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And just like that, Amazon Web Services forked Elasticsearch, Kibana. Was that part of the plan, Elastic?

Fork that noise, says cloud giant amid licensing drama


Amazon Web Services has responded to Elastic adopting more-restrictive software licenses by simply forking the latter's Elasticsearch and Kibana products with an open-source license.

This basically means developers have a choice: use software developed by Elastic that has a somewhat limited license, or an open-source offshoot developed by a gigantic technology company that also offers it as the Amazon Elasticsearch Service in the cloud.

Last week, Elastic announced it will drop the open-source Apache 2.0 licence for its ElasticSearch and Kibana projects, and instead use the non-open-source Server Side Public License (SSPL) and Elastic licence in a dual-licensing approach. It said it may add provisions to have the code revert to the Apache 2.0 licence after a period of up to five years.

For those who don't know: ElasticSearch is a database manager designed for enterprise search, and Kibana is a data visualisation tool.

Give 'em SSPL, says Elastic. No thanks, say critics: 'Doubling down on open' not open at all

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Defending the change, Elastic CEO and co-founder Shay Banon said he wanted to "prevent companies from taking our Elasticsearch and Kibana products and providing them directly as a service without collaborating with us." And by companies, the chief exec means Amazon Web Services. The license overhaul would have strong-armed the web giant into sharing any internal improvements made to the software when it is provided as a cloud service.

"The SSPL allows free and unrestricted use, as well as modification, with the simple requirement that if you provide the product as a service, you must also publicly release any modifications as well as the source code of your management layers under SSPL," Banon wrote.

Well, AWS has responded by instead detonating an atomic bomb under Elastic, and forking the Apache-licensed code as it stands right now to itself maintain separately. In a missive on Thursday, Amazonians Carl Meadows, Jules Graybill, Kyle Davis, and Mehul Shah wrote:

Last week, Elastic announced they will change their software licensing strategy, and will not release new versions of Elasticsearch and Kibana under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (ALv2). Instead, new versions of the software will be offered under the Elastic License (which limits how it can be used) or the Server Side Public License (which has requirements that make it unacceptable to many in the open source community). This means that Elasticsearch and Kibana will no longer be open source software.

In order to ensure open source versions of both packages remain available and well supported, including in our own offerings, we are announcing today that AWS will step up to create and maintain a ALv2-licensed fork of open source Elasticsearch and Kibana.

The cloud-hosted Amazon Elasticsearch Service will start using AWS's fork and all of its new features, and will maintain backwards compatibility so customers don't have to change their applications to continue using the service. Programmers writing software that uses Elasticsearch and Kibana will figure out Elastic is acting, as Amazon put it, "fishy." The internet goliath thus hopes developers will adopt its fork, which it described as a "long-term" project, rather than continue to use Elastic's offerings.

"We look forward to providing a truly open source option for Elasticsearch and Kibana using the ALv2 license, and building and supporting this future with the community," the AWS team beamed.

Fed up with cloud giants ripping off its database, MongoDB forks new 'open-source license'

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Then there's the issue with Amazon's Open Distro for Elasticsearch, which was launched in 2019 and is an Apache-2.0-licensed not-a-fork of Elasticsearch. It is intended to be entirely open source without any intermingling of proprietary code, and was run as a collaboration with upstream development. In future, though, with Elasticsearch and Kibana forked from version 7.10 of Elastic's open-source codebases, the forks will replace the pair in Open Distro. In other words, not-a-fork Open Distro will become a fork.

Responding to Amazon calling Elastic's bluff, Banon said: "When we announced the [licensing] change, we sadly expected this. This is what made it so hard. But I am also relieved. Relieved we are free to focus on products versus battle abuse. Relieved that I can trust our community will see through this misinformation and confusion."

We also note that Elastic is still pursuing Amazon through the courts, claiming the mega-corp is ripping off its Elasticsearch trademark.

