Hacker News Re-Imagined

Replit used legal threats to kill my open-source project

  • 4022 points
  • 5 months ago

  • @raxod502
  • Created a post

Replit used legal threats to kill my open-source project


@debacle 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

The only question that matters is "Did you sign something saying you agreed not to name something like this when you interned for Repl.it, and is it enforceable in your jurisdiction?"

I think this makes Amjad look a bit like an ass, but I don't know him personally or your relationship with him or repl.it

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@einpoklum 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

> Naturally, I took down my project right away, gave it some time for feelings to cool, and sent Replit an apology.

Once you (Radon) did that, it is quite unlikely you would be able to go back. It would be perceived as an admission of the validity of their claims, at least to some extent; and more importantly, they will get it in their heads that, using threats, they can keep your project offline.

You then proceeded to apologize and recognize you may have hurt repl.it. That's another step of agreeing with their claim.

So, by the time you ask us

> "Is Replit right?"

The answer is basically - it's right enough for you to have semi-admitted they're right and acted accordingly. So, yeah, case closed basically.

Also, in your post you make all sorts "but what I did is harmless" arguments, which really aren't helping you - at least legally. If you're infringing on their legal IP rights, then it doesn't matter all that much that it's for a non-commercial purpose, or that you're not stealing their clients. Those are arguments for the part of the trial where the judge decides how much damages from you to award repl.it.

> Why would Replit do this?

Because it's a commercial company and it has reason to believe your activity will hurt their income, profits, or chances for survival.

> However, Replit’s actions in this case reveal hypocrisy

Commercial companies are almost necessarily hypocritical, since on the one hand, their interest is, and must be, the furthering of their owners' interests (so typically maximization of profits); but in this interest, it is useful for them to maintain an image of social responsibility, enlightenment, support of the furthering of technology etc. In some industries a company should also appear to be liberal, pro-LGBTQ, anti-racist and so on (especially if it has shady deals with the military-industrial complex, or foreign repressive governments etc).

So, yeah, sure, they're hypocrites, but you must have been living under a rock to believe that they may _not_ by hypocritical.

-----------

Bottom line: If you thought you didn't violate your contractual and legal obligations to them; and that your project wasn't an illegitimate clone, you should have stood your ground, kept the project up, and stated as much.

You could then have told them that:

1. They would probably, or certainly, lose the litigation because they're wrong on the merits.

2. If they want to run a lawsuit with a bunch of expensive lawyers, they would waste a lot of their investment money on that, and you doubt their investors would appreciate it.

3. If they sued you, you make the whole thing very public - as you are obviously capable of doing - and the PR damage would be higher than whatever they hope to gain with their lawsuit against a zero-income zero-clients hobbyist project.

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@johnwheeler 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Situation sounds like to me is:

CEO keeps in touch with beast mode 10x'er intern who both impressed him and needed to be kept at arms length.

Beast mode intern flirts with the idea of launching a competing startup under the guise of innocent open source project and transparency with a passing mention of project in email.

CEO realizes he needs to shut intern down otherwise any communication that looks supportive might be used against him later on.

Intern realizes the jig is up. Writes apology to CEO out of fear and discomfort.

CEO responds that he doesn't want anything further to do with him.

Beast mode intern exercises final option to write a blog post attempting to gain community support.

Something or other like that...

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@edumucelli 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I think this will be a "streisand effect" at its best.

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@llaolleh 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This is a PR disaster.

It's really hard to put a finger on who is in the wrong, because both the former intern(FI) and CEO screwed up.

Out of so many things to build that could be fun, it's wrong to build something that you worked on, where a really good engineer/founder took you under their wings, taught you a ton. To take that and open source the secret sauce of a fragile startup in a competitive market... that's wrong. To publicly show confidential emails without warning - raises eyebrows. And if he is blocking out that much text, then this leads me to conclude he is downplaying their hardwork and innovation.

However, it's wrong to threaten a young budding programmer with money and lawyers and brag about how we are not small anymore, and we have money now(20 million), which is not a lot in my opinion. They haven't built a moat yet.

I really think all of this could have been avoided if the CEO took a more sequential and slower approach.

1. Ask the former intern to take it down nicely. If he says no, then you could ask him to close source certain parts of the program, and drop a backlink to Replit. The CEO could have taken a softer approach - you only take out the big stick when absolutely necessary.

2. He should have gotten on the call after the former intern asked him THREE times pleading to talk to him. I don't think it's right to treat a former starry eyed programmer who respects you like that - to outright ghost him... You spent 3 months mentoring the young grasshopper. I didn't like the way he treated that intern, and let the problem fester. That's not right.

