Recent licensing change announcment

I guess that is the way to go now:

Our goal is to have these two new projects be driven by multiple organizations and not by a single commercial organization. They are planned to be Apache-2 forever and community-driven, so they can ultimately be contributed to foundations such as the ASF or the CNCF as the steering committees suggest. Our joint mission will be to encourage collaboration, unleash innovation, and serve the greater community.

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This is what we are working on as a community, wait for the AWS announcement but we’ve announced our plans over at logz (already posted on this thread). I have collected several interested individuals who want to be involved and we will continue to update this thread. (I work for

Also, a good post which brings up some of the concerns from the Open Source Initiative The SSPL is Not an Open Source License | Open Source Initiative


Can’t wait! Thanks already for doing the first step!

@searchymcsearchface Don’t leave us hanging :wink:


:wave: Still working on it. There is a surprising amount of moving parts.


Let’s keep Elasticsearch and Kibana open source!
I work for and very excited on gathering the community to keep the lights on.
If you also want to take part, email (or reach out to me @horovits or @jkowall)


I’m curious to know why decided to create a different fork, rather than becoming open distro contributors?

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ODFE is thus far, not an actual fork. Let’s see what they have to say about that continuing though.

open distro is not a fork, it’s a suite of plugins on top of Elasticsearch.
And open distro doesn’t address Kibana in any way.

The direction is to establish a fork of both Elasticsearch and Kibana off the Apache2 licensed one (prior to Elastic’s SSPL relicensing obviously), that will be Apache2 licensed, with multiple members, and with an OSS governance that will ensure no single vendor or commercial entity “owns” the projects.
I really hope that we see whoever’s interested in keeping Elasticserach and Kibana open uniting under this distribution and community.

While I agree with the sentiment of your comment, Open Distro deos build on Kibana as well.

my statement was more on the areas of focus for ODFE, but indeed important clarification on the Kibana plugins.

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Another blog worth reading on this topic: Elastic Re-Licensing Elasticsearch (

I hope that the six page memo on this topic can eventually be shared.


  1. Since AWS is all-in on open source, and committed to its customers, a comprehensive solution is expected.

  2. Legal scrutiny is a must.

  3. An acquisition of is unlikely.

  4. A hard fork seems likely; the question is how to justify, organize it and fund it.

  5. A volunteer-driven hard-fork seems unlikely to succeed. How many FTEs over how many years are needed to carry out a hard fork option? What organizations will fund the FTEs?

  6. Open source business models can be tricky, so understand the time in working this through.


All fair points John. I will address the ones I can as someone leading the effort across multiple companies and contributors.

  1. That’s a question for AWS, but I would agree with your comment.
  2. Yes, this is currently occurring, but the new release would be Apache 2.0 open source just as the product should have always. It will however have proper governance and community, and not a single company controlling what happens with the project.
  3. That depends if you have $20b to spend? :slight_smile:
  4. Correct, the idea would be to have several large companies and smaller companies such as ourselves at have contributors and people to help govern and contribute to the the project. We already do this with other projects which are part of CNCF.
  5. Every OSS project which is part of a foundation has both individuals and funded contributors, this would be the same thing. Right how we have several organizations interested, just coordinating the kick off.
  6. No business model necessary, my goal is to make these projects part of the ASF from the start to allow this never to happen again. Corporate greed has no place in the open source community, we should keep our greed to ourselves :slight_smile:

Hi Jason,
I’m not sure this is the right place to discuss specific use cases, also I’m not officially representing my company, so I leave that to our legal team and our FOSS license experts.Their evaluation says, that there is no exception for the described use case, since the paragraph “Offering the Program as a Service” does not describe what you are saying. They banned MongoDB after their SSPL switch, so it makes sense to do the same for ES.

The ASF would be the perfect place IMHO (no license risks, elastic would never sue ASF, joint efforts and synergy with the lucene project, non-profit org, software for the public good, …).

I also work for a large SW company with our own legal department and their statement was exactly the same - using Elasticsearch is not an option anymore and we are migrating to Opendistro. The Intellectual property advisor that I was in contact about the changes said that the blog, comments of Elastic employees swearing that our use case is permitted (we use ES on customers sites as a service but only internally without letting anyone outside of our company connect) and FAQ section is simply meaningless. The only text which matters is the official license which leaves so much space for uncertainty and for a few billions company a doubt in this case simply means no doubt - Elasticsearch should be replaced by its Apache 2.0 alternative if available.


Looks like amazon released its statement.


Beat me to it posting!


So just to confirm my understanding…

  • AWS will fork off of 7.10 and maintain these forks for Elasticsearch and Kibana
  • Open Distro will continue to exist in it’s current form but will switch (eventually) from the Elastic upstream, to the AWS managed forks based off of 7.10.

Just wanted to make sure I understand this correctly.

@slynch You got, more/less. Elasticsearch and Kibana forks will be part of the Open Distro project, but that’s semantic.