Popular Coding Framework Node.js Is Now Seriously Forked


Node.js, a widely used open-source framework for building Web applications, has split into two separate projects as of late Tuesday.

A group headed by some of Node’s most important contributors has “forked” the project, creating a new version it’s calling io.js. It’s a version of Node “where contributions, releases, and contributorship are under an open governance model,” its Readme file states.

See also: Why Node.js Is Facing A Possible Open-Source Schism

Tensions have been heating up in the Node.js community for some time, as Node contributors aired their grievances about Joyent—Node’s corporate lead—and its oversight. Dissidents including five of Node’s top seven contributors (numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7), expressed frustration that Joyent’s stewardship was slowing down or complicating the project.

“We don’t want to have just one person who’s appointed by a company making decisions,” Mikeal Rogers, a Node community organizer (and contributor number 27) told Wired. “We want contributors to have more control, to seek consensus.”

Joyent was aware of the contributor unrest. In one attempt to address those concerns, it created a community advisory board for Node and offered seats to several dissident contributors, including former project lead Isaac Schlueter.

When ReadWrite spoke to him in November, Joyent CEO Scott Hammond said that while a Node fork was possible, it “would certainly surprise me” given Joyent’s latest efforts to bring the community into the Node decision process. Now, the atmosphere at Joyent is more one of frustration, Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill told InfoWorld. “We really believe in the stability of Node,” he said, stating that Joyent was still trying to reach out to the leaders behind io.js.

Io.js, like Node, is a server-side software framework that lets Web applications handle user interactions in real time. (Technically, Io.js describes itself as an “evented IO [input/output system] for V8 JavaScript.”) The project also declares that it intends to stay compatible with the Node ecosystem. 

The schism, however, could have far reaching effects on Node’s business depending on which version of the software companies choose to adopt. Matt Ranney, a developer at Uber, has already tweeted that his company is opting to switch over to io.js, and other companies may not be far behind.

Photo by Mike Carbonaro

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