To me the right move is for CEO to be the bigger man, apologize, and try to make it right with OP. That's my assessment, but there could be more to the story...

I would also like to note that this is why you NEVER impulsively write emails late at night when you're brain is tired and judgement a little compromised after a LONG day.

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@phendrenad2 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

The messages by the CEO are somewhat unprofessional and very untactful. However, I think that they're well within their right to demand this be taken down. Perhaps, since you explicitly brought it to the attention of the CEO directly, they must demand that you take it down, or risk losing the ability to litigate against other more egregious examples of copycats by ex employees. But I'm no lawyer.

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@londons_explore 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

If I were the CEO in this position, I would make sure the intern had shares/stock options as part of their comp, and my reply would be:

"Hi X,. It looks like a very cool project, but I'm slightly concerned that it's existence could hurt repl.it. And as shareholders, that could hurt both of us.

Let me know if you want a video call to discuss further.

X"

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@karmicthreat 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

The Replit CEO seems like a pretty fragile person. They could have turned this into an advantage.

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@Arjuna144 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

After reading this I would definitely advise against working with the company behind repl.it. This is really poor behavior that seems to be motivated by fear and/or jealousy. Nothing of humanly high value can be expected of a company with such a shitty CEO

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@diogotozzi 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙



@hirako2000 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙



@zx2391 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

No offense, but I found the early replit so cool, I will replicate it as a weekend project soon.

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@jascii 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙



@0xbadcafebee 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

New CEOs: Don't talk so much. If you have to talk to someone outside your company, and it's not part of a business strategy, public relations, or other normal part of your job, and it seems important, do it through a lawyer. Not only is it scarier, the lawyer can tell you (in a nice way) to shut up.

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@Shicholas 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Unpopular opinion, IAAL and frankly Replit has a case that will pass the "motion to dismiss" stage when litigation starts getting expensive b/c of discovery. The OP worked for Replit and therefore had access to private source code or "trade secrets" before creating his project. It'd take expert testimony for the OP to prove in court that his OSS project was not influenced in any way by Replit's closed-source code, which imo is unlikely.

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@dilawar 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I just deleted my repl account. I rarely used it. I am not their paying customer so not sure if it counts but it is a small token of soliditary.

Reading those emails from the CEO left a bad taste in mouth.

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@wly_cdgr 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Lmaooooo I hope the replit lawyers are really good at keeping a straight face

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@rwmj 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

How did Replit manage to raise $20m for something as trivial as "a webapp you can use to run code online in different programming languages"? I assume that it's something a bit more than that?

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@Railsify 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

So, when are you adding account management and github integration?

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@cycomanic 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Those who are defending repl.it behaviour, did you notice that the guy interned with them in summer 2019? I mean even many NDAs or non-competes (leaving legality aside) would have expired after two years. I mean what secrets that are still relevant after 2 years could an intern taken away? If you have secrets like that would you let an intern anywhere close to them?

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@vzaliva 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Legal and ethical issues aside, the bottom line I've learned from reading all quotes included in the blog post is that Amjad is an ass.

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@sakoht 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

It is sad that, given that the company likely doesn't have a case unless some explicit IP was violated, that threats of court allow money to decide the outcome.

But more sad than that, to me, is that creative energy on both sides isn't doing something more novel. A company doing something an intern can clone. An intern facing a sea of unsolved problems that chooses a space that is covered, as he points out, many times over.

If copying is the highest form of flattery, why flatter your former boss so much?

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@shubik22 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I don't have much to add about the behavior of Repl.it's CEO, but I find it amusing that he used "demanding" as a pejorative for the intern. "Entitled" or "unreasonable", sure, those characteristics are bad, but my initial reaction is that a "demanding" intern is one that I'd want to hire. In my experience, the worst characteristics of an intern are complacency and lack of initiative, and between a complacent intern and one who's "demanding", I'd choose the latter 10 times out of 10.

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@yepthatsreality 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Putting your foot down and being comfortable delivering aggression and threats does not make you a good CEO or even leader. I often see CEO’s demand unwavering respect and loyalty when they do little to return it and are highly unreasonable. Some people expect this image and demands from a CEO, but often I think it just leads to poor leadership. Steve Jobs is often quoted as being an effective asshole. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been better and more cordial. You can often get the reactions, loyalty, and respect you want from other methods. Very juvenile, is my take.

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@marcus_cemes 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

As part of my summer internship, I had to sign a similar "anti-competion clause", stating I couldn't work in any similar company or compete in the same domain for the next 5 years. I'm a 20-year-old student, I'll be working on the marketing team to assist with web design and photography for a few weeks in a bio-medical start-up. Is it really necessary? I feel that it does more damage to me than the company by limiting my employment choices in the near future, I'm there to promote the company, not steal years of research.

