Using the fork

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

Coman Hamilton
© Node.js

Following the release of Node.js 0.12, Joyent has announced a Node.js foundation led by major industry players. But will it help patch up the schismatic Node community?

It appears the long-awaited restructuring of Node.js leadership is finally happening. “Together with Microsoft, the Linux Foundation, IBM, PayPal, and Fidelity, the current steward, Joyent, is launching an independent foundation to oversee development of the project,” announced Scott Hammond, CEO of Joyent, the company behind Node.js.

Node “needs to evolve”

In addition to overseeing the future production of Node.js, the foundation aims to ensure the growth and evolution of the framework. The leadership change at Node.js is among several ways in which Joyent has responded to the io.js fork, which has caused a significant amount of pressure for Joyent in recent months.

Hammond admits the project “needs to evolve” in order for it to attract more contributors and enrich the community. The individuals spearheading the fork have cited Node’s sluggish development and lacking community engagement as the reasons for forking. However both sides of the rift would appear to agree that the division of the community is less than ideal.

“The only thing that could make io.js better is putting to rest the questions hanging over the future of our split with node.js,” the io.js team writes on the io.js blog. “We are eager to put this all behind us but we can’t sacrifice the progress we’ve made or the principles and open governance that got us here.”

It remains uncertain whether the two forked paths may realign at some point. While io.js may or may not be open to a reconciliation, Node is clearly showing its eagerness to catch up with io.js.

Node 0.12

After more than two years in development, version 0.12 of the Node.js framework was released last week, a major step in helping Node catch up with version 1.0 of io.js.

Among the highlights of the current stable releases are several features that have already turned a few heads in the Node scene. The most notable here are the reimplementation of streams (Streams3), changes to cluster and buffer and the new TLSWrap mechanism that reduces communication between JavaScript and C++ implementations. There’s also a revised VM, which is now based on the Conteftify module, as well as numerous changes to the API (as of Node 0.10.x).

For the first time in the history of the framework, Node.js have proudly announced that the release passed all tests on all supported platforms:

On the one hand, this seems obvious (what are tests for if not to verify before you release it?!), but this is actually the first release of Node.js that has operated under this constraint. Requiring that all tests pass before releasing Node.js marks an important development for the project, and is essential for building a solid path moving forward.

Following news that significant projects like Atom Editor have switched to io.js, Node made sure to release with a reminder to its contributors: “we’re very lucky to have you all supporting us.”

Joyent anti-fork incubator program

Joyent has largely remained on the offensive since the fork, with more cracks beginning to appear in the already tense relationship between Joyent and StrongLoop, the initiator of the fork. Joyent has launched its so-called Node.js Incubator Program, which aims to lure more contributions with Node training sessions, marketing support and up to $25,000 in cloud infrastructure credits.

SEE ALSO: What’s up with the new Node fork io.js?

This move is a clear attempt to keep app developers with Node.js, as the offer explicitly excludes users of forks. In conversation with readwrite, Scott Hammond summarised the company’s official attitude to its competition:

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

In spite of Hammond’s obvious enmity towards the fork, it seems that the schism is having exactly the effect that the io.js leaders intended for Node.js: faster, more active development, more community involvement and a shake-up of the Node leadership.

Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

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