Facebook says “we will never ask you to stop using React”

Edit: React is now MIT! No need to read this post.

You may have heard recently that “Your license to use React.js can be revoked if you compete with Facebook”.

I can make up blog post titles too.

I hope that most of you can spot click-bait when you see it (and actually read the article) and know that both titles are complete rubbish. But I know that for many this is has created a little bit of fear and doubt.

But everything is OK.

A thought experiment

Let me tell you why, with great certainty, I am not concerned. Imagine that there’s some very slim chance that if your organisation was to find itself in competition with Facebook, they would be able to force you to stop using React, that they could literally say “hey, company x, take React out of your website”. OK, are you imagining a world in which that is the reality? Now, in this world where Facebook can make you stop using React and undo thousands of hours of work leaving you facing a massive rebuild, do you imagine that Microsoft and Google would be happy with the terms? Do you imagine Wordpress would be using React? You reckon airbnb is happy to roll that dice?

No. Not a chance.

But unfortunately for some, logic like this might not quite cut it.


Bring in the lawyers

Let’s send it to the lawyers, then we’ll know for sure!


You see lawyers are just like developers. From the outside we assume they’re all experts. But they have gaps in their knowledge, just like us. They have uncertainties, fears, a desire to keep their jobs.

There’s an old saying, “you don’t get fired for buying IBM”. So faced with making the call on React, saying ‘no’ is easy. It’s risk free. To a legal team it makes no difference if you use React or Angular or jQuery. But to say ‘yes’ and be wrong?

Eish. I would not want to be around when my company is told to strip React out of their website overnight.

I imagine the vast majority of lawyers would not be this cynical and just say no. But we know at least one is.

Which means someone somewhere is bailing on React for the wrong reasons.

And so, Facebook, we need one thing from you. We need to hear this:

We will never ask you to stop using React

That is all.

We already have Sophie “spicyj” Alpert’s clear response here, and Dan Abramov’s responses in the react repo, and this official but un-clarifying post, so we’re almost there.

But to put this to bed, we need a React blog post addressing the original post with the false claims. We need something that can be understood by all and interpreted in exactly one way.

And we kinda need it right now.