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@pcaversaccio 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙



@fredgrott 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Some points:

1. I am not lawyer but:

Is threatening someone with legal action illegal? Yes, if the intent is to resolve a good-faith dispute without litigation. But the threat of legal action without the intention of taking it may constitute extortion. Note that the person making the settlement request does not need to be right that the claim is winnable. But it must be made in good faith.Feb 24, 2020

OP needs to spend some coffee money and ask questions of a local attorney.

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@29athrowaway 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

There is a world of prior art before replit, there is absolutely nothing they can patent or bully you about.

Do not apologize, that is an admission of guilt. Also, do not talk to that guy, you are making it worse.

The guy's objective is to kill replit competitors, which is itself a monopolistic practice which is probably illegal.

By the way, the guy sounds like a fucking jerk, I am closing my replit account. Good luck with your open source project.

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@rurban 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

If you got litigatious companies threatening you, the simpliest is to turn it into an official GNU project, and assign the copyright to the FSF. They'll happily fight the bastards.

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@abriosi 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

What an unfortunate set of events.

I think both parties communicated badly with each other. It is easy to try to look at this in a binary fashion. In reality the situation is very complex and prone to misinterpretation.

There are no excuses for childish behaviour though

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@015a 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Since Amjad has so much to say about ethics, quick pulse-check, lets rank these in terms of their ethical foundations: building a love-letter open-source hobbyist alternative to a large application; shutting down this alternative with potentially unfounded legal threats; making millions of dollars standing on the shoulders of giants by effectively repackaging and selling hosted open source software.

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@newintellectual 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Gotta say, I’ll avoid using Repl.it in the future based on their douchebag behavior.

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@trhway 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

>Every similarity between my project and Replit can be explained by looking only at GitHub repositories and blog posts that were published online by Replit itself, making them obviously not any kind of secret.

[IANAL] while not a trade secret, isn't it a straight admission of IP reuse without explicit permission (until of course Replit published that stuff under GPL or the likes)

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@mousepilot 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

That company sucks but I predict they would win in court, simply because you made something that resembles their work, and thats plenty to convince a jury or the average judge.

Sure, it sounds like a generic enough page, and there are plenty like it, but how many have been put up by an intern at a company that ALSO put one up.

Additionally, you'll probably win here at HN, but in all probability you will not get a HN reader as either a judge or a jury.

Might be an unpopular opinion but its mine!

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@superasn 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This repo is probably going to become the next youtube-dl on Github.

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@Tade0 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

A healthy, competitive reponse to a single former intern one-upping you would be something among the lines of "ok, kid see if you can replicate THIS".

Also a healthy response would be to issue a C&D - assuming they have a case here.

But this? We don't have all the details and Replit might well be in the right here, but still - that's not how you handle such cases.

And I should know, because I've been in trouble regarding my comments on HN with a company I used to work for, but the communication on their side was firm, polite and professional.

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@fleddr 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I naturally sympathize with underdogs and this seems a classic case of bullying and power abuse.

That said, this trend where such disputes are made public including personal details continues to shock me. It must be my European perspective.

In particular, just screen grabbing personal conversations and publishing them to the world without permission, with the person's full name, and then adding accusations...I find appalling.

You may believe it to be quite alright if the person in question is only evil enough, yet I still object even in that case. It breaks the basic expectation of private communication. It smears the person publicly, whom may see his online reputation significantly damaged, possibly forever.

It's impossible to defend yourself against public smearing, as the more you try to counter it, the more attention you give to the original issue, only further increasing damage.

I must be old school to believe that private communication is to remain private.

Furthermore, the victim (whom I fully believe to be a victim) just showed to the world how easily he doxes work relations, which doesn't look great for future employment.

Again, I'm morally on the side of the blogger, but I believe this article could have been far less intrusive by leaving out specific names of individuals. You'd still get the point across.

The real truth is of course that I'm old. Private communication should be treated as a thing of the past. Youngsters don't acknowledge this code of honor, and therefore one should treat private comms as public.

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@hprotagonist 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

extremely unrelated to repl.it: thank you for straight.el !

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@kirillzubovsky 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

On one hand, SV is full of sociopathic founders who'd torture you for breakfast just for the giggles. On the other, being a founder is incredibly hard and very stressful, and when you are stressed lines get murky, and you sometimes do things that you wouldn't do if you took a moment to rest.

I wouldn't immediately assume bad intentions where bad decisions in search for good outcomes were made. To know which one it was, one has to first know the people really well, and know them both when the times were good and the times were bad.

