15 Comments

  1. Drew Jaynes

    I think it’s easy as users of OSS to feel like you have a stake in the future of that software, but maybe that only really extends to the point of refusing to use it if your voice isn’t acknowledged.

    Devil’s advocate: Why should Facebook open source their decision making process? They don’t necessarily owe anything to the community that’s risen around the software they chose to open source. They still own it, and they still call the shots.

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    • Carl Hancock

      They can indeed call the shots. They can do what they want. But this patent clause, for the reasons in some of the great examples of real life situations in that Github thread, should give WordPress serious pause about including React in core and to power key functionality.

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      • Howdy_McGee

        Well, Gutenberg is already in full force and entirely driven by React. They’d have to rewrite it or scrap the project neither of which I think they would do.

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        • Carl Hancock

          If companies are already actively avoiding React due to the patent clause on advice of their legal teams… companies will also avoid using and building anything substantial on top of WordPress for the same reasons.

          The excuses some people use to support it by saying companies like Apple have backed down and allow some teams within the company to use React falls apart when you realize that yes… they are letting some teams use it… BUT they aren’t building key products or sites with it. Apple has used it for things like a documentation site for something minor. Inconsequential.

          That isn’t the case for how a lot of people use WordPress to create all kinds of types of sites and even applications.

          What happens when Company A builds something cool using WordPress. Company B likes it and wants to acquire Company A. But during due diligence their legal department red flags the fact React is present in the WordPress mix… and because (if…) WordPress adopted it for core… Company A built their product with React too because they wanted to use what WordPress is using. Company B than pulls the plug in the acquisition because they own some unrelated patents and legal says no go to the React license because of it.

          Another great example of a real world scenario can be found in the Github discussion right here:

          https://github.com/facebook/react/issues/10191#issuecomment-316380810

          These are real scenario and why the React license issue should not be overlooked or brushed off by the WordPress community.

          The silence from the core team and decision makers on this issue in light of the Apache Foundation’s move and the many examples of how the patent clause can be a hinderance to adoption in the discussion surrounding the Apache Foundation’s decision… is deafening.

          Why isn’t this being publicly addressed? Why isn’t WordPress publicly backing those in the React community who are pushing for Facebook to make this change?

          WordPress is big enough to have some influence. More than a bunch of individual Github developers. Why isn’t it leveraging that influence?

          Facebook can license it’s code however it wants. But OS projects like WordPress and other React developers can voice their desire for it to change it and opt to not use it if they do.

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      • Chuck

        “If the freedom of software intellectual property is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington, March 15, 1783

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    • Jon

      Your devil’s advocate question is akin to asking “Why should Coke change its formula to remove strychnine?” While a little extreme it is an apt analogy. This BSD+Patents licensing is causing some huge problems.

      The thing is, Facebook runs the risk of React becoming unusable. I have already seen threads from other developers who are talking about moving their ReactJS-based projects over to VueJS. This will also bring about a shift in developers from ReactJS to VueJS, AngularJS, or whatever framework they switch to.

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  2. David McCan

    @Carl, I agree. I’m worried that not enough consideration went into the decision.

    Thank you, Sarah, for the good reporting in this and the previous article.

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  3. PREDIKSI TOGEL

    i think that Facebook is gone to far,,, they really want to rule the world now…

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  4. Tim Kaye

    How Facebook chooses to license its products is a matter for Facebook.

    Which software Automattic chooses to use is a matter for Automattic.

    Which software gets bundled with distributed WordPress (i.e. from wordpress.org) is subject to the trusteeship of the WordPress Foundation.

    So what has the Foundation to say about the potential bundling of React with WordPress? Its current silence looks like a dereliction of duty.

    Has it taken legal advice? If so, what did that advice say? If not, why not?

    Maybe Facebook will decide to change the terms of the React license and render all this moot. If not, and React gets bundled with self-hosted WordPress, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see someone take legal action against the WordPress Foundation for breach of trust.

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  5. Erik Joling

    Maybe Automattic should actively join the petitioners. They are invested in React. An improvement of the license would indirectly benefit them greatly.

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    • Jeffrey

      Yeah, we need more big companies to join the petition to get the real attention of Facebook.

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    • Peter

      We don’t. The world can nicely exist without React, Automattic or Facebook. What we need is just to stay independent and don’t rely on decisions taken by these companies. Just invest our energy to open source and GPL – products of everybody, not products of these companies.

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  6. sky

    Oof. Just had a discussion about this at my local WordCamp, and the opinion of the Automattician I was speaking with was that REACT was most likely going to be chosen over VUE. I don’t see how that can work unless Facebook re-licenses it.

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    • George Stephanis

      Really, there’s only one Automattician whose opinion on this really makes a difference, and he’s not decided yet.

      There’s more momentum behind React right now, because there seems to be more institutional knowledge and experience by the developers involved in the projects that are working on it, but licensing issues can be a blocker and necessitate a pivot. I honestly could see it going to Vue before merging.

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      • Rick Gregory

        While I get the familiarity issue, that’s an incredibly poor reason to use when deciding this issue. Developers learn new things all the time. It’s a core skill, frankly. No well run organization makes strategic decisions based on whether or not some developers have to learn new things or not.

        But then, I’m starting to wonder about WP. It feels, still, like a one man show and no matter how good and well-intentioned that person, that’s not really a healthy way to run things.

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