WordPress

WordPress, React, and The Future

On September 14, Matt Mullenweg announced that WordPress was rethinking its use of the React.js library due to Facebook’s clarification on its patents.

The short story: Facebook released React under a modified “open-source-ish” license (called BSD+Patents) that allow them to judiciously revoke the patent if a service violates the terms of service (specifically, if they use React to build a system that would compete with Facebook).  In doing so, the Apache Foundation has condemned the license and placed it in their “category X” group – disallowed for use on Apache projects.

With over 25% of the web powered by WordPress, Matt Mullenweg states, ‘having them all inherit the patents clause isn’t something I’m comfortable with’.

At the end of the day, a large company like WordPress shunning a software package would normally be a death knell, but it’s basically putting two Internet superpowers against each other. I know personally I’ve been trying to decide on a JavaScript framework to branch into, and this has caused me to have pause with regards to React.js.

I think that this is a great time for WordPress/Automattic to do what they’ve done with projects in the past: create a brand new (or purchase the rights to an existing) framework library, rebrand/revitalize it, and license it the same way they’ve licensed WordPress products in the past.  With WordPress’ front-end quickly being excised from its back-end system, this could be just the push needed to create something that would do for JavaScript frameworks what WordPress did for blogging: revolutionize it.


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