A Fairytale Ending: ReactJS Drops its Patent Clause

robin hood | facebook reactjs

In a development that seems destined to silence doubters like me, ReactJS moved to relicense itself under the thoroughly open-source-friendly MIT license—dropping the “patent clause” that it had included for arguably sane reasons but that had caused WordPress to drop React for Gutenberg and Calypso, and for the Apache project to blacklist React as well.

Although it takes place in the obscure reaches of intellectual property law rather than an enchanted medieval English forest, this still feels like a Robin Hood story. WordPress isn’t exactly a “little guy” on the web, but it is next to the hundred-jillion dollar megabehemoth that is Facebook. When a project like WordPress can bend the will of those folks toward a more open web, it’s time to celebrate.

In response to the news, Matt Mullenweg wrote a polite, cheerful celebration post that was (to me) also surprisingly not “thanks React, we’ll go back to you!” Matt deserves thanks for holding on through the highs and lows of the React licensing controversy. It’s times like these that his (or the community’s? or both?) this-is-the-hill-I-die-on commitment to open source looks not only admirable, but actually awesome and a source of good decisions in the rest of the world.


Image credit: WebWallpapers

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