Finally together

io.js officially joins the Node.js Foundation

Natali Vlatko
Hands image via Shutterstock

After initially breaking away from the grips of Joyent and Node.js, io.js has now officially signed up with the Node.js Foundation, putting an end to the community split.

The time has finally come: io.js and Node.js have been reunited under the banner of the Node.js Foundation. The ‘friendly fork’ of the Node.js runtime environment has voted to join the foundation that keeps the Node.js name, yet houses the io.js repository.

The split in the community was seen by many as something that needed fixing, and the io.js team itself conveyed a willingness to patch things up. Joyent CEO Scott Hammond announced the foundation’s inception in February via the Joyent blog, with IBM, Microsoft, PayPal, Fidelity and SAP joining as founding members.

SEE ALSO: Node.js to be governed by foundation of IBM, PayPal, Microsoft and Linux

With io.js now officially in the fold, Hammond reiterated the feelings of the Node.js team via their own blog, addressing the community split and the problems that caused the conflict in the first place:

The biggest and most obvious challenge we sought to address with the Foundation was the friction that existed amongst some developers in the Node.js community. Historically, leadership ran the project fairly tightly, with a small core of developers working in a BDFL model. It was difficult for new people to join the project, and there wasn’t enough transparency for such a diverse, passionate community to have a sense of ownership.

The team behind Node have recognised that the io.js open governance model has been a success, and thus will model the foundation on these policies to ensure “broader community engagement in the future of Node.js”. Comments are welcome on the draft governance documents here.

io.js recently reached version 2.0, which is in line with their policy of providing “faster and predictable release cycles”. Project growth for io.js has progressed faster than for Node, with the milestone io.js 1.0 release containing more capabilities with npm modules than the equivalent Node shipment.

SEE ALSO: io.js 2.0 forks out new ES6 features

Hammond’s comments about the new foundation and its acceptance of io.js-style governance have replaced his previously held views on the fork and the creation of the Node.js Incubator Program prompted Hammond to deliver Joyent’s official stance on their competitor:

io.js, what’s that? This is a project for Node.js innovations.

Times (and opinions) have changed however. Hammond now states that “reunification of the Node.js developer community remains an important goal of the foundation”. He goes on to say that in order to have a successful project, the team must remember to maintain focus on addressing the concerns of Node.js users and the ecosystem of vendors.

The hard road to harmony

A reconciliation thread on GitHub was recently closed, due to a barrage of what NodeConf creator Mikeal Rogers called “a lot of negativity and borderline trolling”. Of course, that did mean a number of frustrated users vented their grievances with the idea of reassembling the two frameworks, with one anonymous GitHub user likening io.js to an “experimental playground”.

GitHub member localpcguy observed the effects for the most important people in the mix, the end-user:

But a Foundation is absolutely needed in order for us in end-user land to be able to use Node for more than a development tool.

Regardless of the negativity, io.js and Node.js have now committed to a harmonising of the two frameworks under the one banner. Rogers assured users that the policies of the foundation are designed to preserve the progress made in io.js. “They take the liberal collaborator models and open governance of io.js almost verbatim but also back it up with a neutral organisation that can own the assets administered under those policies”.

Node.js foundation membership details are set to be finalised by early June.

Author
Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for JAXenter.com (S&S Media Group).

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