Mostly Cloudy: AWS will donate cloud credits to open-source projects

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

As it seeks to bolster its street cred in the open-source world, AWS will provide credits to open-source projects that want to use its cloud infrastructure for building and testing new code.

“Typically, these credits are used to perform upstream and performance testing, CI/CD, or storage of artifacts on AWS,” Arun Gupta and Vincente wrote in a blog post Monday kicking off the All Things Open conference in North Carolina. Widely used open-source projects need a fair amount of computing power in order to test whether new contributions to the project will work at scale, and that can be expensive for small groups or nonprofit organizations.

It’s fair to say that AWS and various open-source communities have eyed each other warily as AWS grew into its current position of power, and it’s also fair to say that over the last few years AWS has worked hard to shed its perception as an open-source steamroller. The primary compliant was that AWS benefited greatly from open-source projects that customers wanted to use on its cloud servers without contributing much — if anything — back to the open-source community.

AWS is probably a few years behind Microsoft in terms of erasing suspicions about its true open-source intentions, but the cloud leader appears to be taking those concerns seriously and has stepped up its contributions back to the community with projects like Firecracker. On the other hand, it has also released its own versions of open-source projects that changed their licenses to exclude AWS, including MongoDB and Elastic.

The credits program will give AWS a way to pick winners based on its own corporate values, according to the post:

Assuming that they meet the basic eligibility requirements (in the blog post), we will be examining applications on the basis of their relevance to AWS and its customers. The Amazon Leadership Principles will be used as the guiding light to select the projects. We’ll also generally favor projects with maintainers from multiple entities or that are owned by foundations or non-profits.

Eligible projects will also probably have to use a license approved by the Open Source Initiative, which might preclude projects that have chosen the controversial restricted licenses for their projects. Still, AWS also encouraged projects using licenses that lack OSI approval to apply for the credits.

Well-known open-source projects like the Rust programming language, AdoptOpenJDK, and Cloud Native Computing Foundation-managed projects such as Kubernetes, Prometheus, and Envoy will all be using credits from AWS for building and testing new code, according to the blog post. The credits will expire after one year, and it’s not exactly clear how or if they will be extended beyond that period.