Node.js project wants to attract more users by getting rid of contributor license agreements

Node.js, the software platform used for scalable server side and networking applications, is shedding contributor license agreements (CLA), according to cloud computing company Joyent, the platform’s corporate stewart. By removing the need for a developer to have to sign a CLA before contributing to the open source project, the barrier to entry for developers looking to hack will supposedly be weakened, wrote Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill in a blog post on the company’s website.

CLAs are inbound licenses used by organizations that govern open source projects in order for them to define the terms under which intellectual property (IP) can be contributed. They also provide these organizations some legal ammo in case a dispute over IP ever breaks out over the software.

Node.js core lead TJ Fontaine explained in a blog post why those agreements can deter some developers from contributing to an open source project.

“It could involve a long conversation with your legal department to ultimately contribute typo corrections,” Fontaine wrote.

Although potential users won’t have to sign a CLA to use Node.js, the platform will still be administered under the MIT License to provide for legal protection and licensing endeavors. The Node.js team considers MIT Licenses to be “one of the most permissible open source licenses out there,” Fontaine wrote.