Someone once told me: "Never assume, you make an ass of you and me (ass|u|me)."

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@anm89 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Double speaky "pity us, we're just the VC funded, expensive lawyer having, little guy" response post from the founder incoming.

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@huntermeyer 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Repl.it CEO had this to say:

> There is a difference between copying a feature and actually getting intro a contract, and access to the code, copying it and calling it open-source.

> As a matter of principle, when someone goes into your home and steals from you, even if it's not material, you have to respond.

https://mobile.twitter.com/amasad/status/1401957368510906369

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@gopiandcode 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Just another reason not to trust companies that focus too much on "open source" rather than free/libre software. The former is just a corporate coopting of the latter in order to exploit developers and the developer community, as evidenced by the wildly regressive views of the repl.it CEO. Insane.

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@Lilykhan 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Thanks for sharing, happy to see that you get your project published again. keep coding, best of luck. :)

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@yumraj 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This is a good case study in how to not treat someone, especially a seemingly talented engineer. CEO’s hinting of money raised and legal threat is almost comical.

The CEO should have recognized that this is a guy who is interested in this space and should have made every effort to hire/acquihire him. He may have had to use some of that VC money he was going to pay the lawyers but that would have been the best.

If I were a VC in this company I would be very concerned by the immaturity of the CEO.

EDIT: one more point: Would ReplIt be now the Copycat if they add the support for languages that the OP had added but were missing from Replit?

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@thatoneguytoo 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

If you follow Amjad on Twitter, it's evident that he is incredibly petty.

Repl.it is a company with no moat. They are features are literally used by dozens (check the number of runs of the repls)

Only companies which are so insecure about tech get into petty fights with college interns.

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@databyte 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Can I hard fork your project and host it? I have lawyers too.

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@jedwhite 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This made me think of a post by Philip Kaplan (Pud) called 'Fucking Sue Me" back in 2011, which was controversial at the time.

The original post is long-gone, but there are a few copies out there [1], and there was a HN thread at the time [2].

He runs DistroKid now. He famously (infamously?) created the site Fucked Company way-back-when chronicling the dotcom bust [3].

[1] https://archive.vn/QHkz8

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15155068

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fucked_Company

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@SquibblesRedux 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

All of what I write here is my opinion based on what I have seen referenced in the original post. There could be facts or circumstances that I am unaware of that render such opinion ill-informed. Please don't sue me or take offense -- I offer only insight from quite a bit of life experience.

From the email exchange posted [1], I would say Amjad was right in asking that the repository be taken down. Regardless of intent, Radon's actions had given the appearance of unethical behavior. Bear in mind that, when considering ethics, intent is not as important as appearance. While Amjad's statements were not necessarily optimal, I would not fault him for what he said. There are so many other adversities in life -- we should not make ourselves adversaries of one another.

A couple red flags that stood out:

(1) There is an implication that Amjad's time is owed to Radon. Radon's meticulous documentation and other content posted on the Internet is suggestive of overachievement and perfectionism, traits that can be very valuable in many technical domains. Unfortunately, personal correspondence usually is not one of those domains. One should always be most respectful of other people's time. Time is a non-renewable resource of unknown quantity.

(2) Some of Radon's statements and expressions, whether they do or do not contain truth, are quite adversarial and should be avoided in correspondence. Those that stood out to me are "You are categorically in the wrong," "... you have no legal or ethical basis ...," "... I have acted in good faith ... [and] your conduct ... has been grossly rude and unprofessional," "Despite repeated inquiry on my part, you have refused to point to any specific feature ...," "... your characterization of the morality of my actions is baseless and in bad faith," and "It's a shame that you decided to terminate our relationship this way." In all things, regardless of the circumstances, the first rule should be "Be respectful."

While I can imagine myself in Radon's shoes and empathize with what he did and why, experience has taught me that certain norms of civility, whether they be shallow or even illogical, are expected in discourse. My advise to Radon would be to let the whole thing slide. Life will bring so many more unexpected twists and turns; save time energy for life's truly important battles that are yet to come.

[1] https://imgur.com/a/OaEOwu2

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@stevebmark 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Did the author disclose the work on Riju as a prior invention before joining Repl.it? If so that puts him in the clear. I would also check your hiring contract to see what kind of clauses are in there about prior inventions. For larger companies, I don't think this company behavior would surprise anyone.

I think I can understand where Repl.it is coming from. All I know is this behavior (by Riju author) isn't something I would personally want to do. Join a company, leave, and open source something that is directly related to the company's business model, whether it undermines their profits or not. It's standard for companies (other than Apple) to say "work on whatever tech you want, but if it competes with us, we should evaluate it that's OK."

