Facebook’s new Incubator may show us how open source should work

Facebook’s new Incubator may show us how open source should work
Credit: Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com

Open Source can often feel like a lazy way to distribute software, but Facebook is giving it a bit of structure with its new Incubator hub.

Incubator isn’t for everyone: it’s limited to Facebook’s own projects. What Incubator provides is a new way to think about open source.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Facebook says successful Incubator projects will be carefully scrutinized and managed. Proper documentation, community engagement and widespread adoption will help Incubator projects graduate into their own standalone repos.

That’s not to say you can’t take advantage of Incubator projects (it’s open source, of course!). The first project seeded in the Incubator is create-react-app, a repo for creating React Web projects free of build configurations.

But we’re not really looking for repos from Incubator. Much like Stack Overflow’s new Documentation feature, Incubator may provide a new way of thinking when developing projects.

Some may see Incubator as unnecessary, but it’s a cleaner way for a large company to distribute new tools without getting lost in the GitHub whirlpool. It’s also easy to see Apple or Google following suit with similar initiatives, perhaps hosting several incubators under one account.

And smaller entities may learn a thing or two from Incubator.

The create-react-app repo already has over 6,000 stars and 300 forks, so Incubator is off to a good start. We’re not sure how Facebook plans to manage it moving forward, but we like what we see so far.

Facebook Incubator on GitHub

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