Meanwhile, other upstarts based on open-source projects – notably Confluent, MongoDB, Neo4J, and Redis Labs – have also tried variations of software licenses to make it more difficult for Amazon and its ilk to out compete them. ®

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Googlebusters: Cloud biz jumps 45% in Q3 but misses Wall St consensus, operating losses almost halved

Advertising engine still revving amid pandemic

Google Cloud – a relative blip on parent Alphabet's balance sheet – booked in a 45 per cent year-on-year bounce in turnover for calendar Q3 but still missed the consensus estimate by Wall Street analysts.

For the quarter ended 30 September [PDF], the division reported turnover of $4.99bn, falling short of forecasts by $200m, and rising 7.8 per cent on the prior three-month period, which marked a slowdown in sales momentum.

AI and data warehousing services on Google's cloud are convincing customers to sign off purchase orders, said Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, describing it as a "source of strength." He added that Google is "sharpening our solutions by verticals." These include retail, healthcare, financial services, and entertainment and media.

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Teen bought Google ad for his scam website and made 48 Bitcoins duping UK online shoppers

'If he was an adult he would be going inside' – judge

A "sophisticated" teenager has had £2.1m ($2.88m) in cryptocurrency confiscated after he set up a phishing site and advertised it on Google, duping consumers into handing over gift voucher redemption codes.

The schoolboy set up a website impersonating gift voucher site Love2Shop. Having done that he then bought Google ads which resulted in his fake site appearing above the real one in search results, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Crown prosecutor Sam Skinner told Her Honour Judge Catarina Sjölin Knight that the boy, whose identity is protected by a court order, harvested £6,500 worth of vouchers in the week his site was active. Love2shop began investigating in April 2020 after a customer complained, at which point the boy took down his fake site.

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Microsoft: Cloud and Windows OEM sales up, but Surface? No, not even during WFH boom

Water's wet, sky's blue, and Redmond's revenues grew in Q1 2022

Even a "stronger than expected" PC market with unprecedented demand from homebound workers couldn't lift Surface revenues in Microsoft's first quarter for fiscal 2022 - in an otherwise stellar quarter for the firm.

Windows OEM revenue increased by 10 per cent – driven, as CFO Amy Hood said in an analysts' call, "by a stronger than expected PC market."

However, Surface revenue dropped by 19 per cent in constant currency (although Hood pointed to a strong prior year) for the quarter, which ended September 30, 2021. Supply constraints will certainly have played a part in this, as well as a line-up due for a refresh. The recent product launch will make next quarter's results interesting reading. Hood reckoned the decline would likely run on, but only in single digits "as we continue to work through supply chain uncertainty, particularly in our premium devices."

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Product release cycles are killing the environment, techies tell British Computer Society

Running Linux on a vintage box is one answer, but someone has to hold big tech's feet to fire

Bringing an end to the relentless nature of annual product release cycles is something that should be top of the agenda for the soon-to-run 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26.

Or so says the BCS, formerly known as the British Computer Society, which reckons cutting electronic waste is the most pressing concern for 30 per cent of the 1,100 plus members it surveyed recently.

Alex Bardell, chair of the BCS Green IT Specialist Group, said reducing e-waste was already on the radar thanks to the chip shortage.

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UK science suffers as lawmakers continue to dither over Brexit negotiations

Horizons Europe carrot dangled amid protocol wrangling

A report from the UK House of Commons' European Scrutiny Committee has blamed delays in Brussels for choking off revenue streams to British institutions and businesses.

The UK departed the European Union following a 2016 referendum. One of the results was that UK businesses were no longer able to tender for lucrative contracts within the bloc.

The Brexit Divorce Bill uncomfortably laid out the facts back in 2018. The satellite navigation system Galileo was one victim despite substantial involvement from the UK in its development. Another was the Copernicus Earth monitoring programme; the UK was infamously snubbed when the European Space Agency (ESA) handed out six juicy contracts to institutions from the Continent.

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Warehouse belonging to Chinese payment terminal manufacturer raided by FBI

PAX Technology devices allegedly infected with malware

US feds were spotted raiding a warehouse belonging to Chinese payment terminal manufacturer PAX Technology in Jacksonville, Florida, on Tuesday, with speculation abounding that the machines contained preinstalled malware.

PAX Technology is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, and is one of the largest electronic payment providers in the world. It operates around 60 million point-of-sale (PoS) payment terminals in more than 120 countries.

