Congrats to Isaac & Co on their new venture around npm! Rarely can there not be controversy when open source and commercial interests combine. This proves to be no exception. Looks like yesterday’s announcement led to some confusion around what this all means for npm. Some folks are skeptical of the commercial turn of events, some have gone so far as to suggest creating a new package manager or forking. And finally, some are asking where the money they donated a few months ago to Nodejitsu’s crowdsourcing project went. In fact there was a lively discussion about this very topic at the BayNode Meetup last week.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for those of you following along at home:
- npm is a command line tool for managing and installing npm packages from a registry, public or private
- npmjs.org is a public registry for Node modules.
- Everyone knows that there have been issues in the past with the public npm registry’s uptime and availability.
- Back in November, Nodejitsu ran a crowdsourcing campaign to help raise funds to improve and run the npm registry that they operate.
- npmjs.com is a commercial company founded by Isaac Schlueter.
- npmjs.com now operates the default registry that comes configured with npm
- Due to the availability problems of the public npm registry, some individuals and companies have stood up mirrors of the public registry. We stood up one of our own last week, hosted on Rackspace, making it available for our customers and the community for free. We depend on it immensely for our own development – 36 modules and counting! We think this is a good thing for us, our customers and the community.
- You can configure npm to use a different registry, such as an alternative mirror or Nodejitsu’s mirror (which used to be the default), by either changing your .npmrc to have registry = <registryurl> or by typing npm config set <registryurl>
- Last week npmjs.com took over the sponsoring of npmjs.org and is making some architectural changes to better scale the underlying infrastructure with fast.ly stepping up to help with hosting
Let us know if we missed something in the sequence of events and where things currently stand with npm.
Want to build your own mirror? Here’s one set of instructions.
End of the day, we believe the most robust open source communities are those which figure out how to combine commercial interests with software that provides the most amount of value, for the most amount of users, both commercial and community. OpenStack and Linux come to mind immediately.
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