Redis To Adopt ‘Source-Available Licensing’ Starting With Next Version

Longtime Slashdot reader jgulla shares an announcement from Redis: Beginning today, all future versions of Redis will be released with source-available licenses. Starting with Redis 7.4, Redis will be dual-licensed under the Redis Source Available License (RSALv2) and Server Side Public License (SSPLv1). Consequently, Redis will no longer be distributed under the three-clause Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). The new source-available licenses allow us to sustainably provide permissive use of our source code.

We’re leading Redis into its next phase of development as a real-time data platform with a unified set of clients, tools, and core Redis product offerings. The Redis source code will continue to be freely available to developers, customers, and partners through Redis Community Edition. Future Redis source-available releases will unify core Redis with Redis Stack, including search, JSON, vector, probabilistic, and time-series data models in one free, easy-to-use package as downloadable software. This will allow anyone to easily use Redis across a variety of contexts, including as a high-performance key/value and document store, a powerful query engine, and a low-latency vector database powering generative AI applications. […]

Under the new license, cloud service providers hosting Redis offerings will no longer be permitted to use the source code of Redis free of charge. For example, cloud service providers will be able to deliver Redis 7.4 only after agreeing to licensing terms with Redis, the maintainers of the Redis code. These agreements will underpin support for existing integrated solutions and provide full access to forthcoming Redis innovations. In practice, nothing changes for the Redis developer community who will continue to enjoy permissive licensing under the dual license. At the same time, all the Redis client libraries under the responsibility of Redis will remain open source licensed. Redis will continue to support its vast partner ecosystem — including managed service providers and system integrators — with exclusive access to all future releases, updates, and features developed and delivered by Redis through its Partner Program. There is no change for existing Redis Enterprise customers.

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OpenTTD (Unofficial Remake of ‘Transport Tycoon Deluxe’ Game) Turns 20

In 1995 Scottish video game designer Chris Sawyer created the business simulator game Transport Tycoon Deluxe — and within four years, Wikipedia notes, work began on the first version of an open source version that’s still being actively developed. “According to a study of the 61,154 open-source projects on SourceForge in the period between 1999 and 2005, OpenTTD ranked as the 8th most active open-source project to receive patches and contributions. In 2004, development moved to their own server.”

Long-time Slashdot reader orudge says he’s been involved for almost 25 years. “Exactly 21 years ago, I received an ICQ message (look it up, kids) out of the blue from a guy named Ludvig Strigeus (nicknamed Ludde).”

“Hello, you probably don’t know me, but I’ve been working on a project to clone Transport Tycoon Deluxe for a while,” he said, more or less… Ludde made more progress with the project [written in C] over the coming year, and it looks like we even attempted some multiplayer games (not too reliable, especially over my dial-up connection at the time). Eventually, when he was happy with what he had created, he agreed to allow me to release the game as open source. Coincidentally, this happened exactly a year after I’d first spoken to him, on the 6th March 2004…

Things really got going after this, and a community started to form with enthusiastic developers fixing bugs, adding in new features, and smoothing off the rough edges. Ludde was, I think, a bit taken aback by how popular it proved, and even rejoined the development effort for a while. A read through the old changelogs reveals just how many features were added over a very short period of time. Quick wins like higher vehicle limits came in very quickly, and support for TTDPatch’s NewGRF format started to be functional just four months later. Large maps, improved multiplayer, better pathfinders, improved TTDPatch compatibility, and of course, ports to a great many different operating systems, such as Mac OS X, BeOS, MorphOS and OS/2. It was a very exciting time to be a TTD fan!

Within six years, ambitious projects to create free replacements for the original TTD graphics, sounds and music sets were complete, and OpenTTD finally had its 1.0 release. And while we may not have the same frantic addition of new features we had in 2004, there have still been massive improvements to the code, with plenty of exciting new features over the years, with major releases every year since 2008. he move to GitHub in 2018 and the release of OpenTTD on Steam in 2021 have also re-energised development efforts, with thousands of people now enjoying playing the game regularly. And development shows no signs of slowing down, with the upcoming OpenTTD 14.0 release including over 40 new features!
“Personally, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported OpenTTD development over the past two decades…” they write, adding “Finally, of course, I’d like to thank you, the players! None of us would be here if people weren’t still playing the game.

