Chef Is Now Completely Open Source
Chef announced today that their automation tools will be “100% open, always” under the Apache 2.0 license.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Chef, the popular suite of automation tools, will open-source its entire line of software under the Apache 2.0 license, it announced today.
“Going forward, we are doubling down on our commitment to OSS development as we extend our support for the needs of enterprise-class transformation,” CEO of Chef Barry Crist wrote in a blog post titled “Introducing the New Chef: 100% Open, Always.” “This means that all of the software that we produce will be created in public repos. It also means that we will open up more of our product development process to the public, including roadmaps, triage and other aspects of our product design and planning process.”
Chef Infra, Chef InSpec, and Chef Habitat were already licensed under Apache 2.0, without any restrictions to their use or distribution. The rest of Chef's product line will now join them.
The move represents a line drawn in the sand against the “open core” model of offering proprietary, paid products to commercial users alongside free, open source options — especially in light of MongoDB, Redis, and Elastic's recent shifts to open core. Open core has been a controversial topic in the open source community.
“We aren’t making this change lightly,” Crist said in his blog post. “Over the years we have experimented with and learned from a variety of different open source, community and commercial models, in search of the right balance. We believe that this change, and the way we have made it, best aligns the objectives of our communities with our own business objectives. Now we can focus all of our investment and energy on building the best possible products in the best possible way for our community without having to choose between what is ‘proprietary’ and what is ‘in the commons.’”
TechCrunch also spoke with Corey Scobie, SVP of products for Chef, who added that it was becoming more difficult to explain why certain products were open source while others weren't. “We wanted to make that conversation easier, to be perfectly honest,” he said.
Last month, major cloud provider AWS announced Open Distro for Elasticsearch, a 100% open version of Elasticsearch that includes features that were formerly proprietary. The blog post announcing the new project stated that it's not meant to be a fork and promised to push changes and patches upstream. Some open source community members were not convinced, however. Paul Dix, CTO of InfluxData, argued that AWS intends for the project to be a fork with a completely independent life, giving would-be Elasticsearch users a reason to stay in the Amazon ecosystem instead. (Full disclosure: InfluxData is a current sponsor of the DZone DevOps Zone.)
“Elastic obviously won't take [Amazon's] contributions because they're not in the scope of the open source project and only in the scope of their commercial offering,” Dix wrote. “You don't get a project owner to collaborate with you and accept your pull requests by coming out with a blog post that accuses them of doing a disservice to the community they fostered with their free code and creation.”
He predicted that the two projects would diverge more and more until they're entirely separate communities, with a negative impact on Elastic as a business. Chef's move to completely open-source its software could be seen as a pre-emptive measure to avoid a similar fate.
At the same time as the open source announcement, Chef also introduced the Chef Enterprise Automation Stack. As a commercial distribution that will also be freely available for non-commercial use, the Enterprise Automation Stack includes all of Chef's tools: Workstation, Automate, Infra, InSpec, and Habitat.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.