I don’t often do a pure opinion piece but I feel compelled to weigh in on a queston I’ve been asked several times since EMC released its Pivotal HD recently. The question is whether it is somehow inappropriate, even “evil,” for EMC to enter the market without having “enough” committers to open source Apache projects. More broadly, it’s about whether other people can use, incorporate, add to and profit from Apache Hadoop.
The fact is, there is an entire industry building products atop Apache open source code – and that is the point of having Apache license its projects and provide the other services it does for the open source community. The license permits such use, and companies using the Apache web server, Lucene and SOLR, Cassandra and CouchDB, and many others are everywhere. Others are building BI tools or DI tools that integrate with Apache Hadoop, or selling consulting to incorporate it into solutions. Again – that is the point. Having some components of your solution stack provided by the open source community is a fact of life and a benefit for all. So are roads, but nobody accuses Fedex or your pizza delivery guy of being evil for using them without contributing some asphalt. Commercial entities (including software and IT services providers) provide needed products and services, employ people and pay taxes. We might want them to do more charitable work or make more open source contributions , and some do, but they are not morally obligated to do so. Some IT companies make huge commitments to charitable activities and some don’t – the same is true in all sectors of the economy.
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