“Seeing how the first twenty years have gone, I can’t wait to see what the next twenty years have in store. :)”

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Hugging Face Launches Open Source AI Assistant Maker To Rival OpenAI’s Custom GPTs

Carl Franzen reports via VentureBeat: Hugging Face, the New York City-based startup that offers a popular, developer-focused repository for open source AI code and frameworks (and hosted last year’s “Woodstock of AI”), today announced the launch of third-party, customizable Hugging Chat Assistants. The new, free product offering allows users of Hugging Chat, the startup’s open source alternative to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, to easily create their own customized AI chatbots with specific capabilities, similar both in functionality and intention to OpenAI’s custom GPT Builder â” though that requires a paid subscription to ChatGPT Plus ($20 per month), Team ($25 per user per month paid annually), and Enterprise (variable pricing depending on the needs).

Phillip Schmid, Hugging Face’s Technical Lead & LLMs Director, posted the news on the social network X (formerly known as Twitter), explaining that users could build a new personal Hugging Face Chat Assistant “in 2 clicks!” Schmid also openly compared the new capabilities to OpenAI’s custom GPTs. However, in addition to being free, the other big difference between Hugging Chat Assistant and the GPT Builder and GPT Store is that the latter tools depend entirely on OpenAI’s proprietary large language models (LLM) GPT-4 and GPT-4 Vision/Turbo. Users of Hugging Chat Assistant, by contrast, can choose which of several open source LLMs they wish to use to power the intelligence of their AI Assistant on the backend, including everything from Mistral’s Mixtral to Meta’s Llama 2. That’s in keeping with Hugging Face’s overarching approach to AI — offering a broad swath of different models and frameworks for users to choose between — as well as the same approach it takes with Hugging Chat itself, where users can select between several different open source models to power it.

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Somehow Amazon’s Open Source Fork of ElasticSearch Has Succeeded

Long-time open source advocate Matt Asay writes in InfoWorld:

OpenSearch shouldn’t exist. The open source alternative to Elasticsearch started off as Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) answer to getting outflanked by Elastic’s change in Elasticsearch’s license, which was in turn sparked by AWS building a successful Elasticsearch service but contributing little back. In 2019 when AWS launched its then Open Distro for Elasticsearch, I thought its reasons rang hollow and, frankly, sounded sanctimonious. This was, after all, a company that used more open source than it contributed. Two years later, AWS opted to fork Elasticsearch to create OpenSearch, committing to a “long-term investment” in OpenSearch.

I worked at AWS at the time. Privately, I didn’t think it would work.

Rather, I didn’t feel that AWS really understood just how much work was involved in running a successful open source project, and the company would fail to invest the time and resources necessary to make OpenSearch a viable competitor to Elasticsearch. I was wrong. Although OpenSearch has a long way to go before it can credibly claim to have replaced Elasticsearch in the minds and workloads of developers, it has rocketed up the search engine popularity charts, with an increasingly diverse contributor population. In turn, the OpenSearch experience is adding a new tool to AWS’ arsenal of open source strengths….

As part of the AWS OpenSearch team, David Tippett and Eli Fisher laid out a few key indicators of OpenSearch’s success as they gave their 2022 year in review. They topped more than 100 million downloads and gathered 8,760 pull requests from 496 contributors, a number of whom don’t work for AWS. Not stated were other success factors, such as Adobe’s earlier decision to replace Elasticsearch with OpenSearch in its Adobe Commerce suite, or its increasingly open governance with third-party maintainers for the project. Nor did they tout its lightning-fast ascent up the DB-Engines database popularity rankings, hitting the Top 50 databases for the first time.

