Wordpress reboots huge overhaul over React license
Wordpress is a household name by now, and the content management system has been more or less the same for a decade now.
The company behind the open source project, Automattic, has been working on an overhaul of the post creation experience codenamed "Gutenberg" and it's a huge upgrade because it leverages modern web technologies and allows users to create posts with a powerful drag and drop interface.
Gutenberg was built on top of Facebook's open source library, React, which allows developers to quickly build reusable interfaces on the web. It's powerful because it allows developers to boil web apps down to their components and reuse them across their apps. Facebook created React for itself, but open sourced it to the world.
Following the discovery of a quirk in the the React license a few months ago, developers were outraged: Facebook requires a full grant of your patents to the social network in order to use React in your own app, and you're not allowed to sue them at all (for anything, however unrelated it might be).
The open source community, however, disagreed. The Apache Software Foundation banned the use of React in any of its projects in July, reviving the debate and triggering many companies to look at abandoning ship. Facebook, for its part, dug in after the decision saying that it will not be making a change to the license.
Today, the repercussions of that decision have finally hit at a massive scale: Wordpress is hitting reboot on its Gutenberg project and ripping out React as a result.
The team was close to launching a campaign backing React as Wordpress' framework of choice and implementing it across the product, but is cancelling that and starting all over again – potentially delaying the project by months (after years of delays anyway).
The impact of adopting React's license on the Wordpress ecosystem could be enormous, even if the possibility of Facebook enforcing any of it is remote. It's reasonable to assume that if Wordpress rolled in the React license it would also extend to plugin developers who would inadvertently give up their rights as well.
Given that Wordpress still powers more than a quarter of a web, the decision has far-reaching consequences. It's entirely possible that Facebook may reassess the license as a result (Wordpress says it's been sitting on the release for months trying to resolve this), but it's unlikely.
Facebook is one of the biggest contributors to the open source community and has done a lot of good, but what's happening with React is a disaster and likely has far reaching consequences for any company considering integrating front-end frameworks like this in the future.
Alphabet plans to slam $1 billion into Lyft
Alphabet, the confusingly named parent company formerly known as Google, is planning to invest as much as $1 billion in Lyft, the US-only ridesharing competitor of Uber.
Why? Alphabet is investing heavily in self-driving cars through Waymo, which created that adorable little car with no steering wheel. Google Ventures also has an investment in Uber, which is being sued by Waymo for stealing technical secrets on those self-driving technologies.
Yes, the self-driving merry-go-round just keeps going around and around.
Lyft has seen a big uplift in usage following the endless scandals coming out of Uber this year, and has been looking to secure long-term funding to secure its own independence without the need to go global in the short term.
The natural end point for all ride-sharing companies is self-driving cars, but it's a question of if they're able to last long enough for the technology to become a real option. An extra billion lying around, and a partnership from Waymo, would certainly help.