Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Licensing Concerns Overshadow Release of React 16

Facebook has released React 16, also known as React Fiber, the latest version of its JavaScript library for Web and mobile development. However, almost all of the discussion about the update has centered on the framework’s open source license rather than on its technical features.

For this release, Facebook added a patents clause to the standard BSD open source license. The new BSD + Patents license essentially prohibits React users from suing Facebook for patent infringement. The Apache Software Foundation opposes the move and has said the BSD + Patent license can’t be used on Apache products. That prompted some other developers to say that they will stop using the React framework.

In response to the controversy, Facebook posted a blog which said, “We appreciate all the issues that have been opened asking questions and engaging us. We have considered possible changes carefully, but we won’t be changing our default license or React’s license at this time. We recognize that we may lose some React community members because of this decision. We are sorry for that, but we need to balance our desire to participate in open source with our desire to protect ourselves from costly litigation. We think changing our approach would inhibit our ability to continue releasing meaningful open source software and increase the amount of time and money we have to spend fighting meritless lawsuits.”

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