In June, Databricks open-sourced all DeltaLake APIs as part of the new Delta Lake 2.0 release. This put a definite end to criticism from its competitors such as Cloudera, Dremio, Google (Big Lakes), Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, AWS Snowflake, HPE (Azmeral) and Vertica, who suspected that Delta Lake was open source or proprietary. .
Matt Aslett, research director at Ventana Research, said, “The new announcement should provide consistency and clarity for users and help counter confusion (in part by competitors) about whether Delta Lake is proprietary or open source. “
This is not the first time there has been ambiguity about the open-source nature of a tool. The best example is Microsoft’s VS Code.
Last month, Rukh Ranatunge, Member – FHIR Implementation Architecture and Technical Advisory Group Ministry of Health – Sri Lanka, mentioned in a blog post that he is switching from VS Code to VS Kodiam. In the post, he also talked about VS Code not being open source and making VS Code proprietary.
Also, in June, Licio Lentimo, cybersecurity technical consultant and software developer at CYDEO, tweeted“VS Codium is an open-source alternative to VS Code. Interestingly, Microsoft’s VS Code is not as fully open source as was previously thought.”
What is VS Code?
A major aspect of a source code editor is that it can be customized using extensions. These extensions support new programming languages, themes and debuggers, and perform static code analysis.
With the built-in source control feature, users can access control settings and view changes made to the current project. Furthermore, this feature allows users to create repositories and make push and pull requests directly from Visual Studio Code programs.
How open is VS Code?
Microsoft released a beta open-source version of VS Code in November 2015. Plus, it open-sourced the VS Code repository. However, this does not mean that VS Code is open-source. Instead, it is more accurate to say that VS Code is built on an open-source project called Code-Open Source Software (code-OSS). Code-OSS is the core layer of VS Code. It is available on GitHub under the standard MIT license.
The GitHub Repository (code-oss) is where Microsoft develops VS Code products. Here, developers write the code and modify it. They also publish their roadmap and monthly iteration in the GitHub repository.
However, Microsoft VS Code is a Microsoft licensed distribution of ‘Code-OSS’ which includes Microsoft proprietary assets and features such as Visual Studio Marketplace integration and telemetry systems that are not available in Code-OSS. As such, Microsoft follows the ‘open core model’ for VS Code and is not truly open-source.
In an open core model, the company provides a limited number of features that make up the core of the product as free and open source (FOSS) software, while many add-on features are released as proprietary.
Not just Microsoft but many other companies deploy the open core model. For example, Google built Chrome on Chromium, an open-source browser, and then modified it to include proprietary Google features, released as proprietary freeware. The same is true for Oracle JDK, Xamarin Studio and JetBrains. These applications are built on top of OpenJDK, MonoDevelop and IntelliJ respectively.
“Microsoft modifies VS Code in such a way that a non-Microsoft VS Code fork cannot use extensions from the official Microsoft VS Code Store. What’s more, some VS Code extensions developed and released by Microsoft are only available from Microsoft. Will work in VS Code and will not work on non-Microsoft VS Code forks,” Ranatunge noted in his blog post.
Microsoft has taken similar steps in the past. It modified MonoDevelop, the open-source cross-platform IDE known as Visual Studio for Mac. There are three versions of Visual Studio for Mac – for students, professionals and enterprises. While the students version is free and supports classroom learning, individual developers and small companies must log in through the IDE to access the other versions.
In 2021, Microsoft abruptly removed the hot reload functionality from the open-source .NET SDK, only to later revoke it because it angered the .NET community.
Move to VS Kodiam
As noted, Microsoft follows an open-core model for VS Code. Therefore, developers who want access to the full MIT licensed open source code must download the code from the repository and then build VS Code themselves.
The task is cumbersome for most users. This is where VS Codeium comes in handy. VS Codeium is the fully open-source software binaries of VS Code licensed under the MIT License. With VS Codium, developers don’t need to download and build from source. Instead, the VS Kodiam team builds VS Code from the source repository and uploads the binaries to GitHub. “VS Codium is a clone of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code. The sole purpose of this project is to provide you with easy-to-use binaries without Microsoft’s telemetry code,” said Abhishek Prakash, creator of It’s FOSS (a web portal focused on open source). Mentioned in a blog.
With telemetry tracking, developers are often flooded with unnecessary ads from premium versions of the various extensions they use. VS Code gives users the option to install Microsoft and third-party extensions. Unfortunately, these extensions are collecting their usage data, which cannot be disabled by disabling telemetry tracking.