ArchiTECHt Daily: What does RethinkDB's resurrection say about the future of open source?

The RethinkDB saga that has played out over the past few months has been remarkable, culminating (for
ArchiTECHt Daily: What does RethinkDB's resurrection say about the future of open source?
By ARCHITECHT • Issue #12
The RethinkDB saga that has played out over the past few months has been remarkable, culminating (for now) on Monday with the news that the Cloud Native Computing Foundation has bought the company’s source code from creditors and donated it to the Linux Foundation. It’s a story that probably says a lot about the future of open source, although what is not entirely clear to me.
If you haven’t been paying attention, here are a few must-read posts (apart from Monday’s news linked to above):
A common rationale for why RethinkDB went out of business is that the database industry is really hard. Open source or proprietary, it’s difficult to get heard above the noise from so many other options. And even if your technology is good, it needs to be good enough to convince people to switch over from something they’re already using and continues to improve. In RethinkDB’s case, that was largely MongoDB.
And, of course, the next, biggest trick is convincing users they should pay for software licenses rather than just support (which alone is not a very lucrative business) when the open source version is already so capable. This 2014 post from Andreessen Horowitz partner Peter Levine breaks down why that’s so hard to do: Why there will never be another Red Hat: The economics of open source.
(I don’t know a lot about Redis or Redis Labs, for example, but I do suspect that company’s decision on Monday to rebrand its product lineup around “Redis Enterprise” has everything to do with this discussion. Up front, it lets potential users know this is not free software or cloud services, although some of it is free to start.)
From a strategic point of view, it makes sense that CNCF would want to save RethinkDB, a technology that many people like and that would be a good fit with what CNCF is trying to do (largely via Kubernetes) should the RethinkDB community decide to move the project there. CNCF is also a Linux Foundation, um, foundation. 
But in terms of the future of open source software, the move also seems to signify something about the relationship between software foundations, startups and money. I’m not sure what that is at the moment, other than that I don’t suspect we’ll see too many startups forming businesses around Apache projects, for example, much less seeing whole markets like Hadoop emerge again.

Source: VentureBeat
Source: VentureBeat
Around the web: Artificial intelligence
A nice history lesson, turned lesson about learning machines, from a member of the Google DeepMind team.
But reading between the lines, it might suggest a problem with (1) starting to do research to soon and (2) trying to do research—especially AI research—in private.
If you’re just coming around on deep learning, you can never have too many of these. I tried my hand at one on 2013; this is one is better ;-)
Normally, if I think something is not worthwhile, I just don’t post it. In this case, though, I feel the need to point out that I’ve seen other companies follow this path and fail. It’s not a good fit.
This is not for the weekend developers out there hacking on TensorFlow, but could be a decent pivot for an HPC vendor seeing a lot of heavy computing happening to train deep learning models.
Around the web: Cloud and infrastructure
A potentially cool acquisition that contingent on customers want “on-prem” AWS. We might have seen that story before.
Not sure all these criticisms are accurate, but this gives people something to think about as they make the move to containers. Mainly, that good orchestration is necessary for important workloads.
Ignore the hyperbolic headline on the original and take note that “serverless” computing or function-based computing, or whatever you want to call it, is going to be big. is an early mover in the startup space.
Source: Apache Zeppelin
Source: Apache Zeppelin
Around the web: All things data
Interesting if only because you know CERN puts its data systems through a workout. In this case, it likes Parquet or Kudu, or a hybrid system with HBase for random lookups.
A move that speaks volumes about Microsoft’s growing presence in the cloud. Azure already offers Spark via HD Insight, but people do seem to like what Databricks has built.
Speaking of Spark and analytics, the latest Apache Zeppelin release is out. There are a couple startups trying to make a business out of Zeppelin’s notebook capabilities. 
Did you enjoy this issue?
The most interesting news, analysis, blog posts and research in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and software engineering. Delivered daily to your inbox. Curated by Derrick Harris. Check out the Architecht site at
Carefully curated by ARCHITECHT with Revue. If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here. If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.