OpenSearch, in short, is a bonafide open source success story. More surprisingly, it’s an AWS open source success story. For many who have been committed to the “AWS strip mines open source” narrative, such success stories aren’t supposed to exist. Reality bites.
The article notes that OpenSearch’s success “doesn’t seem to be blunting Elastic’s income statement.” But it also points out that Amazon now has many employees actively contributing to open source projects, including PostgreSQL and MariaDB. (Although “If AWS were to turn forking projects into standard operating procedure, that might get uncomfortable.”)

“Fortunately, not only has AWS learned how to build more open source, it has also learned how to partner with open source companies.”

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Red Hat’s 30th Anniversary: How a Microsoft Competitor Rose from an Apartment-Based Startup

For Red Hat’s 30th anniversary, North Carolina’s News & Observer newspaper ran a special four-part series of articles.
In the first article Red Hat co-founder Bob Young remembers Red Hat’s first big breakthrough: winning InfoWorld’s “OS of the Year” award in 1998 — at a time when Microsoft’s Windows controlled 85% of the market.
“How is that possible,” Young said, “that one of the world’s biggest technology companies, on this strategically critical product, loses the product of the year to a company with 50 employees in the tobacco fields of North Carolina?” The answer, he would tell the many reporters who suddenly wanted to learn about his upstart company, strikes at “the beauty” of open-source software.
“Our engineering team is an order of magnitude bigger than Microsoft’s engineering team on Windows, and I don’t really care how many people they have,” Young would say. “Like they may have thousands of the smartest operating system engineers that they could scour the planet for, and we had 10,000 engineers by comparison….”

Young was a 40-year-old Canadian computer equipment salesperson with a software catalog when he noticed what Marc Ewing was doing. [Ewing was a recent college graduate bored with his two-month job at IBM, selling customized Linux as a side hustle.] It’s pretty primitive, but it’s going in the right direction, Young thought. He began reselling Ewing’s Red Hat product. Eventually, he called Ewing, and the two met at a tech conference in New York City. “I needed a product, and Marc needed some marketing help,” said Young, who was living in Connecticut at the time. “So we put our two little businesses together.”

Red Hat incorporated in March 1993, with the earliest employees operating the nascent business out of Ewing’s Durham apartment. Eventually, the landlord discovered what they were doing and kicked them out.
The four articles capture the highlights. (“A visual effects group used its Linux 4.1 to design parts of the 1997 film Titanic.”) And it doesn’t leave out Red Hat’s skirmishes with Microsoft. (“Microsoft was owned by the richest person in the world. Red Hat engineers were still linking servers together with extension cords. “) “We were changing the industry and a lot of companies were mad at us,” says Michael Ferris, Red Hat’s VP of corporate development/strategy. Soon there were corporate partnerships with Netscape, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, Dell, and IBM — and when Red Hat finally goes public in 1999, its stock sees the eighth-largest first-day gain in Wall Street history, rising in value in days to over $7 billion and “making overnight millionaires of its earliest employees.”

But there’s also inspiring details like the quote painted on the wall of Red Hat’s headquarters in Durham: “Every revolution was first a thought in one man’s mind; and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era…” It’s fun to see the story told by a local newspaper, with subheadings like “It started with a student from Finland” and “Red Hat takes on the Microsoft Goliath.”

Something I’d never thought of. 2001’s 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center “destroyed the principal data centers of many Wall Street investment banks, which were housed in the twin towers. With their computers wiped out, financial institutions had to choose whether to rebuild with standard proprietary software or the emergent open source. Many picked the latter.” And by the mid-2000s, “Red Hat was the world’s largest provider of Linux…’ according to part two of the series. “Soon, Red Hat was servicing more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies.”
By then, even the most vehement former critics were amenable to Red Hat’s kind of software. Microsoft had begun to integrate open source into its core operations. “Microsoft was on the wrong side of history when open source exploded at the beginning of the century, and I can say that about me personally,” Microsoft President Brad Smith later said.
In the 2010s, “open source has won” became a popular tagline among programmers. After years of fighting for legitimacy, former Red Hat executives said victory felt good. “There was never gloating,” Tiemann said.

“But there was always pride.”
In 2017 Red Hat’s CEO answered questions from Slashdot’s readers.

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