Apple’s reported purchase and shuttering of FoundationDB angers developer community

Picture credit: Flickr/macwagen

Apple’s reported acquisition of database provider FoundationDB, only to then shut it down, has caused outrage among developers.

A quick look at the FoundationDB community page gives the following update: “Thank you for your support of FoundationDB over the last five years. We’re grateful to have shared our vision of building the best database software and we strongly value your participation in this community. We have made the decision to evolve our company mission and, as of today, we will no longer offer downloads.”

Note the ambiguous ‘evolve our company mission’ subtext. Yet all this would have been fine, had FoundationDB’s new owners – one would assume Apple – not taken all of its public repositories off GitHub. An open source database instantly became a closed one, and developers took to Hacker News to complain.

“The acquire-hire-kill cycle for startups that target developers has become really frustrating,” wrote one. “I’d love to try a lot of these new products, but it’s hard to know if it’s worth my time.”

Another wrote: “I feel really bad for all other database startups out there. I’m sure this is sending a negative shockwave through every devops team out there to not use up-and-coming databases.” Others bemoaned the fact they had used FoundationDB repositories which now couldn’t be accessed, putting their projects in jeopardy.

According to a Business Insider report, Apple is aiming to replace its internal databases storing among other things iMessage and iTunes data – currently running off Cassandra – with FoundationDB. The company made a spate of acquisitions in 2013 and 2014, including music analytics provider Semetric and search monitoring firm Topsy.

This shuttering reminds DeveloperTech of LinkedIn’s decision in February to cut off access to its API. Adam Trachtenberg, director of the LinkedIn developer network, claimed at the time that “while many [apps from the developer community] delivered value back to our members and LinkedIn, not all have.”

Anyone who was previously using FoundationDB and is now stuck can try and find some caches here, or alternately can email for any “technical questions.”

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