Weeks after facing criticism in the open source community, Facebook has decided to relicense its projects, including React, Jest, Flow and Immutable.js. The company is set to switch the developments from the existing BSD + Patents and relicensed them under the MIT license.
React lately faced backlash due to its availability under the BSD + Patents license. Several developers even preferred some close alternatives to the React system that ultimately impacted the company’s existence in the fast-growing world of open source.
“We’re relicensing these projects because React is the foundation of a broad ecosystem of open source software for the Web, and we don’t want to hold back forward progress for nontechnical reasons,” Facebook’s engineering director Adam Wolff said in a blog post.
Facebook believes that the issuance of BSD + Patents license provides “some benefits” to developers deploying its projects. However, the community is not on the same track and wants an unrestricted license.
Among the critics, the Apache Software Foundation is on top. The non-profit organisation even marked the Facebook BSD + Patents license under its Category X and restricted access to React across its entire open source portfolio.
“We’re sorry for the churn,” asserts Wolff, adding that the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company doesn’t want to leave the door open for developers to move to any alternatives now.
React 16 will be the first open source project by Facebook to include the license update. This new version is an year-long effort of Facebook’s development and is completely rewritten from the previous versions.
Continue to support rebuked license for other projects
Even though Facebook has moved React and the other major projects to the MIT license, it continues to keep the BSD + Patents license for now. Wolff mentioned that since each project is different and alternative licensing options will depend on a variety of factors, the company is evaluating other projects.