I would at least have gotten their buy-in on the project or idea first. Especially given this commit message:

> repl.it superiority!!

I also wouldn't use intentions or the fact that it currently has less traffic than Repl.it as example of why this is harmless. I would approach this with an empathetic view to how a company would see an engineer leaving and then open sourcing something directly related to the company, based on what they learned while working at the company.

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@TX0098812 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Seems odd but keep in mind we've only heard one side and the truth always sounds obvious when only one side is heard.

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@matthewheath 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm very sad to hear that you were threatened with a lawsuit — it's an impressive project. Unclear what jurisdiction you're in (probably the US), but in the UK they would have a hard time arguing in court that your project damaged them.

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@jyriand 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This reminds me of a time when Shazam went overboard trying to stop a guy who implemented some kind of basic recognition algorithm based off of PHD thesis.

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@dogman144 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Whoever is right here aside, this blog represents to me a common challenge IC/engineer/line worker types have understanding how the parts of the world, and related conflict resolution, actually works.

I think it causes a lot of frustration for them and is present in a lot of different industries. In the spirit of pragmatism, this is what I think it looks like if you'd like to avoid this pattern in your own career management:

- event happens driven by an IC-type

- a conflict happens over the event which exists on the narrative plane, where facts are fuzzy and emotions/identities get pulled in.

- the IC-type tries to get out of the conflict by listing a roster of facts, and sort of miss the boat on understanding that narrative conflicts don't really care about those facts.

- IC-types, totally justifiably b/c yeah facts matter when sourcing intent, are some version of befuddled or angry or whatever, usually try more facts, but nonetheless the conflict just stays around

- ultimately, they totally miss "the why" on why the conflict is actually happening, and as a result they are usually on the losing end of it

This blog is chock full of this approach. What it really reminds me of, and why I mention it, is a series of essays posted by a well known, long serving, but non-mgmt reporter who was fired from a famous paper recently. Same issue. Facts themselves and the nuance involved made things look at least understandable, the narrative launched for other reasons, and the reporter was fired. The reporter issued a series of essays staying in facts-land after getting fired, highlighting the facts-driven counter the reporter tried while in-house. Despite overwhelming facts, you could tell the reporter just wasn't aware of what had actually turned against them/what they actually had to address if they wanted to stay. He was speaking Language A and the team he had to work with was speaking Language Z.

Addressing a narrative isn't bending to it, but you need to counter it with something other than/in addition to the facts. These narratives can stay a long and have negative impacts much longer than you can "be right." Find the language of your criticism and make sure you counter in the same language.

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@arendtio 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

In my opinion, Randon should not put Ruji back online.

I think it would show that he respects the opinion of Amjad, even though Amjad has acted immaturely and completely inappropriate in the first place.

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@xaceuu 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I hope the CEO won't threat my Telegram bot projects. It's been on the Replit for a while, is there any other platforms that provide the same as Replit?

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@jfrunyon 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

"Fixed" title: "Replit asked former employee with thorough inside knowledge of their operations to take down copycat project which he sent directly to the CEO"

It's like y'all have never heard of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_room_design. No, building a direct competitor to a business you have previously worked for is generally not ethical, and will almost always end up being infringing, because even if you're not trying to copy their code/design/whatever, you almost certainly will.

By the way, allowing users to run their own code, unsandboxed, on your dime, is generally a bad idea. What happens when someone uses it to distribute $illegal_material? Or send spam? Or starts logging what other people are running?

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@NmAmDa 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

The CEO instead of even representing his side in a proper way and justify his accusation of source code copying, he instead retweeted another random guy tweet complaining that people here at HN are shredding him. He seem to consider himself a victim.

https://twitter.com/amasad

I think it is good thing that people start punish these CEOs who believe they can do whatever they want and that world revolve around their product.

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@blunte 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

If humanity is one great experiment, I sadly predict that greed, fear of loss, and zero-sum behavior is the majority outcome.

And for the record, I never liked repl.it because it was usually slow.

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@lynxaegon 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

After reading the whole blog post.. i deleted my account from them. This is pure bullying which i don't agree with. I shall never use replit again.

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@xtat 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Holy shit on so many levels. Repl.it needs new management and the old management should take a year off to reflect.

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@Yoofie 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Beside the whole legal threat drama, is anyone else surprised that replit got $20 million in VC funding for what essentially is a script that can be made by an intern in a day? And the idea has been around forever and is not even unique.

Is it really that easy to get VC funding for these types of things? Like Jesus, if all it takes is some ideas and moving to SF to secure funding like this, then I have a whole bunch of ideas worth 100's of millions that I would love to sell.

