Two open source libraries found on the GitHub repository have been purposefully corrupted by their author, and as a result, thousands of open-source projects were bricked. The author says he did it because he no longer wants to create free code for commercial companies making millions.
His move sparked a major debate on the internet, with GitHub’s response to the issue sparking a whole different outcry.
The two libraries in question are called “faker” and “colors”. Colors has more than 20 million downloads every week, just on npm, with some 19,000 projects relying on it. Faker, on the other hand, gets 2.8 million downloads a week on the same platform, and powers 2,500+ projects.
Debates and debates
Late last week, applications using these two libraries started printing messages such as LIBERTY LIBERTY LIBERTY, as well as non-ASCII gibberish.
The author, going by the name Marak on GitHub, posted a mocking update saying “It's come to our attention that there is a zalgo bug in the 1.4.44-liberty-2 release of colors. Please know we are working right now to fix the situation and will have a resolution shortly.”
Zalgo is described as digital text, modified to appear creepy or glitchy, initially used on anonymous forums, in stories that were designed to look scary and creepy.
Apparently, he has an issue with major corporations using his free code without paying anything for it.
"Respectfully, I am no longer going to support Fortune 500s (and other smaller sized companies) with my free work. There isn't much else to say," the developer wrote in late 2020. "Take this as an opportunity to send me a six-figure yearly contract or fork the project and have someone else work on it.
His latest move sparked a major debate online. While some people seem to be okay with his expression of rebellion against big business, others weren’t that enthusiastic, saying the behavior was irresponsible and that, if he doesn’t want his code to be used, he should just stop publishing it freely.
GitHub responded by banning the developer from the platform, sparking yet another outrage.
While some agree actions like these must have consequences, others started calling for a decentralization of the service, as means of protection against unilateral moves against devs.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.