You may have seen the Elastic announcement about upcoming changes to the Elasticsearch and Kibana product licenses. Without going into too many details about the implications of those changes, suffice it to say that it raised concerns within the developer ecosystem. We understand why it might be worrying to some, since SSPL (Server Side Public License) was introduced only two years ago by MongoDB; there are still some unknowns for people not versed in the subtleties of legal documents.

First, we want to acknowledge the step taken by the people at Elastic: even if far from perfect, they are trying to solve a complicated issue. We at Meilisearch are open source from head to toe: it is part of our DNA. Yet we also believe that the principles of open source—how they impact and are used in today’s world—are somewhat broken. First, contributing to open-source projects remains a privilege not everyone can afford. It’s also no secret that participating in an established project can be intimidating, even impossible. Sustainable business models require companies to juggle being profitable with staying true to their open-source roots. Truth be told, the Mountain View company isn’t the first one to find creative solutions when it comes to licensing their software in a world where any company that doesn't play by the unwritten rules can make or break your enterprise.

At Meilisearch, we don’t have a clear path yet on how our licenses may or may not evolve in the future, but for now, we are totally dedicated to being good open source citizens, not only in terms of code. We release our code (when I say our, it really means the contributors in addition to our employees) under the MIT License which is a permissive free software license. In words we can all understand, it gives you the permission to commercially use, distribute, and modify our code—even for private usage—as long as you also include the actual license and copyright information. We firmly believe it is the best open-source license for our vision.

With that said, for those of you looking for an Elasticsearch alternative, Meilisearch can be the solution for you if you use Elastic’s software mostly as a front-facing search engine. We are fast and deliver relevant and typo-tolerant search results. Our product is easy to deploy, and we provide a multitude of popular integrations. Give it a try today with Docker by building it yourself or running a build. If you find yourself in the market for a search solution, you can find all the information you need in our documentation and Slack community.

I am at your disposal if you want to discuss the mentioned changes or brainstorm about the future of open source.

Frédéric Harper
Director of Developer Relations

Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash