Facebook has now successfully re-licensed React under the MIT license.
Before that Facebook was using their own ‘BSD+Patents License’. Things began to change as the Apache Foundation officially announced that none of its software projects can include Facebook’s BSD+Patents licensed code.
Chris Mattmann, Apache’s legal affairs director said that frameworks, tools, and libraries maintained under Facebook's open-source-ish BSD+Patents license should not be used in any new project. Mattmann said that if anyone has developed projects with Facebook React.js license, they are allowed to exterminate it on or before August 31, 2017, and should find a license that is compatible with the foundation policies.
"No new project, subproject or codebase, which has not used Facebook BSD+Patents licensed jars (or similar), are allowed to use them," Mattmann wrote. "In other words, if you haven't been using them, you aren't allowed to start. It is Cat‑X." The licenses that are not acceptable to use in any Apache project comes under Cat-X and right now it includes BSD-4-Clause, BCL, GNU LGPL, GNU GPL, Microsoft Limited Public License and more. Apache has clearly mentioned a list of licenses on their official site that are not allowed to incorporate with any Apache products.
In September, Automattic declared that it would stop React inclusion with its Gutenberg editor project unless they change their license. But now there is no need to worry about this problem, as Facebook has now successfully changed the license for all its open source projects which includes React, Flow, Jest, Immutable.js and others.
Explaining the conclusion, Facebook engineering director Adam Wolff wrote that “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.”
Here’s all that transpired.
April 20: Question Raised to ASF Legal about RocksDB Integrations
Apache Cassandra put a question to Apache Software Foundation Legal as to whether they can use RocksDB as a direct dependency to expand its storage, which was a 3 clause BSD licensed.
July 15: ASF Banned BSD+Patents License
After a long debate, Chris A. Mattmann, Vice President of ASF’s legal affairs stated that Facebook’s BSD+Patents license is not well-suited with Apache Software Foundation policies to use as a dependency.
July 15: RocksDB Changed its License
RocksDB switched to Apache 2.0/GPL2 from its BSD-plus-Patent license. This signifies that RocksDB is now consistent with all Apache Software Foundation policies.
Aug 18: Facebook Stated that they are not going to Change their BSD+Patents License
Facebook announced that they will continue with the same BSD+Patents license because they strongly believe that it offers some special features to their users and the change may affect them a lot. This prompted few companies such as Hacker News, freeCodeCamp and Reddit to think about React substitutes.
Sep 22: Facebook Announced its Shift to MIT License
Facebook declared that it is going to change the BSD+Patents license to MIT license. This is mainly because of React, which is the heart of open source software that comes under BSD license. And they don’t want to desist it for non-technical reasons.
“Wordpress, a blogging platform that is maintained by the Automattic, says it is now happy and beneficial with the Facebook license change and they are ready to use Facebook open source libraries in their future projects.”
Sep 25: Facebook Officially Shifted to MIT License
Facebook announced officially that now it has shifted to MIT license that is agreed upon by the ASF.
Sep 26: Facebook Released React 16
Facebook released the updated version of React i.e React 16 which includes license updates as well. Therefore, React now again remains as the most approved tool for web development.
Facebook team has worked on it for more than a year and finally achieved its goal. Moreover, they have rewritten the code that provides special and unique features to help developers create UIs that are superior to the existing ones.