The problem we are talking about here revolves around GitHub, the largest source code storage platform in the world currently located in the United States. Numerous open source projects are being uploaded to GitHub every day, allowing people around the world to see and collaborate on development together. At the end of last year, GitHub was taken over by Microsoft.
The fear of Chinese software developers comes from GitHub's export control terms. Accordingly, this platform regulates that the content developed on GitHub needs to comply with US export laws, including the Export Management Regulations (EAR), which are the rules used to restrict export to Huawei and related companies.
"For developers, source code is a very important resource "- Liu CHen, operations director of Open Source China (OSChina) – the organization that claims to be China's largest open source community.
Fears of not being able to access GitHub seem to be inflated. The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), another US-based organization that provides open source software, posted a notice Wednesday that open source software and collaboration on projects Open source is not affected by EAR.
However, GitHub's export control terms mean that some projects in this community are still under red alert. The prospect of not being able to access a particularly important resource like GitHub is clearly extremely concerning.
Open source software plays the backbone in many consumer favorite products. Watch movies on Netflix, swipe between Instagram photos, or popular daily activities, all supported by open source technology. Chinese technology companies also benefit from open source projects, including projects on GitHub.
"Whether Chinese users of GitHub are affected depends on the size of US export sanctions against China, which we cannot estimate "- Chen said.
According to developer Duzy Chan from China, who has long been involved in developing open source software on GitHub, government restrictions will not hinder the development of open source. However, websites like GitHub make it easier to collaborate on open source projects globally. Losing access to GitHub can make this process much slower.
"The situation will be very bad because the evolution of the Internet may slow down. Open source projects benefit too many parties around the world, not just the US and China "- Chan said – "No company or party or country can leave open source projects in the current situation. "
Not everyone believes that restricting access to GitHub will affect Chinese software developers. That will not be a big problem for individual users – according to a developer in China.
GitHub currently limits some of its Enterprise Server (Enterprise Server) access countries, including Iran and Korea. The company did not respond to the email asking for clarification on the possibility of limiting China to trade war.
However, a part of software developers in China are calling on the country's developers to "be self-sufficient" about open source, much like Huawei's dependence on US technology has led to calls. Calling China should focus on semiconductor design and develop its own operating systems.
Chen believes that this uncertain situation will push China's software development industry to a new stage, with a more "self-motivated" spirit. Among the changes to be made, creating a "Plan B" in response to situations like Huawei is facing (notably, OSChina itself also has "Plan B": this organization is regulating Operating a platform similar to GitHub, called Gitee).
"Once related to national interests, initial arrangements or conditions may be abolished or changed "- Chen said.
Inaccessibility to GitHub – the largest global developer community – will be a big loss for Chinese developers. That's the main reason why GitHub is still not blocked in China, even though it is a place to store a series of tools to help censor censorship and where the Chinese developer community exhorts protest Working culture "996" (made from 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week) is full of harsh country.