Fork in the road for Node.js

Node.js, the popular server-side JavaScript environment, may be heading for a fork as a group outside of Joyent has posted its own project on Github.

[company]Joyent[/company] has been the de facto guardian of Node.js for some time, but now another group appears to be backing io.js implementation, according to Infoworld, Wired and other sources this week.

Here’s the blurb from the Github io.js Readme file on the project:

This repository began as a GitHub fork of joyent/node where contributions, releases, and contributorship are under an open governance model.

We intend to land, with increasing regularity, releases which are compatible with the npm ecosystem that has been built to date for node.js.

The feeling among the io.js contingent seems to be that Joyent’s move in October to set up a Node.js Advisory Board came too late to settle differences in how the project is managed. Infoworld’s Paul Krill interviewed io.js contributor Mikeal Rogers about why the group went this route.

No one can say this is a surprise. There’s been angst in Node.js land at least since late last year when a spat erupted between two top Node.js contributors, which caused considerable bad feeling.

Talking to media, Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill downplayed concerns that the dual projects will lead to fragmentation and said Joyent has reached out to the io.js team.

The stakes are high. Node.js has seen great traction in companies including [company]LinkedIn[/company], [company]PayPal[/company], Uber, [company]Yahoo[/company] and [company]The New York Times[/company].

Presumably, none of these Node.js players want that momentum to stall.

Bryan Cantrill at Structure 2014. Credit: Jakub Mosur

Bryan Cantrill at Structure 2014

Photo credit: Jakub Mosur