Guilty by attribution

January 22, 2016 commentary , opensource 2 min read

From Daniel Stenberg, author of libcurl:

Back in December I got a desperate email from this person. A woman who said her Instagram had been hacked and since she found my contact info in the app she mailed me and asked for help. I of course replied and said that I have nothing to do with her being hacked but I also have nothing to do with Instagram other than that they use software I’ve written.

Here’s the Instagram screenshot she sent me…

screenshot of instagram's open source attribution page

I’m curious how often this happens.

@packetmonkey pointed to this example from SQLite:

** Temporary files are named starting with this prefix followed by 16 random
** alphanumeric characters, and no file extension. They are stored in the
** OS's standard temporary file directory, and are deleted prior to exit.
** If sqlite is being embedded in another program, you may wish to change the
** prefix to reflect your program's name, so that if your program exits
** prematurely, old temporary files can be easily identified. This can be done
** using -DSQLITE_TEMP_FILE_PREFIX=myprefix_ on the compiler command line.
** 2006-10-31:  The default prefix used to be "sqlite_".  But then
** Mcafee started using SQLite in their anti-virus product and it
** started putting files with the "sqlite" name in the c:/temp folder.
** This annoyed many windows users.  Those users would then do a
** Google search for "sqlite", find the telephone numbers of the
** developers and call to wake them up at night and complain.
** For this reason, the default name prefix is changed to be "sqlite"
** spelled backwards.  So the temp files are still identified, but
** anybody smart enough to figure out the code is also likely smart
** enough to know that calling the developer will not help get rid
** of the file.
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avatar of Brandon Keepers I am Brandon Keepers, and I work at GitHub on making Open Source more approachable, effective, and ubiquitous. I tend to think like an engineer, work like an artist, dream like an astronaut, love like a human, and sleep like a baby.