What’s up with the new Node.js fork IO.js?
The collaborative fork of joyent/node was created by Fedor Indutny, a key Node.js player who is responsible for some of the most important parts of the Node.js runtime. The decision to fork is said to be motivated primarily by Node’s recent lack of releases and the influence of the Joyent Advisory board, who purchased the Node.js copyright and trademark in 2010.
IO.js represents the culmination of the recent Node Forward effort. Driven both by enterprises and the community, Node Forward was established earlier this year by Mikael Rogers, organiser of NodeConf. Rogers claimed at the time that “nobody prefers that work to be released as a fork” and outlined the organisation’s commitment to working with Joyent and even making them “a leader of this foundation.”
The initial aim of this effort was to create a collaborative fork under the name Node Forward. However, the team were informed by Joyent CEO Scott Hammond that the fork would run into legal trouble if they decided to use Joyent’s trademark ‘Node’.
Now, barely a few weeks after the inception of IO.js, dozens of developers have already posted open-source logos for IO.js on Github with many more debating the best choice on Twitter.
Forking the community?
Although the IO.js fork is considered a major blow to Node.js, former Joyent employee Isaac Z. Schlueter says Node Forward does not aim to compete with Node.js or Joyent.
“The goal of Node Forward is to work with Joyent and the rest of the Node.js community in order to improve Node.js. We respect Joyent’s significant investment in Node.js over the years, and we believe that a combined effort is beneficial to Joyent and to Node.” – Isaac Z. Schlueter
I’m one of the first people to put io.js into production at scale.
— Matt Ranney (@mranney) December 3, 2014
As ReadWrite’s Lauren Orsini comments, “some open-source forks have made life difficult for developers. In this case, while the Node.js/IO.js fork is real, it hasn’t yet developed into the kind of contentious situation that will force developers to pick sides.”
However, Schlueter believes that someday Node.js will be reunited once again with the IO.js faction, as soon as Joyent is ready to let others participate in the decision-making process. Either way, the field of Node.js is about to change.