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Facebook relicenses React to continue to charm devs


Weeks after facing criticism from 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 licence, and relicense them under the MIT licence.

React faced criticism due to its availabili­ty under the BSD + Patents licence. Several developers even switched to some close alternativ­es of the React system, which ultimately impacted the company in the fastgrowin­g 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 non-technical reasons,” Facebook’s engineerin­g director Adam Wolff said in a blog post.

Facebook believes that the issuance of BSD + Patents licence provides “some benefits” to developers deploying its projects. However, the community is not on the same track and wants an unrestrict­ed licence.

Among the leading critics was the Apache Software Foundation. The non-profit organisati­on even marked the Facebook BSD + Patents licence under its Category X, and restricted access to React across its entire open source portfolio.

“We’re sorry for the churn,” asserted Wolff, adding that Facebook 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 licence update. This new version is a year-long effort of Facebook’s developmen­t team and is completely rewritten.

Even though Facebook has moved React and the other major projects to the MIT licence, it continues to keep the BSD + Patents licence for now. Wolff mentioned that since each project is different, alternativ­e licensing options will depend on a variety of factors.

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