After getting a lot of backlash over the patent clause in React, Facebook has announced its intentions to re-license React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js under the MIT license.
For a little history, back in July, the Apache Software Foundation issued a notice indicating that it has added Facebook’s BSD+Patents license to its Category X list of disallowed licenses for Apache PMC members. This is the license that Facebook uses for most of its open source projects.
Following this, ASF member Joan Touzet opened an issue on the React repository urging Facebook to consider re-licensing React.js under Apache License v2.0 and GPL 2:
This has led to a lot of upset and frustration in the Apache community, especially from projects requiring similarly-licensed code as direct dependencies – the chief of these being RocksDB.
We (the Apache Software Foundation) have just received word that RocksDB will be re-licensing their code under the dual Apache License v2.0 and GPL 2 licenses.
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.
As well as many other React developers rallying around the Github Issue.
On Friday, Facebook’s announcement, acknowledges that the company failed to convince the open source community of the benefits of its BSD + Patents license:
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.
This decision comes after several weeks of disappointment and uncertainty for our community. Although we still believe our BSD + Patents license provides some benefits to users of our projects, we acknowledge that we failed to decisively convince this community.
The React 16 release, slated for this week, will ship with the updated MIT license. Facebook declined to respond to our request for further comment and said their post is the only public statement they will be providing.