Mikeal Rogers, a former Node core contributor and current community lead of that rival, IO.js, posted a proposal for healing the breach late Thursday in the IO GitHub repository.
“A lot of questions have been coming our way about what a merger of the node.js and io.js projects might look like,” Rogers wrote. “People in both projects want to know their work won’t be thrown away and that we can preserve the positive aspects of each project.”
There’s also a copy of the proposal in Node’s GitHub repository, so there’s no doubt Joyent is aware of this new development. The debate is lively; the proposal has attracted nearly 100 comments from developers in the community.
Rogers wrote that the post is a draft and is “will be continually updated and edited based on input from the community.” Community concerns center around the divergent philosophies of Node, which favors stability for corporate clients, and IO, which is driven by developers who want to push the envelope with new technologies.
Another major concern is that Node’s leadership is currently in flux. Former corporate steward Joyent is handing off control to a new foundation, but it’s not yet clear how this organization will run. IO advocates are rooting for an inclusive and democratic model that will allow prolific contributors a big say in Node’s future direction; they fear, however, that the foundation will instead favor the interests of Node’s big corporate users.
Tensions ran high during February’s Node Summit, where attendees referred to the Node/IO split as “the elephant in the room.” Node, now four years old, is now established enough that it no longer needs to convince people to use it. But the public infighting could also hold it back if it casts doubt on its reliability and continued development.
Community leaders on both sides of the schism have made it clear that a reconciliation is a top priority. As Joyent CEO Scott Hammond said, everyone involved wants the same thing—a community-driven project.
This draft proposal may be the first step to crossing the divide.
Photo by Matthew Rutledge