Elastic changes software license to better protect Elasticsearch and Kibana

Elastic is the latest company to change its software licensing model to protect its open source code from cloud providers. The company announced its Apache 2.0 licensed source code in Elasticsearch, and Kibana will now upgrade to dual licensing under Server Side Public License (SSPL) and Elastic License. This means that users can choose the license that works best for them and can gain access to use, modify, redistribute and collaborate on code.

Elastic Founder and CEO Shay Banon explained that while this change will most likely require little or no effort for his user community, cloud customers, or self-managed software customers, he said the change was necessary.

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“So why the change? AWS and Amazon Elasticsearch Service. They’re doing things that we don’t think are OK since 2015 and it’s only gotten worse. If we don’t stand up to them now, as a successful and market-leading company, who will? Banon wrote in a Publish. “Our license change is intended to prevent companies from taking our Elasticsearch and Kibana products and providing them directly as a service without working with us. Our license change comes after years of what we believe to be misleading Amazon / AWS and confusing the community – enough is enough. “

Elastic joins a number of other companies that have recently had similar feelings towards Amazon. The SSPL Elastic is moving to was created in 2018 by database company MongoDB. “This should be a time of incredible opportunity for open source. The revenue generated by a service can be an excellent source of funding for open source projects, much higher than what has been historically available. The reality, however, is that once an open source project gets interesting, it’s too easy for big cloud providers to capture most of the value while contributing little or nothing to the community, ”Eliot Horowitz, CTO and co-founder of MongoDB, wrote at the time of its announcement.

According to Banon, SSPL will provide users with free and unrestricted use and modification as long as they do not provide the product as a service. Companies that provide software as a service must publish their business software as free and open source code under the SSPL.

The Elastic license was also first introduced in 2018 when the company changed its default distribution to include all features. Banon explained that this has allowed users to continue to interact with customers in an open manner and create free features without other companies like Amazon benefiting from it without contributing in return.

“Although each open source company has taken a slightly different approach to solving this problem, they have generally changed their open source license to protect their investment in free software, while trying to preserve the principles of openness, transparency and collaboration. Likewise, we are taking the next natural step by making a targeted change to the way we license our source code, ”Banon wrote.

License changes should begin with the next release of Elastic 7.11. More information is available here.