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AWS denies open source software stealing claim

(Image credit: AWS)

Amazon's cloud computing division Amazon Web Services has hit back at claims that the company steals features from various open source software projects.

The cloud giant was less than pleased with a recent article in the New York Times which criticized the company for integrating open source software created by others into its own offerings. In the article, the chief executive of the open source database MariaDB, Michael Howard even went as far as to say that “A.W.S.’s success is built on strip-mining open-source technology”.

Vice president of AWS analytics and ElastiCache, Andi Gutmans told ZDNet that the argument AWS is “strip-mining” open source software was silly and off-base, saying:

"AWS customers have repeatedly asked AWS to build managed services around open source. As we shared with the author, the argument that AWS is "strip-mining" open source is silly and off-base. The story is largely talking about open source software projects and companies who've tried to build businesses around commercializing that open source software. These open source projects enable any company to utilize this software on-premises or in the cloud, and build services around it. AWS customers have repeatedly asked AWS to build managed services around open source."

Open source projects

Gutmans then went on to explain to ZDNet that some of the people behind open source projects end up building commercial companies around them in which they provide management of their services for a fee. The projects themselves remain open source but their management ends up turning into a for profit business.

AWS itself currently contributes to a number of open source projects including Linux, Java, Kubernetes, Xen, KVM, Chromium, Robot Operating System, Apache Lucene, Redis, s2n, FreeRTOS and Elasticsearch.

According to the New York Times report, several of AWS' rivals have even discussed bringing antitrust complaints against the company. 

A shift in licensing terms from the firms that have provided open source database technology in the past has occurred as the result of the success of cloud providers. Companies such as Elastic, MongoDB and Redis have taken issue with how cloud providers repackage their open source software for use on their platforms.

Via ZDNet