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@mr337 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This looks like a company/CEO that loves to benefit from open source as long as it benefits them so strongly.

Further more it looks like a CEO that can't innovate and the only options is to innovate through litigation. Must be something about that VC money burning a hole in their pocket to send lawyers vs adding features, marketing, or capturing new users.

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@axbytg 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Amjad is incredibly unprofessional. Years ago I worked in ed-tech and one of our sales reps replied to a tweet, from a Replit user complaining about some feature on Replit. Amjad damn near bit his head off and said some really nasty things to him. My coworker was this meek religious dude honestly trying to just send a teacher a helpful link. I personally would never work there and have steered several great engineers I know away.

Edit: Amjad has been tweeting a ton of stuff along the lines of "oh you can be too popular on HN, hivemind bad" so expect to see him pull up the blinders and act like the world is crazy if he ever sees this. Amjad, you treat people poorly.

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@koreanguy 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

CEO is absolutely nuts , upload it back to github and F** Replit in the balls

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@howolduis 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I have recommended repel.it to many people when I want to quickly show someone with no coding experience the results of a simple script or when I want to quickly collaborate on a small project. But now I will no longer support this project.

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@warmcat 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This will play out as it always has been. In the end, nothing will happen because of this revelation. Investors will keep on funding and things will go on as usual.

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@gavinray 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Why did you take it down? And why did you apologize?

I think the threat to sue was posturing, the same way that legal charges are always trumped up to get you to accept a plea.

If you had let them see it through, and they intended to sue you, you could have churned up a horror-inducing PR nightmare of a shitstorm for them.

If someone is really as petty to light cash on fire suing a young person with no assets over baseless claims, let them do it.

Litigation is expensive, you could have qualified for a public defender while they burned company assets, or just have represented yourself.

I say this as someone who isn't a stranger to the courts and judicial system.

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@sangupta 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Naturally, I took down my project right away...

Did your internship had any no-conflict, no-compete clause for any future assignments? Or are you infringing on any patent?

If not, there is no need to succumb to this bullying.

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@0xbadcafebee 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This whole comments section looks like a Twitter pitchfork mob. The guy didn't decapitate a puppy, he threatened someone with legal action. Et tu, HN?

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@FlyingSnake 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Wow never expected Repl.it to be so rotten in the core. I’ve followed their journey and happily recommend them on several occasions. Looks like after getting YC branding all gloves came off, and the success has gotten in their heads. Such a pity.

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@yellow_lead 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

A fancy funded company like Replit getting scared by an intern's weekend project is entertaining. If your moat is so low it can be replicated in a few days, I think this open source project is the least of their worries.

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@schappim 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

It is pretty amazing this has cracked the top 10 HN stories of all time: https://hn.algolia.com/?q=*

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@PiotrGrochowski 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

GitHub is a huge pile of toxic waste (unethical developers keep reporting my accounts and taking them down), and Netlify suspends my account with absolutely no details beyond "you’ve violated our terms of service". Now where do I go next?

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@coupdejarnac 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Well, this is a bummer. I was planning to make replit critical to one of my ventures. I've been receiving their emails for a while, and their chirpy nature always struck me as a bit odd.

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@komuher 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I used replit few times but now i'll remove my account there. srsly what a bullshit they try to do with taking down open source projects cause they feel threaten, pathetic.

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@jfrunyon 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Because why not allow users to run completely unsandboxed code on your own servers with no limitations? What could go wrong?

https://github.com/raxod502/python-in-a-box/blob/master/serv...

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@ftomassetti 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I will make a point of discouraging using Repl.it .

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@ChicagoBoy11 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

As a meta comment, I will say that given how vocal PG is about repl.it and his support of them, the fact that this is the top post on HN and it has STAYED there I speaks very highly of dang, YC, and the community.

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@mac-chaffee 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

All these battles over IP where there's an enormous power imbalance strike me as problems of ego.

In college, I made a website and I thought another student "stole" the idea. I considered my legal options, but I'm glad I stopped there, even if I did have a case.

The other student was never a serious threat to my idea and in fact lost interest in the idea next year. So the only harm I suffered was to my ego that thought I deserved power over others just because I had an idea slightly before someone else.

I buy into Radon's argument that Replit has substantial value outside of "eval()" and is not actually threatened financially. As a result, I could understand a founder feeling disappointed at discovering clones, but I think it's important to separate harm to ego from harm to livelihood.

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@airocker 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

No idea is original and belongs to anyone. Even airplane was possibly derived by looking at birds flying. If you hire an intern and they want to use the understanding to open another company, it is the best thing that can happen to your business. Customers would not start coding online unless they see 20 options to do so.

