Rust framework dev says ‘I’m done with Open Source’…has second thoughts

The main developer behind a Rust actor framework pulled the code behind the project in apparent protest against an “unsafe sh*tstorm” against him last week.

And while the coder in question now appears to have nominated new leadership to continue the project, the apparent “ragequit” has prompted questions about the dynamics within the open source community.

Actix was founded and open sourced in 2017 by Microsoft engineer Nikolay Kim, AKA fafhrd91, and styled itself “rust’s powerful actor system and most fun web framework”.

The actix website added, “For all intents and purposes it’s a microframework with a few twists.”

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Unfortunately, the fun seemed to drain out of the project for Kim last week, apparently on the back of a medium article on January 16 that cited a “bespoke and unsound Cell implementation” in actix-service, largely around the use of Rust’s unsafe feature. The writer, Sergey Davidoff, went on to say that when he raised the issue with the Actix maintainers, they refused to investigate it. Debate quickly transferred to Reddit and got…heated.

Too heated for Kim who declared on Friday, “Another day, another ‘unsafe sh*tstorm’, I guess I get used to it.” Except Kim clearly hadn’t gotten used to it.

Kim said there “I’ve never used unsafe unintentionally, I use it because I believe usage is safe. There was no any malicious intentions. I believed it held mutable aliasing invariant and I was very happy that someone found real problem.” [SIC]

He went on to say, “Be a maintainer of large open source project is not a fun task. You alway face with rude and hate, everyone knows better how to build software, nobody wants to do home work and read docs and think a bit and very few provide any help. Seems everyone believes there is large team behind actix with unlimited time and budget.” [SIC]

“You could notice after each unsafe shitstorm, I started to spend less and less time with the community,” he continued. “You felt betrayed after you put so much effort and then to hear all this sh*t comments, even if you understand that that is usual internet behavior. Anyway, removing issue was a stupid idea. But I was pissed off with last two personal comments, especially while sitting and thinking how to solve the problem. I am sorry for doing that.” [SIC]

He declared, “But damage to the project’s reputation is done and I don’t think it is possible to recover.” So, “I am done with Open Source” and will “I moved actix-net and actix-web project to my personal github account” .

Kim’s move prompted more comment on Twitter and Reddit, for and against. The fors seem to have shifted Kim’s mind, and he declared earlier today:

“I realized, a lot of people depends on actix. And it would be unfair to just delete repos. I promote @JohnTitor to project leader. He did very good job helping me for the last year. I hope new community of developers emerge. And good luck!” [SIC]

JohnTitor is the handle of Japan-based developer. Yuki Okushi. It is also the name used by someone who used to post to bulletin boards claiming to be a US military operative who had travelled back in time from 2035 – an ability which would be handy to keeping ahead of any future Twitter storms.

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