How one developer just broke Node, Babel and thousands of projects in 11 lines of JavaScript

left-pad pulled from NPM — which everyone was using

Programmers were left staring at broken builds and failed installations on Tuesday after someone toppled the Jenga tower of JavaScript.

A couple of hours ago, Azer Koçulu unpublished more than 250 of his modules from NPM, which is a popular package manager used by JavaScript projects to install dependencies.

Koçulu yanked his source code because, we’re told, one of the modules was called Kik and that apparently attracted the attention of lawyers representing the instant-messaging app of the same name.

According to Koçulu, Kik’s briefs told him to take down the module, he refused, so the lawyers went to NPM’s admins claiming brand infringement. When NPM took Kik away from the developer, he was furious and unpublished all of his NPM-managed modules. “This situation made me realize that NPM is someone’s private land where corporate is more powerful than the people, and I do open source because Power To The People,” Koçulu blogged.

Unfortunately, one of those dependencies was left-pad. The code is below. It pads out the lefthand-side of strings with zeroes or spaces. And thousands of projects including Node and Babel relied on it.

With left-pad removed from NPM, these applications and widely used bits of open-source infrastructure were unable to obtain the dependency, and thus fell over. Thousands, worldwide. Left-pad was fetched 2,486,696 downloads in just the last month, according to NPM. It was that popular.

module.exports = leftpad; function leftpad (str, len, ch) { str = String(str); var i = -1; if (!ch && ch !== 0) ch = ' '; len = len - str.length; while (++i

You can witness some of the fallout here, here, here and here.


Originally published at www.laravelfeed.com.

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