An open source developer intentionally corrupted his own libraries that have been used by thousands of projects.
Users of open source projects relying on Marak Squires’ ‘color’ and ‘counterfeiter’ libraries were faced with their applications indefinitely printing incomprehensible messages on their console, rendering them useless.
The colors library receives more than 20 million weekly downloads on npm alone and has almost 19,000 projects that depend on it. The forger The library receives more than 2.8 million weekly downloads on npm and has more than 2,500 clerks.
The messages printed to the console began with “FREEDOM FREEDOM FREEDOM”, clearly showing that the problems were caused by more than just an innocuous error.
So what’s going on? A problem’ aware by Squires on the November faker project’s GitHub might give an idea.
“Respectfully, I will no longer support the Fortune 500 (and other smaller companies) with my free work,” Squires wrote.
“Take this as an opportunity to either send me a six-figure annual contract or fork the project and have someone else work on it.”
In a tweet a month earlier, Squires says he lost all of his things in an apartment fire and requested cash to help remain “homeless”:
It’s understandable that Squires felt like they should be paid for their contributions, especially under the circumstances, but it’s hard to justify harming all library users:
The readme.md from forger it was also changed to “What Really Happened to Aaron Swartz?” in an apparent reference to conspiracy theories surrounding the high-profile developer’s death.
Swartz helped establish Creative Commons, Reddit, and RSS, but in 2011 he was accused of stealing JSTOR documents with the intention of making them free. In 2013, Swartz committed suicide.
Squires was suspended from accessing GitHub for violating its terms of service, despite hosting hundreds of his public and private projects, but it appears to have since been removed with recent activity coming from his account.
Editor’s Note: If you are considering suicide, know that people care about you and seek professional help. You can find a list of national helplines here.
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