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Open Source
Open source licensing has always been a hotbed of debate. Oracle, for example, is still suing Google for copyright infringement over the use of Java APIs. And the complexity of open source licensing is about to get even worse.

Redis Labs, the commercial provider of the open source Redis project, announced another change to its licensing model today. The company, which just raised a $60 million Series E, had changed its license in December to include a new “Commons Clause,” which is an addition to existing open source licenses “allowing all permissions of the original license to remain except the ability to 'Sell' the software as defined in the text.”

The latest license, though, is even more explicit. According to TechCrunch, the license—which Redis Labs is calling the Redis Source Available License—allows users to access and use Redis Labs' code in their software, as long as that software isn't “a database product, caching engine, stream processing engine, search engine, indexing engine or ML/DL/AI serving engine.” In other words, it can't be a direct commercial competitor to Redis Labs.

The new license is widely seen as a move against AWS. As Salil Deshpande, managing director of Bain Capital (an investor in Redis Labs) wrote last year, “Amazon takes Redis (the most loved database in StackOverflow’s developer survey), gives very little back, and runs it as a service, re-branded as AWS Elasticache. Many other popular open-source projects including, Elasticsearch, Kafka, Postgres, MySQL, Docker, Hadoop, Spark and more, have similarly been taken and offered as AWS products. To be clear, this is not illegal. But we think it is wrong and not conducive to sustainable open-source communities.”

Redis Labs is not alone in its complaints. MongoDB Inc. recently rolled out a new license called the Server Side Public License (SSPL), which would put similar limitations on the usage of free MongoDB code by cloud providers like AWS. And Confluent rolled out a license titled the Confluent Community License that, in the company's words, “allows you to freely download, modify, and redistribute the code (very much like Apache 2.0 does), but it does not allow you to provide the software as a SaaS offering (e.g. KSQL-as-a-service).”

The incentives for these companies to change their licenses are obvious. Providers like AWS are making huge profits taking free code and running it as a service, and companies like Redis Labs would prefer to be the ones profiting.

But significant risk comes along with these new licenses. Popular open source projects draw a lot of their power from the mindshare they're able to drive—having thousands of engineers use and rely on your software is the most organic marketing you can get. Drawing the ire of the open source community, as a result, is no small danger.

MongoDB, for example, was dropped by open source giant Red Hat, with Red Hat's Tom Callaway saying “it seems clear that the intent of the license author is to cause fear, uncertainty, and doubt towards commercial users of software under that license.” Redis Labs, shortly after adopting the Commons Clause, had its code forked by Fedora and Debian engineers into a new, fully open source project called GoodFORM.

While we've seen some major wins for companies that specialize in building open source software—Red Hat's $34 billion dollar acquisition is still fresh in everyone's minds—there still is no tried-and-true playbook for these companies.

It will be interesting to see if they're able to walk this tightrope, retaining the communities that power their success, while maximizing profits.

Naval Ravikant's guide to choosing your first job in tech

Naval - Landing Your First Job In Tech
The beginning of your career is one of the hardest parts to navigate. By default, you're at a disadvantage. You probably have little-to-no professional experience, you don't know how to evaluate which company will be best for your career, and you likely don't have much of a network to lean on.
 
At the same time, your first job—especially in tech—can have an outsized impact on the rest of your career.
 
“I'm reminded of a famous example with Facebook. Adam D'Angelo was CTO,” says AngelList Founder Naval Ravikant. “Here you have (someone in his early 20s) managing 30-year-old engineers. Some of that is accredited to Zuck for just recognizing genius and promoting him up. And some of this is: It's just like that at startups. Startups are much more merit-based, rather than seniority-based.”
 
If you're just coming out of school, Naval guides, prioritize your career trajectory above all else and choose an environment where you can both build a strong network and rise through the ranks quickly. Evaluating whether a job offers both requires a framework, and Naval's is extremely simple—and effective.
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The future of consumer tech, communities, & communication

Product Hunt Radio
Benchmark Capital is one of the world’s most renowned VC firms. At its office in the heart of the Tenderloin in San Francisco, general partners Sarah Tavel and Eric Vishria get into:
  • What it’s like to go from operating to investing and the different skill sets involved in those jobs.
  • The importance of starting a company in Silicon Valley (or not), and why more startups are building outside the Valley.
  • What they look for in an investment, which spaces they’re most excited about, and why each partner only does about one or two investments per year.
“When I meet with a company that’s outside the Valley, I would get on a soapbox and talk about how they have to be here if they want to scale," Tavel says. "I always kind of thought that from zero to a couple hundred million market cap, you can build that anywhere, but to be that multibillion-dollar company, you have to be here. I still believe that, but not as strongly as I used to. It’s because you do see so many examples of companies that are getting started and are getting to some scale outside of the Valley.”
 
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