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Facebook U-turn: React, other libraries freed from unloved patent license

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Zuck the Moron

Unless Failbook decides to grant free use of their patents much like Red Hat is doing people will be wary of using their libraries. Failbook has not figured out if they are using patents offensively or defensively.

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Nice one WordPress

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First time anyone has had reason to say that in years.

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That might be a stretch. "Anyone" includes bad guys and TLAs.

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damn...

Now that re-adds react to our front end framework review. Just when we'd managed to narrow it down.

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Re: damn...

Compare .JSX to .VUE. That should boot React back out again. After that, what's to consider? Angular vs. VueJS[1] which pretty much boils down to how committed to TS you are and whether single file components give you naughty tingles.

[1] Yes, there's Aurelia, Preact, Ember (!?) and other "boutique" options, but if you're doing a "review" and worry about patent litigation you must be semi-corporate which legislates against obscure, niche players.

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Re: damn...

Vue is SO much nicer.. and not patent encumbered...

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Result

A little unexpected as their last post on the subject had the ominous air of finality about it. Glad to see that commonsense has won out here.

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Re: Result

Glad to see that commonsense has won out here.

Commonsense? They are running scared - If every other project stops using stuff they 'own', they don't get others working on their stuff for free.

They can eat the cake, but they can't 'have' the cake. Too many groups worried they'll turn around and 'have' them too.

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Not really an U-turn, still an attack on the Open Source Definition

Adam Wolff makes some very troubling statements:

(1) "Next week, we are going to relicense our open source projects React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js under the MIT license."

(2) "This shift naturally raises questions about the rest of Facebook's open source projects. Many of our popular projects will keep the BSD + Patents license for now."

Both of these statements clearly indicate Facebook considers their Patents license clause to still be part of an Open Source license. This claim throws away the community established Open Source Definition as stated by the non-profit Open Source Initiative by replaces it with Facebook own for-profit definition of "open source." Their corrupted BSD license is not an OSI approved license and therefore none of the projects covered by it is Open Source. There is no such thing as "rest of Facebook's open source projects." There is simply the rest of Facebook's projects which are source code available under non-open source terms.

While Adam Wolff's announcement that React, Jest, Flow and Immutable.js will now finally be put under a true open source license is a welcome change, the fact he feels Facebook can unilaterally redefine them as always having been open source is a major problem.

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Re: Not really an U-turn, still an attack on the Open Source Definition

I agree - this is probably a face-saving thing. Perhaps the silly PATENTS file was his idea in the first place or something and he doesn't want to say it was universally a bad idea.

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A license does not need to be "approved" by the OSI

A license does not need to be "approved" by the OSI for a project to be open source. Open source refers to transparency and the ability of a third party to review the code, and is separate from providing a license to USE the code.

I personally prefer to release my code under a derivative of the MIT license, but as long as ALL of the source code is available for review by third party the software is open source whether the license to USE the code has been "approved" by the OSI or not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not really an U-turn, still an attack on the Open Source Definition

They are fully entitled to call it open source despite what the OSI say. Because it IS OPEN source.

But what right have the OSI got to call themselves that when they have nothing to do with Open Systems Interconnections - The "OSI model" for computer networks has exists for 40 years. Blatent passing off.

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Do you have software patents?

In this case, the difference in license only comes into play if you have patents that you and you accuse Facebook of violating them. If you don't have patents, and most software developers don't, then there IS no difference between their derivative license and the OSI approved one.

I see this more of a poorly executed way to preemptively protect themselves against patent trolls, but since it could be used as a weapon against legitimate patent holders it is bad news and should go away in its current form.

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Anonymous Coward

IANAL .....

Can someone without a zuck/facebook axe to grind explain how their license encourages patent ligitations, when it appears to do the EXACT opposite?

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