Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

You gave an impressively long comment, but here are my two cents:

There’s no precedent to set here. There’s already a license for BSD+PATENT, and it’s called Apache license. Is Apache setting a bad precedent as well?

Additionally, it’s not like companies licensing open source work under customized license is uncommon — tons of software do that, and Facebook is by no means the first. For example, OpenJDK customized GPL by adding a classpath exemption.

Why then, do you need to give Facebook special treatment, and make this look like a dangerous slippery slope? Oh yeah, because Facebook is a evil megacorp that’s “hostile to the open web”. How is this, as part of a discussion about the license, “completely and utterly pointless”?

This whole argument could be summarized into we want GPL, react’s license is not GPL (“In WP we take no exceptions to GPL compliance”). That’s it. Instead, you have to point to supposedly evil motives behind putting the PATENT file there, and yes, I’ll say it, using not-so-true arguments to spread FUD and perform a character assassination. It’s ridiculous.




FWIW because Apache is a thing, I always assume BSD/MIT means only what the license says it means. This is actually why I prefer large projects adopt Apache because it holds a lot more water by being an actual license with real legal language rather than just something cobbled together by programmers (though as a programmer I have to admit I prefer the brevity of BSD/MIT).

I don't understand how anyone complaining about the FB patent grant could honestly bet the farm on any implicit grants in BSD/MIT style licenses. The only logical conclusion if you're that scared of patents is to avoid anything without an explicit patent grant, i.e. sticking to Apache, GPL and friends.


> There’s already a license for BSD+PATENT, and it’s called Apache license. Is Apache setting a bad precedent as well?

That comparison is incorrect because the termination clauses are different. The patent license under Apache only terminates if you sue about the specific patents covering the software. By contrast, the Facebook patent license terminates if you sure Facebook (or an affiliate -- who is that?) over any patent whatsoever (including patents not covering the software, such as unrelated patents you own and which Facebook is infringing willfully because they know you dependent on React in your products).


Note that we're not talking about the specific details about the licenses. We're talking about "companies setting a precedent".

> > This point is irrelevant even granting the assumption that it does. You're inspecting the wording of the patent grant and gauging whether it is theoretically effective in deterring patent litigation and thereby conferring some kind of benefit to users of the software is (correct?).

You are also talking about the irrelevant stuff here.

I have no doubt Apache is a better license. But what Facebook is doing is by no means something new.


I'm not sure why you want to twist this in to something else.

> Instead, you have to point to supposedly evil motives behind putting the PATENT file there

No where do I imply FB has evil motives for instituting the patent clause, nor do I hold FB to account for putting it there, I don't even dispute in any particular way that it deters patent litigation (at least not for FB), nor do I speculate FB will use the clause offensively. It's their choice and it's reasonable from their point of view. It's a big corporation doing things in a big corporation way.

> perform a character assassination

I think you've assassinated my above comment. What I've stated here about FB is not unreasonable or unfair. It's very odd that you would feel the need to defend a corporation as if you are describing a person (character assassination?). Tell me what is factually incorrect about the way I've described FB here? It matters what effect this corporation has on the wider ecosystem. Corporations of that nature behave in a way to maximize their own interests. This is not a commentary on its developers or even their legal team, it's just acknowledging FB for what it is.

> we want GPL, react’s license is not GPL (“In WP we take no exceptions to GPL compliance”)

It's rather ironic that you took issue to my earlier comment calling out an ignorant and arrogant notion, then make several of your own. The assumption that this is about being hard line about one variation of an OSS license obscures the fundamental objections here (why leave out the fact that I referred to "compatibility", which many licenses are). I have no special affinity for GPL, nor do most others in WP. It's a license that conveys certain freedoms and levels the playing field, this is all I care about.

The 'no exceptions' is a simple first principle in play in the WP ecosystem that acknowledges that all parties should be party to the same conditions in order the obtain the maximal benefit for all users. The WP community has been fairly aggressive in doing that and it has paid off in a big way. Over time there's been some push back from some individual companies wanting to license things in their own more restrictive way (thereby taking away freedoms from other users). Some businesses were resistant about that thinking it would undermine profits, but this has proven to be false. In fact very few companies operating in the WP space use complicated licenses even where it is perfectly kosher (a split license on CSS is fine but hardly used by theme developers for example). This has done great things for the ecosystem, almost all themes & plugins and apps have a simple to understand license that provides great freedoms - everybody benefits.

This is a nuance that might not be grasped when people are just looking at the patent clause in a vacuum, but the way we've pressured compliance has been possible on the basis that no company is a special snowflake, everybody gets to play by the same rules. Putting React in core dents our ability to reason on that basis (this not a unanimous opinion but lack of unanimity to the contrary undermines WP reputation on this issue irregardless).


But I indeed talked about your “fundamental rejection” here: as I explained in the first half of my comment, no special treatment is given for Facebook, at all.

The fact that they happen to be a “evil megacorp” should not change this at all.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: