Following license changes at MongoDB and Redis aimed at preventing cloud service providers who do not contribute to the open source community from using their projects, Elastic has also implemented an update its licensing Terms.

Instead of distributing source code under the Apache 2.0 license, Elastic offers customers the choice between the self-brewed Elastic license and the Server Side Public License (SSPL). The change will take effect in the upcoming version 7.11, but will have little impact on current users of the free standard distribution, as Shay Banon, CEO of Elastic, wrote in a statement.

“If you are one of our customers, either in the Elastic Cloud or on site, nothing changes. If you’ve downloaded and used our standard distribution, it’s still free and open under the same Elastic license. If you’ve contributed to Elasticsearch or Kibana (thanks!), Nothing will change for you either. ”

SSPL is the license that MongoDB developed in 2018 to protect against cloud service providers who have used the company’s code without actually contributing to the project. The license allows unrestricted use, but requires service providers to open changes and the code required to make the program in question available as an external service (Internal or subsidiary use is fine) under the same license.

Often times, cloud providers using the code are frustrating as it includes “without limitation, management software, user interfaces, application program interfaces, automation software, monitoring software, backup software, storage software, and hosting software that a user can run an instance of the service that includes the service source code.” used. ”

The decision for the SSPL is probably due to the fact that Elastic is in the same boat as MongoDB: Cloud providers offer their products as a service and, in the case of AWS, compete directly with MongoDB’s own services.

According to Banon, this situation “distracts money that would have been reinvested in the product and harms users and the community.”

For those not particularly interested in SSPL, there is always an alternative to the Elastic License, which many commercial users may already be familiar with.

Similar to SSPL, however, the license is not approved by the Open Source Initiative, which is why Elastic has labeled Elasticsearch and Kibana as “available from source” as opposed to Open Source. This could invalidate the “nothing changes” statement for open source contributors, which is somewhat ironic since one goal of the move is to keep the community from splintering.

AWS took a step in 2019 start the open distro for Elasticsearch. The distro was sold to help those confused by Elastic’s practice of providing code that included commercial functionality, even though only the free ones were enabled by default in the APLv2 licensed version. While this doesn’t seem to have gained massive adoption yet, AWS’s promise to fully support the project could attract some additional users and contributors.

Initial reactions were split between those who showed understanding for the company and those who were struggling with the effects of the move. After all, SSPL is often considered unfree which is why MongoDB (which uses it) was used away from a variety of open source software, not to mention Linux distributions like Debian and RHEL. As a result, some members of the Elastic team were busy visiting issue trackers and forums to explain the new licensing and reassuring Some teams about use cases.

Another source of irritation among users was the promise that Elastic made three years ago to “never”Change the license of an Apache 2.0 code.
The company tried to justify its latest move on the SSPL by explaining the changed circumstances since 2018, which in addition to watching AWS’s gimmicks, also included a Elastic itself alleges that another company has infringed its copyright in 2019.