Top 5 things to know about open source and the cloud

Cloud software hinders open source software companies from making a profit. Tom Merritt explains the five things you need to know about open source and the cloud.

Top 5 things to know about open source and the cloud
Cloud software hinders open source software companies from making a profit. Tom Merritt explains the five things you need to know about open source and the cloud.

Open source software has revolutionized the way companies work, but cloud software such as AWS makes it more difficult for open source software companies to make money. If you can get cloud services based on open source software, you don’t have to pay a company for the services surrounding that software. Here are five things you need to know about open source and the cloud.

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  1. Open source licenses are about preventing code from being locked. Open source licenses are based on the idea that if you use open source code, you cannot make it ownership. This is to ensure that companies share the work on the code with anyone who wants to use the code.
  2. Support contracts are not always sufficient. Although Red Hat has built a successful company out of support offers, other companies have found the idea of ​​offering services with open source software more lucrative. But AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure have eaten at things like that.
  3. Open source licenses had not thought of the cloud. A cloud service does not create a new project with open source code – it only implements it for customers as part of the service. This is not a violation of the license, because the idea was that you could build a business using open source software.
  4. Some open source software providers turn to their own licenses. MongoDB has created the Server Side Public License, which says that you cannot build a service that competes with the company’s MongoDB Atlas software as a service – although they have not implemented the license. Redis Labs has in fact placed some modules under a license that limits what kind of applications can be built with them.
  5. If you go into ownership, forks will arise. XFree86 was replaced by X.Org and OpenOffice by LibreOffice. These modules that Redis has placed under a restrictive license are now replicated as GoodFORM, starting with the code before Redis changed the license.

Ultimately, it’s about how these companies and the open source community adapt to change. Redis Labs and MongoDB are both healthy, successful companies, but the motivation behind open source changed for them and they had to adapt. Because cloud services continue to grow enormously, this can also affect other systems. Like nothing else, it is interesting to see that open source software principles seem to hold on to what is an important test for them.

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