Elasticsearch belongs to its 1,573 contributors, who retain their copyright, and granted Elastic a license to distribute their work without restriction. This is the loophole which Elastic exploited when they decided that Elasticsearch would no longer be open source, a loophole that they introduced with this very intention from the start. When you read their announcement, don’t be gaslit by their deceptive language: Elastic is no longer open source, and this is a move against open source. It is not “doubling down on open”. Elastic has spit in the face of every single one of 1,573 contributors, and everyone who gave Elastic their trust, loyalty, and patronage. This is an Oracle-level move.
Bryan Cantrill on OpenSolaris — YouTube
Many of those contributors were there because they believe in open source. Even those who work for Elastic as their employees, who had their copyright taken from them by their employer, work there because they believe in open source. I am frequently asked, “how can I get paid to work in open source”, and one of my answers is to recommend a job at companies like Elastic. People seek these companies out because they want to be involved in open source.
Elastic was not having their lunch eaten by Amazon. They cleared half a billion dollars last year. Don’t gaslight us. Don’t call your product “free & open”, deliberately misleading users by aping the language of the common phrase “free & open source”. You did this to get even more money, you did it to establish a monopoly over Elasticsearch, and you did it in spite of the trust your community gave you. Fuck you, Shay Banon.
I hope everyone reading will remember this as yet another lesson in the art of never signing a CLA. Open source is a community endeavour. It’s a committment to enter your work into the commons, and to allow the community to collectively benefit from it — even financially. Many people built careers and businesses out of Elasticsearch, independently of Elastic, and were entitled to do so under the social contract of open source. Including Amazon.
You don’t own it. Everyone owns it. This is why open source is valuable. If you want to play on the FOSS playing field, then you play by the goddamn rules. If you aren’t interested in that, then you’re not interested in FOSS. You’re free to distribute your software any way you like, including under proprietary or source-available license terms. But if you choose to make it FOSS, that means something, and you have the moral obligation to uphold.