Opinion Split On Node.js and io.js Reconciliation

At the beginning of December last year Mikeal Rogers wrote a piece on Medium in which he posed the question “can any company be trusted with the ownership of a community driven open source project?” which more or less coincided with the creation of io.js in which one of the underlying messages was that the incentive for a company to be involved in these projects was to extract value from them over being involved in creating them.

Whilst io.js enjoys not being under the remit of corporate governance and slower release times, Rogers explains an analogy in which a company can have the same incentive as the community on open source projects as being a bit like owning the biggest house next to a community park (the open source project which people have lovingly manicured) – as long as the house does not own the park, essentially the same interests are shared.

This week’s Reconciliation Proposal included the recommendation that the Node.js Foundation would adopt various documents from io.js including Governance in which the Technical Committee, formed by the split of Node to oversee technical affairs, would have final authority over the project, i.e. the reconciled entity on technical direction governance and policy and sets out a draft for membership and collaboration.

Node.js has become somewhat of a juggernaut since it’s first release and with a large following from startup to enterprise, the proposal also addresses (through it’s roadmap document) issues relating to debugging and tracing and ecosystem automation in order to address concerns about release time and bring feedback from the technical and business community back into the project.

Whilst the debate is there for all to see, some contributors sense that the proposal has been a slightly one sided affair so far with suggestion that io.js might be better served by carrying on the trajectory of it’s own ecosystem rather than pursuing an accord.

Rogers will be presenting at NodeConf in Oslo on the 23rd May this year but don’t expect any big announcement by then. Consensus in the community is that any type of reconciliation would take a long time to complete but in the meantime, the message boards, issues and forums will be lit up with ideas running back and forth.

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About Gary Donovan

Machine Learning and Data Science blogger, hacker, consultant living in Melbourne, Australia. Passionate about the people and communities that drive forward the evolution of technology.
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