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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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China all but bans cryptocurrencies

Banks told not to transact, web platforms blocked from hosting or advertising, citizens told to look elsewhere for investments

Beijing has all but banned cryptocurrencies.

In an edict published yesterday by three bodies – the National Internet Finance Association of China, the China Banking Association, and the Payment and Clearing Association of China – banks are forbidden to allow their customers access to cryptocurrency trading or storage, and told not to provide insurance to cryptocurrency businesses or investments.

Web platforms were told not to host crypto-coin companies, or even allow ads for any crypto-related business activities.

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Microsoft hits Alt-F4 on Windows 10X: OS designed for dual-screen PCs axed

It was just so good, we're cannibalizing it for parts, says Redmond

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10X, its somewhat streamlined operating system initially designed for a new wave of dual-screen mobile PCs, is being killed off.

It appears the Redmond giant doesn't want the OS's features to languish on whatever dual-screen slabtops are or become available, and so it will put some of its better ideas into the mainstream Windows 10, and shut the rest of the project down. It was supposed to launch this year.

"Following a year-long exploration and engaging in conversations with customers, we realized that the technology of Windows 10X could be useful in more ways and serve more customers than we originally imagined," John Cable, veep of program management at Windows Servicing and Delivery, buried at the end of this blog post.

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Empowering industry digitalization with the ultimate 5G network evolution

Driver of digital economy, ZTE paves way for operators to boost 5G to-business revenue, ROI

Sponsored As of late 2020, at least 113 operators spread across 52 countries worldwide have begun commercial 5G operations. At least 89% of active networks are using the mid-band spectrum – especially within the 3.3-3.8 GHz range – that delivers fast throughput.

However, 5G commercialization still remains in the initial stage of infrastructure development, as indicated by large-scale construction only in China, South Korea, the United States, and a few other countries in Europe and the Middle East.

Indeed, the construction of new infrastructure is the core driver of the continuous development of digital economy. Still, 5G rollout has to overcome challenges such as stricter requirements for base stations density, lower power consumption, and the lack of profitable business models. Early 5G deployments have been addressing hotspots in urban areas with a clear capacity need or to support enterprise customers’ needs.

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What you need to know from today's Google IO: Chatty AI, collab tools, TPU v4 chips, quantum computing

Great, another tech thing that sounds like 'lambda'

Google IO Google today opened its developer conference, the aptly named Google IO, with a somber nod to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic from Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

"In some places, people are beginning to live their lives again as cases decline. Other places like Brazil and my home country of India are going through their most difficult moments yet. We are thinking of you and hoping for better days ahead," Pichai said, speaking outdoors at the Chocolate Factory's Mountain View campus.

Last year, the coronavirus outbreak prompted Google to cancel its IO show entirely.

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Nvidia nerfs RTX 3080, 3070, 3060 Ti GPUs to shoo away Ethereum miners

Hash rate halved for 'LHR' cards in fresh bid to force down outrageous retail prices

Nvidia says it will slash the cryptocurrency-mining abilities of newly made RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and RTX 3060 Ti graphics cards.

Those cards will be marked as LHR, or Lite Hash Rate, to indicate their capabilities have been limited, and will ship from the end of this month. It is hoped that by halving the hash rate of these devices, alt-coin miners will be deterred from snapping up the kit, leaving more of it for PC gamers, which may result in retail prices coming down as supply gets closer to meeting demand.

“Because these GPUs originally launched with a full hash rate, we want to ensure that customers know exactly what they’re getting when they buy GeForce products,” Nvidia's Matt Wuebbling said on Tuesday.

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Colonial Pipeline suffers server gremlins, says it's not due to another ransomware infection

Just dealing with the aftermath

The Colonial Pipeline is in a bit of trouble again. The oil conduit that shut down this month after its operators were hit with ransomware suffered glitches with its technology on Tuesday while trying to sort out its IT woes.

