a #lucene and #solr committer, so yeah, I'm biased.
I have a huge amount of respect for what Shay and others at Elastic built. Right time, right place, right execution across the board, esp. in those early years. But this blog post (elastic.co/blog/why-licen…) is such typical corporate BS and so full of holes.
Kicking off...

"Our license change is aimed at preventing companies from taking our Elasticsearch and Kibana products and providing them directly as a service without collaborating with us." This line lands like a brick upside the head with me
Where was that attitude back when you started Elasticsearch, Shay? You could have easily collaborated with Solr back then to make it better, but you chose to go your own way. And you know what? That's all good, b/c Solr is Apache licensed and built into the Apache license is...
...the idea that you can do whatever the hell you want to do with it as long as you don't claim you wrote it and you don't call your thing the same thing as the Apache thing. You full well knew this when you choose the Apache license way back when and if you didn't, shame on you
I see this notion of wanting to force people to "collaborate" in a lot of "open" companies. What they really mean by "collaborate" is pay them. Again, though, this isn't how the Apache license works. GPL, maybe, ASL, no. You chose ASL then because it was and still is...
... considered to be one of the best licenses for widespread adoption because it is one of the most permissive. You knew this and Elastic's lawyers no doubt knew this. It worked out massively well for you and now you want to claw it back and disenfranchise all those people...
... who gave you so much because they trusted that license and their ability to use as they see fit, including fork?

"We think that Amazon’s behavior is inconsistent with the norms and values that are especially important in the open source ecosystem."
See above. When you put out software that is ASL, you are saying to the world do as you wish. There are no norms other than what is in the license. That is the beauty of it and as a creator choosing that license you should know that. You want all the upside w/ none of the risk
"But, but, but, Grant, Amazon is a big evil corp." Yep, it sucks. I see it every day just like you do. But let's be real, Elastic also owes a huge amount to AWS. One of the key things Elastic/Shay did early on was to recognize the rise of AWS and...
... focus on making #elasticsearch easy to run on it. It is probably my single biggest technical regret as CTO at Lucidworks that I didn't drive us harder on AWS compatibility back in the early ~2010s.

100s of thousands of instances of #elasticsearch have no doubt been...
...run on AWS, many, many of them, I'm sure, paying customers of @elastic. It's long (pre 2015) been known to many software vendors that AWS is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and yet Elastic continued on making the deal with the wolf and now is surprised that the wolf has...
...turned its ever hungry eyes on them?

Also, let's have some real talk here: I know from several reliable sources that AWS wanted to work with Elastic on a partnership. The Valley is a small place and #search is even smaller. Word gets around in competitive business circles.
Sure, maybe the deal wasn't to Elastic's liking, I don't know, but I can't help but wonder if we'd be having this same discussion had Elastic done the deal just like they did with Google years later.
"In the open source world, trademarks are considered a great and positive way to protect product reputation. Trademarks have been used and enforced broadly."

100% agree. Please, please, fight on here.
"When the service launched, imagine our surprise when the Amazon CTO tweeted that the service was released in collaboration with us. It was not. And over the years, we have heard repeatedly that this confusion persists." Agreed, NOT OK.
"what we consider to be ethically challenged behavior"

I have no doubt they are challenged. But, please, please, look me straight in the eye and tell me that none of your team did that around Splunk/Lucidworks/Solr in your rise?
You don't think I've heard the FUD and the outright lies your reps have said? I'm not saying I'm pure here, but gimme a break about casting stones on ethical behavior in your rise to IPO. "He who is w/o sin may cast the first stone..."
"We have differentiated with proprietary features, and now we see these feature designs serving as "inspiration" for Amazon"

I don't know the details here, but if they did copy proprietary code then yes, you have a legit issue. If it was truly inspiration, then too damn bad...
... that's called competition. Being in the software business means endlessly innovating. Companies who have to litigate to keep market share never last. Besides, are you saying you were never "inspired" by a Splunk feature, your main competitor?
"And to be clear, this change most likely has zero effect on you, our users"

I'll put my user hat on for a mo. It absolutely has an effect on us. We only run OSI compliant code in prod. SSPL is not OSI compliant. We haven't made a decision...
... but we are now forced to reevaluate our choices. Change will come at significant cost. I know this isn't a big deal to Elastic because we are a non-profit and we aren't a paying customer, but it is a big deal to us on both the values front and the technical front.
In the end, I'm sure all of this will die down, but let's be clear, this isn't about some pure notion of #opensource and its values. It has everything to do with what it always does: money. And that's OK, but you aren't getting any sympathy from me on the #opensource front. /rant

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