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@jpxw 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

> despite being the most demanding intern we’ve ever had

This is unprofessional and downright nasty and vindictive to a degree that I find almost unbelievable.

God that little comment has really made my blood boil. I’m going to be avoiding repl.it from now onwards.

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@sdevonoes 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

One thing I don't understand is: how is that a CEO cannot anticipate the consequences of acting like a bully via email? The blog post will make a huge negative impact on the reputation of Replit... really, CEOs these days don't think before writing?

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@milani 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm amazed by Radon's thoughtful replies in the email threads and the blog post itself. Lesson for me is to resolve issues with dignity and patience.

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@cl3misch 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This seems to be hidden from HN, but the link [1] still works.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27424195

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@AndrewChamp 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Great post. Well documented, by an articulate author. There aren't many posts that can lock me in to reading to the bottom of the page.

I must ask, is it unethical to publicly share screenshots of a conversation. I suppose in this case it almost went to court and thus would be public record if it would have. I only ask out of curiosity due to my slight feeling of guilt reading these private messages with only one-party's consent. I don't mean legally, only ethically.

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@toomuchtodo 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Are there any open source competitors to Replit that are seeking patrons? I have been encouraged by the rapid fire Show HNs of open source first startups [1], and this space seems ripe for such open tooling.

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=pastMonth&page=0&prefix=fa...

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@raunak 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

If I’m reading those emails correctly, Amjad the CEO directly emailed you occasionally. It is pretty stunning that as the CEO of the company, he would stoop to what I interpret as pretty unprofessional communication and petty threats.

I also am failing to connect the dots about why Replit would even feel threatened - if you were as helpful of an intern as described, you’d think they would recognize that you had good intentions only when creating Riju - very odd behavior from Replit all around.

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@normac2 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm on a job search, and Replit is one of the places I was going to apply, off of their listings on HN Who is Hiring?. So much for that, and I suspect a lot of devs are going to feel the same. (I don't think I'm good enough to get in, but there're a lot of really good devs who read HN who are.) In a seller's market for developers, this could hurt them in the form of less good talent applying.

That said, my gut feeling as an outsider is that they feel genuinely burnt by a former employee making something similar to their product. Not just cynically trying to smash the competition. Not that that justifies anything—everyone thinks they're the good guy (well, almost everyone).

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@prezjordan 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙



@fmakunbound 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

CEO has probably brought the Streisand Effect on himself. Any investor doing DD will find this apparently popular article the corresponding pile of comments on HN pointing out how trivial, unoriginal and un-innovative repl.it really is.

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@tommoor 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

> we’re also excited to announce one of the first (of many!) projects that Amjad has worked on with us: Codecademy Labs, the easiest way to play with JavaScript, Ruby, and Python online

I'll just leave this here so we can all bask in the insane hypocrisy of this entire episode.

https://www.codecademy.com/resources/blog/amjad-joins-codeca...

Edit: See Amjad's response below – seems Repl.it may have pre-dated this hiring in which case it makes the irony slightly less delicious. Did no learnings from scaling the concept at Codeacademy make it into the current product?

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@orliesaurus 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

That's really shitty. I wonder what the founders of Replit have to say about this? They're active on HN so I hope they can address this publicly...

EDIT: I mean the screenshots are irrefutable evidence of how bad this has escalated - it started as a normal convo and went downwards like the CEO was out to get some blood for no reason ... now I guess you're gonna get a lawyer threat letter to take down the whole blogpost because you've revealed private conversations without both parties' consent?

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@pbecotte 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I...am on the side of the company here? wierd...

An employee of a company left, and then made an open source clone of the company's software. The fact that the software was easy to clone or that others had done it previously doesn't seem really relevant. Several times I have left a company, and I could replicate a good percentage of it in a couple days too, not because it was easy, but because the months/years of experience I had building it the first time.

Whipping out the lawyers and bragging about his funding is idiotic and childish, but I think asking for the project to be taken down is completely reasonable. (on that note- I kind of think at this point that you have to be a megalomaniac to be a funded startup founder)

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@sam_lowry_ 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Sigh. Now @pg will stop retweeting random Replit success stories.

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@sabhiram 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This is funny. They literally do nothing but copy existing workflows and jam it into a "webapp", who really is the copycat?

I say you use this exposure to actually build a Lyft to their Uber. Show them who is really boss.

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@bastardoperator 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm surprised anyone would invest in this technology when Microsoft has made it pretty clear they're going to dominate this space with https://github.com/features/codespaces

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@amasad 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Hey everyone, I want to apologize for the inappropriate use of power here. While I do believe there is an ethical line that was crossed here, I should have called him to understand his point of view and work it out. Which is what I'll try to do now, and see if we can get his project back up again. I'm sorry Radon.

