Io.js, Node.js Fork, Plans First Release for January 2015

by James Chesters on Dec 09, 2014 |

Io.js, a fork of Node.js, was officially launched this week, with the first release planned for January 2015.

With some core members of the Node.js community dissatisfied with Joyent's Advisory board, and by Node's lack of releases, core team member Fedor Indutny set up io.js. Fedor was followed by others from the community including top contributors Trevor Norris and Isaac Z. Schlueter, and Mikeal Rogers, organiser of NodeConf.

According to the project’s GitHub io.js "began as a GitHub fork of joyent/node where contributions, releases, and contributorship are under an open governance model" and it has been quick to address their perceived weaknesses in Joyent’s management of Node.js, stating that they "intend to land, with increasing regularity, releases which are compatible with the npm ecosystem that has been built to date for node.js."

As a new fork, there is little difference between Node.js and io.js at present, however in the notes relating to the initial release, Rogers says the technical committe already promises a weekly release cycle and that io.js will be "taking new v8 releases as fast as possible" -- something he says will put io.js "miles ahead of where we are today."

Node Forward, a community where anyone can work to "improve Node, JavaScript, and their ecosystem" through open collaboration has moved work relating to the Node core over to io.js, and anyone wishing to work on Node core is now explicitly directed to io.js.

In his FAQ blog post IO.js Schuetler clarifies that neither Node Forward or io.js are competing with Node.js. He says:

Does IO.js compete with Joyent or Node.js?

No. The intent of IO.js is to provide a space for the Node core team to continue to do the work of improving Node.

IO.js continues the efforts of Node Forward. We are committed to making forward progress and serving the Node.js community, both in technical and non-technical issues.

Also heading off any concerns about fragmentation Rogers says in his post of the same name that while it is a "valid concern" it is also unlikely.

This, Rogers says, is in part because io.js "will gain more contributions and more active contributors than node.js." Rogers attributes this to the io.js project being owned by a transparent Technical Committee, rather than being owned by a single company.

Rogers also points out that "git and GitHub make merging between the projects relatively simple, and since Joyent ditched their CLA both projects are free to merge between each other at will."

In what could be seen as a direct response to the io.js fork, Node.js posted an Advisory Board update on Friday. It said:

Over the last month we have made great progress on an open governance model, API standards, IP management, and transparency to ensure the project is community-driven. These efforts explicitly target helping resolve conflicts and with the goal of moving the community forward together. It is important that we understand voices of dissent and frustration and work together to build the greater ecosystem. We are committed to this goal.

Node.js remains the trusted platform that users rely on for creative projects and to drive business goals. The v0.12 release will ship shortly and the project team is already engaged in discussions about the next release.

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