In many ways, GitLab is a model for the open source community. Created from scratch, designed to solve a problem (how to provide a collaborative software platform for developers); GitLab fully reflects the thinking and spirit of the open source community.
But in the fast-changing software development world, as technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft strive to redefine how to develop and distribute software with unparalleled financial resources, open source companies face many challenges and threats, some of which are related to the survival of many projects.
Sid Sijbrandij, co-founder and CEO of GitLab, recently discussed the evolution of the open source community and discussed emerging threats such as the threat posed by the super cloud model and AWS's “fork and commoditization” (fork and commoditize) The threat posed by the strategy.
Indeed, Sijbrandij uses Elasticsearch as an example to show how Amazon is “forking and commoditizing” a project. Elasticsearch is an open core model with both proprietary and open source code. Sijbrandij said: “And Amazon’s approach is to fork and commercialize it. Amazon offers an alternative distribution; in this release, it takes a lot of features (such as encryption) that people pay for Elasticsearch, and then open-sources these features. It directly targets the value people pay to Elasticsearch, which I think is a very noteworthy trend; we will wait and see what happens. But it is clear that commercial open source companies are now vulnerable to these forks and are commercialized through super clouds. ”
Although AWS denies "fork" Elasticsearch, many people in the open source community have strongly criticized this. AWS is also accused of bringing OpenJDK for Java in a similar way and seeking to provide an alternative through Corretto.
Sijbrandij said that proprietary features used to be the lifeblood of commercial open source companies, and AWS now uses open source. He said: "I think this is good for its customers, good for users, good for open source, but how commercial open source software companies should cope with this situation will be worth waiting for. ”
At the same time, commercial open source software companies are still the regulators of the open source project, but are also doing business around open source. Most of them are often supported by VCs like us. Therefore, on the one hand they want to see open source software grow, on the other hand they also need to realise opportunities. ”
Elastic CEO Shay Banon also bombarded Amazon in the blog post, accusing the cloud giant of abusing Elastic's brand name, deliberately stealing its technology, and “disguising altruism or goodwill”.
Banon wrote in the blog post that this is not the first time Elasticsearch has been forked - the term forked means that open source projects are copied and then modified to create a brand new package with its own community and priorities. He wrote that several Chinese providers have done this, and now Amazon is doing the same.
The open source market experts explained to the outside media Business Insider that this matter is not general. Some people say that this does show how hard it is for weaker open source providers and giants such as Amazon. Others believe that Open up Distro for Elasticsearch shows that Amazon is trying to dispel the notion of not giving back to the open source community.
Amazon explained that it developed Open Distro for Elasticsearch purely because Elastic has stuffed a lot of proprietary code into the core Elasticsearch project. This puts AWS customers at risk because what is completely free to use open source and what is the company's proprietary code is not at a glance. Amazon hopes to provide customers with a trusted version of the software by developing their own version of Elasticsearch.
Banon mentioned in the blog post that others openly copy proprietary code, such as Amazon.
Banon claims: "Our commercial code has always been the subject of other people & lsquo; 觊觎, has been publicly copied by many providers, and even appeared in some distributions or forks, such as the version just developed by Amazon, but Unfortunately, there are some loopholes. We are currently working to build great products, solutions and communities that people really like. ”
Amazon believes that Open Distro is not a fork, it is designed to give enough code back to the main project to be maintained with the original Elasticsearch. This may be an important difference: if it is a fork, Open Distro may draw developers and end users from the original version of Elasticsearch to differentiate the community.
Amazon's forked code indicates that the cloud giant is threatened by open source software and the community, but if Amazon treats them as competitors, it is unlikely to get support.
Chris Aniszczyk, CTO and COO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, said he believes that it is good to see Amazon contributing additional code to the open source community, and Open Distro solves a real problem for AWS customers. He said that Microsoft was previously considered a public enemy of the open source community, but now Microsoft is strongly supporting the open source community, and Amazon is likely to do the same.
Luis Villa, co-founder of Tidelift, claims that Oracle previously forked the commercial version of the Linux operating program, but it is not dangerous for Purple Hat or other organizations that offer Linux native versions. Similarly, he does not believe that Open up Distro poses a major threat to Elastic.