FAQ for Facebook React.js BSD + PATENTS License issue with the Apache Software Foundation

(Today we’re interviewing Shane Curcuru about the recent issues reported with Facebook’s React.js software’s BSD + PATENTS file license, and what the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has to do with it all. Shane serves in a leadership position at the ASF, but he wants you to know he’s speaking only as an individual here; this does not represent an official position of the ASF.)

UPDATE: Facebook has relicensed React.js as well as some other software under the MIT license, without the FB+PATENTS file. That’s good news, in general!

Hello and welcome to our interview about the recent licensing kerfuffle around Facebook’s React.js software, and the custom license including a custom PATENTS file that Facebook uses for the software.

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Three React-ions to the Facebook PATENTS License

There are really three aspects to your project’s decision (to use React.js or not based on the BSD+Patents license), and it’s important to consider each of them. You really need to consider which aspects are important to your project’s success — and which ones don’t really matter to you.
(See the updated FAQ about the PATENTS issue on Medium!)

  • Legal — both details of the license and PATENTS file that Facebook offers React.js under, and some realistic situations where the patent clauses might actually come into play (which is certainly rare in court, but it’s the chilling effect of uncertainty that’s the issue)
  • Technology — are other libraries sufficiently functional to provide the features your project needs? Does a project have the capacity to make a change, if they decided to?
  • Community — how does the rest of the open source community-of-communities see the issue, and care about your choices? This includes both future buyers of a startup, as well as future partners, as well as future talent (employees) or contributors (open source developers).

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Improving the Apache Member’s Meeting Experience, Part 2

Our annual Member’s Meeting for the ASF went well, resulting in some new members getting elected as well as two new directors being elected to the board. While we wait for a bit of paperwork to get filed, let’s document what needs to happen after a Member’s Meeting at Apache.

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Improving the Apache Member’s Meeting Experience, Part 1

The ASF is a membership corporation and holds an Annual Member’s Meeting every year to elect the board and nominate/elect new members.  As a volunteer-run software organization, we run this process by – wait for it – by emailing around a set of cryptically formatted text files from our private Subversion repository.  Of course, as (mostly) software people, we could make it easier on ourselves… with better software.  Shoemaker’s children, indeed.

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Vote Counting At The Apache Member’s Meeting!

The ASF is holding it’s annual Member’s meeting now, where Members get to elect a new board as well as elect new individual Members to the Foundation.  We do this by holding a live IRC meeting on a Tuesday, then we vote with secure email ballots asynchronously during the recess, then reconvene on Thursday to announce results.  But how does the meeting really work?

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What Apache Also Needs In A Board

Some great recent discussions around the upcoming member’s meeting have got me to thinking about the larger question: how can the ASF as an organization function better, and how does the board effect that? I think there is one more important concept in a board that the ASF needs to have, along with oversight and vision.

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Shane’s Apache Director Position Statement, 2017

The ASF is holding it’s annual Member’s Meeting next week to elect a new board and a number of new Members to the ASF.  I’m honored to have been nominated to stand for the board election, and I’m continuing my tradition of publicly posting my vision for Apache each year.

Please read on for my take on what’s important for the ASF’s future…

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What Apache needs in a Board

The ASF is holding it’s annual member’s meeting soon, where we will elect a new 9-member Board of Directors for a one-year term.  I’ve been honored with a nomination to run for the board again, as have a number of other excellent Member candidates.  While I’m writing my nomination statement – my 2016 director statement and earlier ones are posted – I’ve been thinking about what Apache really needs in a board to manage the growth of our projects and to improve our operations.

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Behind the scenes at Apache: Corporate Org Chart

You probably use contribute to several Apache projects.  But do you know what goes on behind the scenes at the ASF?  Besides all the work of the 200+ project communities, the ASF has an annual budget of about one $million USD to fund the services our projects use.  How we manage providing these services – and governing the corporation behind the projects – continues to change and improve.

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Dear Conference Organizers: Improving Speaker Emails

Juggling several speaking engagements coming up, I’m reminded of how hard the job of conference organizers is.  Having helped to run ApacheCon as part of a volunteer team for years, I know how hard it is selecting talks, wrangling speaker acceptances (and rejections), and ensuring your final conference schedule is appealing.  And wrangling your clunky CFP system and keeping the finicky schedule website updated are two problems that software hasn’t solved yet.

Equally important is how the conference acceptance & organization process works from the speaker’s side.  Remember?  Those people who make all the content your conference relies on?  All those people who you love and appreciate – but don’t who you don’t pay anything – and who you’ll do anything to fix last minute problems for?  While we can’t prevent all the last minute problems, there are a few simple steps to improve the speaker communication process to help prevent problems.

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