The ban was related to the sanctions imposed on my previous employer.— Sergey Bobrov (@Black2Fan) April 15, 2022
Another individual developer, Vadim Yanitskiy, wrote:
“My Github account has been suspended without prior notification. Perhaps because I am ethnically Russian. ‘GitHub’s vision is to be the home for all developers, no matter where they reside,’ they said.”
Github is a popular software development platform used for storing, tracking and collaborating on software projects. It enables developers to upload their own code files and to collaborate with fellow developers on open-source projects. It has become a core part of the crypto ecosystem because of its open-source nature.
As per early reports, most of the firms and developers facing suspension belong to private Russian banks and no crypto firm or developer was impacted.
First, some brief context and background.
I recently took over as a lead maintainer for two popular projects in the Apple developer community, Quick and Nimble. I just releasedversion 5.0 of Quick a few days ago.
During the week leading up to the release, I was reviewing and merging many pull requests. But when it came time to write the release notes, I noticed very bizarre behavior. Mysteriously, some pull requests were deleted.
We truly believe in the power of open source, so we will continue to work hard to keep our platform available and safe for all developers around the world. In parallel with our efforts to make sure GitHub is available to developers in all countries, we are continuing to ensure free open source services are available to all, including developers in Russia.
We are also committed to providing strong security capabilities that can prevent GitHub users and their accounts from compromise, and we urge developers to set up 2FA, ideally with WebAuthn, to protect their accounts.
At the same time, we are taking action to support our platform and comply with the many government mandates you’ve likely read about in the context of this war. Our legal team examines such mandates thoroughly, and we are complying with export controls and trade regulations as they evolve.
PR that introduced it has since been deleted, so I’m unsure exactly of the intention of that contribution.
So here I am for the past few days wondering what the fuck is going on. Why are multiple users and pull requests disappearing from our project? My gratitude goes out to Tomasz Sapeta for helping us realize that all of these mysterious disappearances are due to GitHub flippantly suspending the accounts of Russian developers without any regard for the destructive side effects.
There are multiple contributors to Quick whose accounts have been suspended, which means we have lost everything they contributed aside from raw commit history.
* * *
It is unclear to me what GitHub’s intended result was with these account suspensions, but it appears to be incredibly destructive for any open source project that has interacted with a now-suspended account.
The news wasreported on IT blog Habr, with user nicknamed Veratam noting that accounts of Russia’s financial institutions likeSberandAlfa Bankhave been blocked.
A few Russian users alsopointed outthat their personal accounts were suspended, saying that they haven’t received any response from GitHub support yet. It is worth noting that when blocking a corporate account, access to repositories remains for a couple of hours, while personal accounts are suspended immediately.
— Sergey Bobrov (@Black2Fan) April 15, 2022
According to Habr, some users also received notifications from GitHub, reading that their accounts might be operated from a sanctioned region.
GitHub on behalf of blocked parties,” the company said.
It also reiterated that “GitHub’s vision is to be the global platform for developer collaboration, no matter where developers reside”.
Unfortunately for Russian users, no matter their place of residence or current location or employment, their GitHub accounts are in danger as long as the US sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine stand in place.
Russian State Media Still Posting on TikTok Despite Suspension
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We will lock discussions that violate these codes of conduct.
Prioritizing Hubber safety and well-being
I want to be very clear: we stand by every Hubber around the world regardless of your nationality or country of origin. Your well-being is of the utmost importance and you have our full support.
Many of you have messaged me, the leadership team, and your managers looking for ways you can directly support those in Ukraine. GitHub always matches up to $15,000 in donations per Hubber annually, and the Social Impact team has shared a list of organizations in support of Ukraine where Hubbers can donate.
GitHub as a company is also donating $100,000 to Razom and matching an additional $200,000 of donations from employees to help support relief efforts in the region.
Unbeknownst to me, GitHub was quietly joining the rest of the western world in its crusade to punish innocent Russian civilians whose only crime was being born in the wrong place and maybe being formerly associated with a bank that is now being sanctioned. Fuck Putin, but I don’t see how deleting GitHub accounts and causing food shortages for civilians is “winning” for anyone. As far as I could tell, the now-missing contributors were just ordinary iOS and macOS developers interested in contributing to a community open source project.
These actions from GitHub are harmful and damaging to open source projects and the open source community.
All of a sudden, I was seeing pull requests, issues, and comments disappear from users who were actively contributing to the project.
However, in normal use (that what’s various GUIs for Git cover), you use only a small subset of them, certainly not “thousands of command line commands and parameters”.
Git also tries quite hard to preserve your precious work. There are destructive operations, of course, but they all require –force or –hard options to be present. With reflog (which admittedly you need to know about and know how to use) you should be able to undo most mistakes, certainly those that would loose otherwise “days of work” – I assume here that one would not work that long on a single commit.
Of course, Git is not without faults, and as a project which developed in a long evolutionary process, it is not without warts in its user interface.
Then I realized that an entire contributor’s presence had disappeared — all of their comments on issues were missing, all of the issues they opened were gone, all of the pull requests they opened had vanished. Every piece of activity related to the user was gone. What the fuck?!
As an example, you can see this line from GitHub’s auto-generated release notes:
@BobCatC made their first contribution in #1129
Both the user account and the pull request result in a 404.
But you can find the merge commit here, which is all that’s left in terms of an historical accounting of this change.
The impact of U.S. trade restrictions is trickling down to the developer community. GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, is preventing users in Iran, Syria, Crimea and potentially other sanctioned nations from accessing portions of the service, chief executive of the Microsoft-owned firm said.
Over the weekend, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman wrote on Twitter that like any other “company that does business in the US,” GitHub is required to comply with the U.S. export law. The confirmation comes months after work collaboration service Slack, too, enforced similar restrictions on its platform.
It is painful for me to hear how trade restrictions have hurt people.
We have gone to great lengths to do no more than what is required by the law, but of course people are still affected.