Tech

Developer gratuitously destroys its widely used JS libraries in protest against corporate use

Hot potato: Open source software (OSS) comes in many varieties. Some of them are large-scale projects developed and supported by thousands of volunteers. Others are small programs that can only be maintained and run with one developer sharing with GitHub. Since OSS is sometimes freely used by large corporations, there is some controversy over whether these companies should contribute monetary value to the community.

It looks like an open source developer has deliberately fried two widely used javascript libraries. Undertakes faker.js and colors.js caused programs using them to get stuck in an infinite loop.

Developers use faker library to generate fake context data for testing or demos, and colors add colors in javascript console. Thousands of programs use these open source packages, with the faker seeing about 2.5 million downloads per week and another 22.4 million per week for flowers.

Marak Squires, the developer of the two libraries, has uploaded version 6.6.6 of faker to GitHub, and NPM register earlier last week. The colors “v1.4.44-liberty-2” were committed on Saturday. Both updates cause the same behavior. Calling “Liberty Liberty Liberty” displays the first three lines followed by the line Zalgo text representing the American flag. Since then, the colors have been corrected, but the faker remains at version 6.6.6. Developers using a faker should revert to the latest valid version (5.5.3).

The reasons why Squires sabotage libraries are unclear. Some have suggested that due to the “freedom” theme and the seemingly sarcastic GitHub problem reportSquires may be trying to draw attention to the plight of the ungrateful open source developers.

Back in November, in a comment thread on his Faker.js GitHub page under the headline “No More Free Works from Marak – Pay Me or Fork It” Squires said he was going leave freely supports Fortune 500 companies that he believes are stealing his work for free.

“With all due respect, I am no longer going to support the Fortune 500 (and other smaller companies) with my free work,” he said. “There is nothing more to say. Take this opportunity to send me a six-figure annual contract or fork the project to have someone else work on it. “

Squires also modified the “read me” file for faker.js to simply say, “What really happened to Aaron Schwartz?”

Aaron Schwartz was a developer / hacktivist who helped found Creative Commons, RSS, and Reddit. Schwartz was charged with stealing documents from JSTOR to make them public and then committed suicide in 2013 after a lengthy legal battle.

Regardless of his motives, Squires was barred from GitHub, denying him access to the two affected libraries, as well as the hundreds of other public and private projects he uploaded.

While most in the community weren’t surprised that GitHub punished Squires for making his own software useless, many support his decision to bring attention to the commercial industry, which began to feel entitled to the unpaid labor of others.

“Removing your own code from [GitHub] is a violation of their terms of service? WTF? ” Developer Sergio Gomez said in support of Squires’ actions. “This is a kidnapping. We need to start decentralizing the hosting of free software source code. ”

“The responses to colors.js / faker.js authors sabotaging their own packages really speaks volumes about how many corporate developers think they have the moral right to unpaid open source developer labor without contributing anything in return,” wrote in Tweeted by another member of the OSS community.

It is worth noting that most of the members of the OSS community support the further development of free software because they are passionate about programming. However, those who benefit from the use of OSS are expected to contribute to the community, even if it’s just bug fixes or some other type of support.




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