Sunday, April 27th, 2008

OpenEXT: The fork

Category: Editorial, JavaScript, Sencha

OpenEXT is here. It is a fork of Ext JS 2.0.2, which was under an LGPL license (kinda…. with some invalid, non-open source licensing).

The crux of the fork is:

Ext are claiming that a fork of the existing 2.0 version is not legal, due to the way they applied the LGPL. This is likely to be incorrect, and if correct then their use of the name LGPL was grossly misleading.

At this point, developers are getting increasingly passionate, and Jack needs to make a big effort and come clean to his community to save the reputation of the project. If not, it will probably always be in a cloud of darkness as people are both confused and wonder about motives. This is not about personal attacks, but due to not having clarity on the core issues.

You will notice that most of the detractors are members of the Ext community. They aren’t out to spoil some of the work that they themselves put into the project. You see the opposite in fact when you read posts such as this one from Jason Sankey:

The saddest part about this is that the Ext team really have built a fantastic library, and a vibrant community around it. The library had all the hallmarks of an open source success story. Now, however, Ext have committed the cardinal sin of an open source project: they have undermined the trust of their own community.

There are others too.

I actually believe that Jack has been given really poor legal advice, which hasn’t helped his thinking on the issue. It has thus spiraled out of control, and needs a big humble gesture to steer things in the other direction.

If I were Jack, I would call a meeting (phone, irc, whatever) and get all of the parties together. Hash it out with an open mind, and end up with the right answer. Again, this is for the sake of the Ext JS community, customers, as well as the entire open source JavaScript community. If this doesn’t happen, you are keeping the cloud around the project, and handing contributors to other projects. No-one wants to see this happen.

In my opinion the way to protect your business and the project, isn’t through a license to protect the forking. If you have a healthy strong community, any fork by someone wouldn’t put much of a dent in you… as who would go with BobsExt when they can get the real deal. Of course, the reverse is also true, and tearing the community apart will lead to a world where you will never find the true potential.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 2:07 am

2.3 rating from 277 votes


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After one year now, what is the status of all theses fork ?

Joking :)

Comment by franck34 — April 18, 2009

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