We opened X-Pack

From open communication to open source software, openness is at the heart of Elastic. That's why we opened the private code of our X-Pack features: security, alerting, monitoring, reporting, graph analytics, dedicated APM UIs, and machine learning.

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Why did we do this?

Historically, we developed X-Pack as a set of closed-source features that extend the Elastic Stack — that’s Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash. Some features like monitoring were free, and others like alerting and machine learning were paid.

Our company is built on a healthy balance between free and open code and commercial IP. (See Shay's blog for more details.) Opening up X-Pack speeds up development and increases engagement across the entire community: everyone can contribute to, comment on, and inspect the code.

So, what changed in GitHub?

The code sitting in the private X-Pack repositories moved to the appropriate public Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash repositories.

We did not change the license of any of the Apache 2.0 code of Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash — and we never will.1 We created a new X-Pack folder in each of these repositories that is licensed under the Elastic License, which allows for some derivative works and contribution.

Making this move eliminates the overhead and complexity of syncing separate GitHub repositories, speeds up build-test-release cycles, and it means that we have one place where everyone can create and track issues.

1 Since we made this change in 2018, circumstances have changed, and we announced a further change to our licensing strategy.

How does the user experience change?

Starting with version 6.3, all of the free X-Pack features (monitoring, Search Profiler, Grok Debugger, zoom levels in Elastic Maps Service, dedicated APM UIs, and more) ship with the default distributions of Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash.

We removed all of the barriers — email registration, installation steps, full cluster restart — for users to get started with these powerful features that we believe will make you more successful with our technology.

And if you prefer to run a build that's 100% Apache 2.0 code, we will have '-oss' versions of our distributions available.

OSSFL: open source software for life

We believe in open source, and our investment in it will continue unchanged. Many businesses become more closed as they grow, but this new approach is a clear choice to make us more open and keep our business incentives aligned with our open source community. It means that everyone will develop, contribute, and test against the same source — there are no "community" or "enterprise" editions here.

We're not taking away any Apache 2.0 code — we're doubling down on open.

We are powered by you, the user

With more than 200 million downloads, there's a lot of love out there for Elastic products. We're committed to giving the best user experience possible — whether that's in the public cloud, private cloud, bare metal, or some combination thereof.

And whether you know us for the ELK Stack, the Elastic Stack, or individual products like Elasticsearch, we care about engineering great technology that you can trust well into the future.

Have additional questions?

We love a good query. Here are a few common ones to get you started.

Are Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash still open source?

Yes. We did not change the license of any existing Apache 2.0 code. We only opened the code of X-Pack under a commercial license and added it to the existing Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash repositories.

How do I contribute to Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash now that there is non-Apache 2.0 code in the repository?

The same way you always have. There are no changes to the contributor license agreement or contribution process. What did change is that you can now contribute to X-Pack features. Interested in an extra chart or view for monitoring Elasticsearch or an improvement to the Grok Debugger for Logstash? You can now participate in improving those features the same way you have with our open source products.

If the code of X-Pack is open, does that mean it's all free?

No. Many features in X-Pack are free, such as monitoring, tile maps, Grok Debugger, and Search Profiler. Some features in X-Pack are paid, and require a license that comes with a Gold or Platinum subscription.

Is X-Pack now open source?

Updated on 2018-04-24 with a link to the Elastic License

Open source licensing maintains a strict definition from the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

As of 6.3, the X-Pack code is open under the Elastic License. However, it will not be 'open source' as it will not be covered by an OSI approved license. The interaction model for open X-Pack will be identical to the open source Elastic Stack, including the ability to inspect code, create issues and open pull requests via our existing GitHub repositories.