Lerna relicenses to ban major tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Palantir from using its software as a protest against ICE

2 min read

The Lerna team has taken a strong stand against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) by modifying their MIT license to ban companies who have collaborated with ICE from using Lerna.

Lerna is a tool for managing large-scale JavaScript projects with multiple packages. Lerna lets you add dependencies to multiple packages with a single command. It made monorepos available to everyone, which were earlier very expensive and used only by big companies.

A comment on Github by a Lerna developer, Jamie Kyle earlier this day, stated how he has been deeply disturbed by ICE’s behavior with American immigrants, especially with the way ICE has acted with immigrant children and wants it to stop.

“The actions of ICE have had a lifelong lasting impact on these children, and many of them won’t even remember it happening. I have trouble expressing how angry this makes me feel. And the worst part is that I feel helpless to improve the situation. There is one thing I have control over, and that’s open source”, reads the post.

Kyle states that major tech giants such as Facebook, Uber, Google, Amazon, etc, carry out “a lot of shady things behind the scenes. These companies care only about the millions of dollars that ICE is paying them and are willing to ignore all the horrible things that ICE does.”

Now, these companies are also using Lerna, and “it’s really hard for me to sit back and ignore what these companies are doing with my code” says Kyle.

Reinforcing Lerna’s ethical beliefs, the updated Lerna license bans companies that are known collaborators with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement such as Microsoft, Palantir, and Amazon, among the others from using Lerna. These companies don’t have any licensing rights and “any use of Lerna will be considered theft”. They cannot pay for a license, and if they wish to use Lerna, they need to publicly end their contracts with ICE. For everyone else, Lerna will remain MIT licensed.

Public opinion about Lerna’s decision against ICE is varied:

“Now, it’s not news to me that people can use open source for evil. But it’s really hard for me to sit back and ignore what these companies are doing with my code. It doesn’t feel like there are enough steps in between me and the horrible things ICE is doing” says Kyle.

For more information, check out the official Github post.

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