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Open Source / Tech Culture

Context: Amazon’s Elastic Distribution, the Business of Quantum Computing

Mar 22nd, 2019 5:00pm by
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Context: Amazon’s Elastic Distribution, The Business of Quantum Computing

Welcome to the new edition of The New Stack Context podcast. This week, we spoke with Sharone Revah Zitzman, developer relations at AppsFlyer and author of the contributed piece we ran last week titled “What the Fork, Amazon?”

In the last episode, we talked about Amazon Web Services’ new distribution of the open source Elasticsearch which has stirred up much debate and angst in the open source community.

The move was necessary, AWS’ Adrian Cockcroft argued in a blog post, in that elastic has intermingled proprietary code with the open source code that makes up the core of Elastic. He writes that with Elastic:

Neither release notes nor documentation make it clear what is open source and what is proprietary. Enterprise developers may inadvertently apply a fix or enhancement to the proprietary source code. This is hard to track and govern, could lead to breach of license, and could lead to immediate termination of rights (for both proprietary free and paid). Individual code commits also increasingly contain both open source and proprietary code, making it very difficult for developers who want to only work on open source to contribute and participate.

In particular, AWS releases open source components of Elastic providing functionalities that were previously only handled by Elastic’s proprietary code, namely security, event monitoring and alerting.

AWS made a similar move last year with the Java OpenJDK, releasing its own version, called Correto, that offered long-term support beyond Oracle’s own. Nonetheless, many people took issue with this approach, charging that AWS might put Elastic out of business, unintentionally or otherwise.

In her post, Zitzman argued in The New Stack that AWS, by starting its own Elastic distro was engaging in “cynical and hostile corporate behavior,” namely that of hijacking an open source project and community for its own benefit, leaving little to the maintainers of the project.  Zitzman argued that unlike other tech giants — IBM, Google, Microsoft — that have shown a commitment to devoting engineering hours to help maintain open source projects they are using, AWS has shown less regard for the well-being of the open source technologies that it has hijacked for its own commercial offerings.

Then in the second half of the show, we will review our top podcast and stories for the week, and discuss the first quantum computing conference geared towards commercialization, Inside Quantum Technology, that was held in Boston this week.

Like the blockchain, quantum computing is one of those potentially revolutionary technologies that has not, as-of-yet, changed the world in any major fundamental way, though it promises solutions that may be possible if not readily feasible. That may be changing with recent advances in hardware, though much work still needs to be done in building a workforce of quantum computer programmers.

The New Stack editorial director Libby Clark hosted this show, with help from TNS founder Alex Williams and TNS managing editor Joab Jackson.

Other Stories from This Episode

  • 5 Questions Database Admins Should Ask About Compliance Regulations: In this contributed piece from IT management software giant Quest, John Pocknell, senior solutions product marketing manager John Pocknell offers database administrators need to think about for to have their data meet compliance requirements such as HIPAA, PCI or the dreaded GDPR — in other words to ensure the data they are responsible for is properly managed, secure, and not sensitive to threat vectors in light of evolving compliance requirements.
  • Grafana Now Offers Flux as a Native Query Language: As part of a sweeping set of upgrades for version 6.0, the open source Grafana analytics visualization software now supports the Flux query language for time-series data, initially as a plugin, but soon as the default query language for the InfluxDB time-series database.
  • Develop a Forward-Thinking Interface to Streamline the User Experience: In this contributed piece, Toby Coleridge, Vice President of Product at HiveIO, discusses how to build a usable user interface for data center administrators and ops folks. The company is drawing lessons from its recently updated hyperconverged software package (HiveIO 7.2) which included a fresh user interface, with more visualizations, and the usual rows of menus being replaced with a more intuitive reactive approach.
  • How Service Meshes Are a Missing Link for Microservices: Idit Levine, founder and CEO of, is interviewed in this podcast on the subject of service meshes. It is now widely assumed that making the shift to microservices and cloud native environments will only lead to great things — and yet. As the rush to the cloud builds in momentum, many organizations are rudely waking up to more than a few difficulties along the way, such as how Kubernetes and serverless platforms on offer often remain a work in progress.

Oracle and InfluxData are sponsors of The New Stack.


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