The temporary computer outage was, so the Colonial Pipeline company said on Twitter, “not related to the ransomware or any reinfection,” but instead "due to some of the hardening efforts that are ongoing and part of our restoration process."

"Our internal server that runs our nomination system experienced intermittent disruptions this morning due to some of the hardening efforts that are ongoing and part of our restoration process," the biz said a couple of hours ago.

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Us? Pwn SolarWinds? With our reputation? Russian spy chief makes laughable denial of supply chain attack

Hint: He doesn't care if you personally think it's rubbish, and here's why

A Russian spymaster has denied that his agency carried out the infamous SolarWinds supply chain attack in a public relations move worthy of the Internet Research Agency.

Sergei Naryshkin, head of the SVR spy agency, made his denial in a BBC interview broadcast on Tuesday.

"I'd be flattered to hear such an assessment of the work of the Foreign Intelligence service which I run. Such a high evaluation," said the spymaster in remarks translated by the BBC. The SolarWinds supply chain attack saw US and UK government institutions probed by Russian spies, as well as FireEye – itself a major US cybersecurity contractor.

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Business-intelligence-company-turned-Bitcoin-addict MicroStrategy grabs another $10m crypto-coin fix

Who's recommending investment? The man who already has a $1bn stake

Wikipedia says MicroStrategy is a company that provides business intelligence (BI), mobile software, and cloud-based services, but that wouldn't be the first outdated information on the crowdsourced knowledge repository.

In a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the software company founded in 1989 said it would purchase $10m in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency at an average price of $43,663.

MicroStrategy used to be well known as an enterprise software company specialising in data mining and BI, and still counts Hyatt Hotels, the American Red Cross, and Whole Foods Market among its customers. But who needs to go through the brain-ache of actually building things for money when you can invest free cash in a fool-proof electronic currency like Bitcoin?

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Ex-Apple marketing bigwig tells Epic judge: Our revenue-sharing model is designed to stop money laundering

Oh, and remember when Tim Sweeney himself demonstrated Metal API? Awks

Three weeks have passed since the high-stakes California bench trial between Epic Games and Apple commenced. On Monday, it was the turn of Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow and former senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, to take the stand.

Schiller, who joined Apple in 1997 upon the return of Steve Jobs, re-emphasised Apple's argument that the App Store's costs are necessary to protect the health of the platform, citing the $99 entry-fee to the developer programme, which he claimed would prevent the App Store becoming swamped with spam or low-quality apps.

He also added that the company feared that if Apple reduced its commission significantly, the App Store may become a conduit for money laundering.

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The UK loves cybersecurity so much, it's going to regulate managed service providers' infosec practices in law

And you're invited to speak your brains on Computer Misuse Act changes

+Comment The British government has vowed to create a legally binding cybersecurity framework for managed service providers (MSPs) – and if you want to tell gov.UK what you think, you've only got a few weeks to act.

The supply chain review comes in the wake of high-profile events like the SolarWinds compromise and a 2018 APT campaign linked by the FBI to China that may have breached HPE, IBM, and some of their clients.

Targeted at managed service providers and firms outsourcing their digital infrastructure services alike, the review is described by the government as helping build evidence for "additional government intervention" to force businesses into formally assessing cyber risks to their supply chains. It also looks like MSPs will be subject to a legally binding security framework as a result of the review.

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PlanetScale grabs YouTube-developed open-source tech, promises Vitess DBaaS with on-the-fly schema changes

Demand growing for scale-y transactional monster, say analysts

YouTube-developed distributed relational database Vitess is getting a DBaaS makeover, putting it in the hands of developers without having to worry about engaging with a DBA.

Based on MySQL, Vitess is used by the likes of Slack, Airbnb and GitHub for its horizontal, globally scalable OLTP architecture. But it has not always been the easiest thing for developers to get to grips with.

Sam Lambert, chief product officer at PlanetScale, the company behind Vitess, told The Register: "They built for Vitess MySQL. It's got a sharding and orchestration layer that means you can go to an enormous scale: we're talking about running on 10,000s of servers.

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