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Facebook Patents Programming Apache

Facebook Petitioned To Change License For ReactJS (github.com) 43

mpol writes: The Apache Software Foundation issued a notice last weekend indicating that it has added Facebook's BSD+Patents [ROCKSDB] license to its Category X list of disallowed licenses for Apache Project Management Committee members. This is the license that Facebook uses for most of its open source projects. The RocksDB software project from Facebook already changed its license to a dual Apache 2 and GPL 2. Users are now petitioning on GitHub to have Facebook change the license of React.JS as well.

React.JS is a well-known and often used JavaScript Framework for frontend development. It is licensed as BSD + Patents. If you use React.JS and agreed to its license, and you decide to sue Facebook for patent issues, you are no longer allowed to use React.JS or any Facebook software released under this license.

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Facebook Petitioned To Change License For ReactJS

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  • The actual license is at https://github.com/facebook/re... [github.com] .

    The license would seem reasonable on the face of it, but it is not a standard BSD or other well-established license. The third clause is Facebook specific. It's just the sort of customized and confusing additions that the Open Source Initiative and the Apache projects leadership try to avoid.

    • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Saturday July 22, 2017 @10:56AM (#54857757)

      I'm afraid I'm going to have to retract part of my note. The ReactJS license if fine: it was the patent encumbered RocksDB license, which that was the issue.

      RocksDB has already corrected the issue on their end, their new license file is at https://github.com/facebook/ro... [github.com]. It was corrected a week ago today.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So in other words there is no point in commenting here except for trolling purposes, because the story itself is a non-story.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What's really odd about this whole situation is that this FB license and the associated patent grant are still more comprehensible to an average person than any of the GPL licenses are.

      I've done a very quick check, and if my counting of words is right then the GPLv2 has nearly 3000 words, and GPLv3 appears to have over 5500 words in it. The license and patent grant in question here have just over 500!

      Something is pretty fucked up with the GPL family licenses if they need 6x to 10x the number of words than t

      • This is a ridiculous argument. The number of words in a document does not indicate how comprehensible that document is.

        • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Saturday July 22, 2017 @11:58AM (#54857987)

          > This is a ridiculous argument. The number of words in a document does not indicate how comprehensible that document is.

          Or how safe. In many contracts, the devil is in the details. GPL has evolved to a longer license, and explicitly included patents in GPLv3, because various companies and individuals have tried to legally and illegally violate its stated goals. The more explicit license of GPL has helped protect us from monopoly control of media and of data, and is now helping protect developers and computer users from patent abuse.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It sure does in this case. Read the BSD license and the patent grant in question. The read the GPLv3. The BSD license and patent grant are far easier to comprehend than the GPLv3.

          Since you seem to be having trouble with this pretty basic concept, let's describe it a different way that you may be able to comprehend better. Let's say that we have a directory containing some text files, and we'd like to perform some basic manipulation on each of them.

          One programmer, when given this task, writes a 6 line Perl s

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hord ( 5016115 )

        GNU and the FSF have their own version of "Freedom" that is used as the philosophical basis for their licensing. It's a completely different mindset from the people that use MIT/BSD licensing.

  • People that request the change of license of ReactJS want to sue Facebook? That is not a good explanation on why they request a license change. It will be better if the slashdot post explains better the reassons (real reassons) why there are people requesting the change of license.
    • This was better explained on the petition "As a user of React.JS in an ASF top-level project (Apache CouchDB), please consider re-licensing React.JS under similar terms. Otherwise, many ASF projects such as our own will have to stop relying on and building with React."
  • Stop using bloated frameworks for webpages. If you want to make an application, WRITE A GODDAMNED APPLICATION!

    • by hord ( 5016115 )

      From what I have seen, React is actually pretty streamlined. You can dump HTML straight into a rendering function. Angular (especially 2) is a horrible nightmare that requires a PhD in Angular just to understand. And when you talk about bloat... write an application on which platform? I'd like to be O/S ambivalent solution which is what? Good luck with any dynamic language. What's left... Java? Bloat? HAHAHAHA.

      Face it. We're all doomed.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Here's a nickel, kid. Buy yourself a clue.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Stop using bloated frameworks for webpages. If you want to make an application, WRITE A GODDAMNED APPLICATION!

      And what language and platform should one do this? Windows? Seems pretty reasonable - after all, no one uses macOS or Linux, right? Or Android or iOS.

      Or maybe we do Android, and ignore iOS and Windows and people who use desktops?

      The reality is - the web browser has become the universal platform. With very little code, you can write an application in a web browser that runs on practically all platfor

      • And what language and platform should one do this? Windows? Seems pretty reasonable - after all, no one uses macOS or Linux, right? Or Android or iOS.

        Or maybe we do Android, and ignore iOS and Windows and people who use desktops?

        C++ with Qt works on all of those platforms and more.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Saturday July 22, 2017 @03:41PM (#54858853) Homepage Journal

    Apache 2.0 could be tweaked like this to incorporate what Facebook is trying to do. They really should do it - it's an oversight and does not do enough to squash the patent trolls. Facebook is doing the right thing for the industry, even if the wording needs help. Apache Legal might forget what these licenses are for in a misguided quest for purity.

    3. Grant of Patent License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work, where such license applies only to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed by their Contribution(s) alone or by combination of their Contribution(s) with the Work to which such Contribution(s) was submitted. If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent and copyright licenses granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This language and concept of preventing or punishing possibly justifiable legal action in a license for an open programming framework is beyond misguided, it's downright dangerous and could set a terrible precedent.

      BSD+Patents should have never been created in the first place.

That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers. - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in "Oath of Fealty"

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