This happened in February. My balance of 2021 part 3

This happened in February

Following with me personal selection of the events that occurred in 2022 in technological matters, with emphasis on the world of free software and open source, we reach the month of February, the month in which every year we renew our love for free software. Unlike what happened in January, there was no big news, although controversy could not be missing.

This happened in February

Amazon creates a fork

good thing about doing this type of reviews is that one ends up seeing how certain events were put together. These days my colleagues are covering (see the Related Articles section) the consequences of taking advantage of free software without returning anything in return that some large companies do.

February brought us the news that Amazon decided to create a fork of two projects; Elasticsearch and Kibana. The motive was not to improve these projects but to prevent Elastic, creator of the projects and competitor of Amazon Web Service, from benefiting financially or with the improvements introduced by Amazon.

Elasticsearch is a distributed analytics and analytics engine for various types of data. Kibana is the project's interaction layer with the user. It provides data display and search functions.

Given the use that Amazon and other competitors made of their products, Elastic decided to adopt a dual scheme. On the one hand, a license that would allow the community to access, use, modify, redistribute and collaborate with the code and on the other, one that obliges those who want to use Elastic products as the basis of a service to third parties, to release all the modifications including the source code under the same license.

Amazon's response, if it weren't for tears, would be hilarious. It was delivered by Carl Meadows, Senior Product Management Manager at Amazon's AWS Division:

To ensure that open source versions of both packages continue to be available and well supported, including in our own offerings, today we are announcing that AWS will step up the creation and maintenance of an open source fork under the ALv2 license. 'Elasticsearch and Kibana'.

Raspberries with Microsoft. An indigestible combination

There are open source projects that seem destined to generate controversy and others that get along with everyone. For example, has anyone heard of any controversy involving Gentoo?

Until February of last year, I would have included the Raspberry Pi single board computer on this list. But then its developers nor they had a better idea than to include in Raspberry Pi OS, the official distribution of the project, a Microsoft repository.

At first glance, the decision seemed to make sense. VS Code, Microsoft's integrated development environment is one of the most popular among developers. Not to mention the integration with other company services like GitHub.  The problem is that the addition was not reported to the administrator user of each device, and it was even done in those installations without a graphical interface.

According to a Reddit user, this would allow Microsoft to receive a ping on its servers every time the list of repositories is accessed, capable of identifying the device and IP from which it is accessed. Then, you can cross that information with the access data to other services such as GitHub or Bing and in this way build a user profile for your own use or transfer it to other companies.

A country with kangaroos and without Google

Summer seems to make Australians want to get something out of it. But, last year it was not to a tennis player but to none other than Google. Australia wanted to establish a mandatory mechanism by which big technology companies reward traditional media for their content. This prompted Google's top executive in Australia to say that:

The principle of unrestricted linking between websites is central to Search and, along with unmanageable financial and operational risk, if this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Search for Google is available in Australia

The response of the Minister of Communications was that Australians could get by just fine with Bing, Microsoft's search engine.

Related articles

Related article:
AWS Announces Open Source Forks of Elasticsearch and Kibana
Related article:
Raspberry Pi OS adds a Microsoft repository that users don't like
Related article:
A country without Google. Australia challenges the search engine and Facebook
Related article:
The alternative to Google proposed by a senator from Australia
Related article:
Sabotage in an open source project
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Google asked the US to make critical open source projects more secure



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