Is JavaScript an open source project?

JavaScript is not a “project”.

Rather, there is the ‘specification’ of the language (the ECMAScript standard), and then there are many ‘implementations’ of that standard. These are generally quite separate projects made by separate people. Many popular programming languages are developed in a similar way, having a variety of implementations of a single standard.

It’s possible that a language may have an open source implementation, but the standard may not be “open” — it’s changes may be controlled by a single corporate entity for its profit. Or, the standard may be “open” and developed collaboratively, but there may be only one implementation which is not open source, or, the only “good” implementations may be proprietary.

JavaScript, in particular, is an implementation of the ECMAScript language standard and is primarily used in the form of client-side JavaScript, implemented as part of a web browser in order to provide enhanced user interfaces and dynamic websites. This enables programmatic access to computational objects within a host environment.

Because of its open standard, ECMAScript is open but not open source. (A language standard can not be open-source — it is not a program, it is a document describing the expected behavior of a program — but an implementation of it can be.)

For example, the V8 engine, which is what Google Chrome uses is available, and so is the SpiderMonkey source code, which is used in Mozilla Firefox. There are more JavaScript engines, if you’re interested.

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