Taking down Silicon Valley’s hottest startups can be as easy as 17 lines of code
24 Mar 2016
Angry developer decides to remove one package with exactly 17 lines of code from the npm open source community as a sign of protest to corporate stuck-ups, leaving thousands of startups to crash
While the removal of “kik” wasn’t a huge deal for other developers, Azer decided to retaliate by deleting all of his work from npm, including one package called left-pad, which happened to have a single file with exactly 17 lines of code. Then the troubles began as one by one the npm users started to experience crashes and build failures. A ton of developers weren’t happy about the situation that had just transpired. They looked toward the open source community and accused npm of being run in an irresponsible way. Crisis though was averted, as only 42 minutes later a GitHub user posted a viable solution. And only a minute after that, the contributors at Babel announced that a new version of Babel had been released as an emergency hotfix, allowing projects to work again.
This event opened a huge debate over which development approach is the right call – open source or commercial platforms. Developers took the discussion on Twitter at #npmgate. Overall, this story is an amazing example of how developers, who don’t know each other and are perfect strangers, united in a remarkably fast time frame to repair the state of their open source community. However, on the other hand, the lesson is that startup companies should take into account the risk of adopting open source development without opting for support.