Huawei To Establish Open-Source Software Community Following GitHub Ban

Huawei Technologies
Workers sit at the Huawei stand at the Mobile Expo in Bangkok (Photo: Reuters / Jorge Silva)

China will officially be forming the country's first-ever open-source software foundation to bolster its open-source software community. The plan was unveiled by Huawei Technologies, which plans to partner with domestic software firms to achieve the ambitious plan. Huawei also revealed that it plans to establish the infrastructure in as early as one or two months.

The plan to establish the country's first open-source software hub was put into place following the ban imposed by GitHub, the world's largest host of open-source software, on sanctioned nations by the United States. The US-based company began blocking access to its services in July, starting with the removal of Iranian accounts.

The incident itself has highlighted the increasing dangers of geopolitical interference on the open-source community. China likely felt that it needed to establish its own community as a precaution if the US government does decide to sanction the nation as trade disputes escalate.

The banning of Iran from having access to GitHub has caused global criticism, as open-source tech communities are supposed to be fair and open to all as the name suggest. According to Huawei's Software Department president, Wang Chenglu, China will need to have its own open-source community, which can be used to maintain, store, and manage open-source codes.

The country's domestic software industry is very much reliant on the availability of this service and China's access to existing ones may be in peril if tensions and other factors worsen. Wang mentioned that open-source communities are supposed to be a venue for the sharing of ideas and not as a weapon to be used against other countries.

Last Month, GitHub CEO Nat Freidman, admitted that they had really no choice in the matter as the company is still subject to US trade laws. Under the government's orders, the company has blocked users from sanctioned countries from having access to its repositories and even its software marketplace.

Huawei intends to build the new open-source community as a non-profit project that will be open to the public. Every Chinese individual and company will have access to the contents of the new community, allowing them to use the resources to develop their own software versions and applications.

According to reports citing sources close to the matter, Huawei's plans do have the support of the country's regulators and its government. Chinese agencies have even reportedly offered to lend concrete assistance to help accelerate the establishment of the open-source software community to hit Huawei's goal of one or two months.   

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