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Amazon has launched the first production-ready version of its Elasticsearch fork OpenSearch. This comes six months after Amazon’s AWS first revealed plans to fork Elasticsearch, the Java-based open source search and analytics engine for large volumes of data, alongside the associated Kibana dashboard for visualizing Elasticsearch data.

Companies typically use Elasticsearch for software that relies on the access and retrieval of data or documents, analyzing log data, security analysis, and more.  The genesis for Amazon’s big fork came back in January when Elastic, the commercial company behind both Elasticsearch and Kibana, confirmed it was transitioning from a permissive Apache License to a dual source-available Server Side Public License (SSPL) and a proprietary Elastic License. The company said at the time that its motive was to prevent cloud service providers — e.g. AWS — from offering Elasticsearch as a service without collaborating on the project or giving anything back.

Forked off

“Forking” is often deemed the only way forward for an open source project when two (or more) entities develop different priorities. The process involves taking the original source code and splitting it into a separate project that’s maintained by a different group (e.g. in-house Amazon developers). Amazon’s fork is now vying to become the official open source project, as it’s available under an Apache 2.0 license, while the original Elasticsearch is now classed as proprietary software — Elastic now refers to its software as “free and open.


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While Amazon first released OpenSearch back in April, the product was technically still in “alpha,” meaning it wasn’t fully tested or recommended for production use. With version 1.0, which is available on GitHub now, OpenSearch is ready for production environments. And Amazon is eager to remind people that OpenSearch is very much an open source offering.

“We encourage anyone to use, modify, extend, embed, monetize, resell, and offer OpenSearch as part of their products and services,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Broad adoption benefits the entire community.”

Today’s announcement comes a week after Amazon revealed it was transitioning its cross-platform game engine Lumberyard to an open source license and five years after the company made it available as a source-available project. As some have pointed out, this suggests Amazon had struggled to lure game developers to Lumberyard, as they were required to use Amazon’s AWS cloud service for hosting.

It seems developers don’t like restrictions on how they can use software. Who knew?

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