Local Jacksonville news anchor Courtney Cole tweeted photos of the scene.

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Everything you wanted to know about modern network congestion control but were perhaps too afraid to ask

In which a little unfairness can be quite beneficial

Systems Approach It’s hard not to be amazed by the amount of active research on congestion control over the past 30-plus years. From theory to practice, and with more than its fair share of flame wars, the question of how to manage congestion in the network is a technical challenge that resists an optimal solution while offering countless options for incremental improvement.

This seems like a good time to take stock of where we are, and ask ourselves what might happen next.

Congestion control is fundamentally an issue of resource allocation — trying to meet the competing demands that applications have for resources (in a network, these are primarily link bandwidth and router buffers), which ultimately reduces to deciding when to say no and to whom. The best framing of the problem I know traces back to a paper [PDF] by Frank Kelly in 1997, when he characterized congestion control as “a distributed algorithm to share network resources among competing sources, where the goal is to choose source rate so as to maximize aggregate source utility subject to capacity constraints.”

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How business makes streaming faster and cheaper with CDN and HESP support

Ensure a high video streaming transmission rate

Advertorial Here is everything about how the HESP integration helps CDN and the streaming platform by G-Core Labs ensure a high video streaming transmission rate for e-sports and gaming, efficient scalability for e-learning and telemedicine and high quality and minimum latencies for online streams, media and TV broadcasters.

HESP (High Efficiency Stream Protocol) is a brand new adaptive video streaming protocol. It allows delivery of content with latencies of up to 2 seconds without compromising video quality and broadcasting stability. Unlike comparable solutions, this protocol requires less bandwidth for streaming, which allows businesses to save a lot of money on delivery of content to a large audience.

Since HESP is based on HTTP, it is suitable for video transmission over CDNs. G-Core Labs was among the world’s first companies to have embedded this protocol in its CDN. With 120 points of presence across 5 continents and over 6,000 peer-to-peer partners, this allows a service provider to deliver videos to millions of viewers, to any devices, anywhere in the world without compromising even 8K video quality. And all this comes at a minimum streaming cost.

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Cisco deprecates Microsoft management integrations for UCS servers

Working on Azure integration – but not there yet

Cisco has deprecated support for some third-party management integrations for its UCS servers, and emerged unable to play nice with Microsoft's most recent offerings.

Late last week the server contender slipped out an end-of-life notice [PDF] for integrations with Microsoft System Center's Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, and Virtual Machine Manager. Support for plugins to VMware vCenter Orchestrator and vRealize Orchestrator have also been taken out behind an empty rack with a shotgun.

The Register inquired about the deprecations, and has good news and bad news.

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Protonmail celebrates Swiss court victory exempting it from telco data retention laws

Doesn't stop local courts' surveillance orders, though

Encrypted email provider Protonmail has hailed a recent Swiss legal ruling as a "victory for privacy," after winning a lawsuit that sees it exempted from data retention laws in the mountainous realm.

Referring to a previous ruling that exempted instant messaging services from data capture and storage laws, the Protonmail team said this week: "Together, these two rulings are a victory for privacy in Switzerland as many Swiss companies are now exempted from handing over certain user information in response to Swiss legal orders."

Switzerland's Federal Administrative Court ruled on October 22 that email providers in Switzerland are not considered telecommunications providers under Swiss law, thereby removing them from the scope of data retention requirements imposed on telcos.

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Japan picks AWS and Google for first gov cloud push

Local players passed over for Digital Agency’s first project

Japan's Digital Agency has picked Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud for its first big reform push.

The Agency started operations in September 2021, years after efforts like the UK's Government Digital Service (GDS) or Australia's Digital Transformation Agency (DTA). The body was a signature reform initiated by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who spent his year-long stint in the top job trying to curb Japan's reliance on paper documents, manual processes, and faxes. Japan's many government agencies also operated their websites independently of each other, most with their own design and interface.

The new Agency therefore has a remit to "cut across all ministries" and "provide services that are driven not toward ministries, agency, laws, or systems, but toward users and to improve user-experience".

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