The lesson for me here is to internalize how I'm no longer the struggling kid from Jordan fighting for more than a decade to build something, and that I now have a responsibility towards our community and supporters to be kind and model better behavior. I'm sorry I let you down and I promise to do better in the future.

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@tavish1 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This guy handled this as best as can be. The relationship with this company, though 'healed' is basically just a burned bridge, because of the CEO's manipulative behavior, no fault of this guy. The biggest mistake of the CEO is equating an intern with someone who probably doesn't enough about copyright laws and open source licenses and will scare easy. Good on them, and looking at their website, the projects they have listed are excellent, and they need not worry about this company. If your product (which is not novel) can be replaced by someone's hobby project, you should probably diversify.

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@6510 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm not 100% sure but I think you can't kill open-source projects even if you wanted to. It seems that after releasing something into the wild its up to other people? A court case [it seems] could at best limit use to IP holders?

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@maydup-nem 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

that amjad guy sounds like an entitled piece of shit who thinks he knows what innovation is and that he has anything to with it. lold.

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@smashah 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This is insane behavior. OP shared something they were proud of to what seemed to be a mentor and then Amjad threatens OP? Damn! I was about to raise VC funding for legal protection from giants and this petty fool is swinging his schlong at his own ex intern? Wow.

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@domrdy 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Interesting, I've wondered why you've taken it down! Your project was such a great help dealing with monaco-language-server, and I was really sad when it just vanished off of Github one day.

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@Havoc 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I guess I'm not trying replit

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@olswan 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Well done for...

1. Not reacting back in an unprofessional manner which I can assume would be easy to do so as you put some hours into the project

2. Taking this all in your stride and in a way getting more attention to your skill set than the original idea would of done

Congrats!

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@heavyset_go 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Because of Amjad Masad's words and actions, I won't be using Repl.it or anything Masad touches at all. I'll recommend the same to friends and colleagues, as well.

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@ericjang 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I sincerely hope that someone as skilled & self-motivated as Radon is absolutely flooded with job offers due to the PR explosion of this blog post.

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@tombert 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I love how companies just assume that they own everything you do even remotely similar to something they work on, even after you leave.

Let's assume that this person did just copy the replit design (which I don't believe they did), so what? If it was able to be "cloned" in a weekend or two, clearly it wouldn't really be sufficient to take down replit, so it seems that the CEO of replit just thinks that if you've ever worked for their company, any time you work on any kind of vaguely-similar REPL software, you should be taken down.

It's not like this is unique; corporations just seem to immediately assume that anything you did after seeing their brilliant and elegant code must be the reason for your success.

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@Mulpze15 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

What if it was a purposeful Streisand effect, if we would assume there is not such thing as bad publicity.

I bully a lone open source dev, everybody get fired up, I go front page HN, maybe as the bad guy, but now people hear about me, and total sign-up increase.

Would be devilish, maybe would work?

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@fxtentacle 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Replit’s CEO: “I owe my entire career to open-source”

Copy, paste, threaten with lawsuit?

=> new product ready to launch

All big three cloud providers monetize other people's open source projects by renting out hosted versions. Apparently, that's OK and highly profitable. So why look down on a startup CEO attempting to replicate the cloud success story?

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@cjv 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙



@tediousdemise 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm surprised this hasn't been censored yet. Companies have a lot of insulation from criticism on HN, particularly in the "Who Is Hiring" monthly threads and sponsored front page posts.

Apparently criticism of companies is "off topic" in such threads, so companies that openly engage in unethical or illegal behavior such as copyright infringement have free reign. Here's an example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27363823

Somebody needs to flush the toilet and get their shit out of here, it stinks.

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@mpeg 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Poor form by the repl.it CEO here, bullying a junior employee to take their weekend project down.

If your product is threatened by this, it's probably not a very good product.

I've used Repl.it multiplayer to interview candidates in the past, will probably look for an alternative in the future. If anyone knows of one that supports non-web languages (I already use codesandbox for frontend) like python, etc. this is the chance to pitch it.

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@belval 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

From the comments I know that this will not be a popular reply, but I do feel like he crossed a line by reproducing something he worked on commercially even if he had no intent of selling it. While everyone is rightfully astonished by the CEO unprofessional tone (and I really don't condone it), he did see the design documents, technical specs, and whatnot.

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@stuaxo 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

The threats seem directly at odds with the CEOs tweet here https://twitter.com/amasad/status/1401617251464138754

This whole saga is pretty sad really.

While replit isn't doing very much in wrapping these languages in a frontend (and something that is clearly straightforward to replicate), they are doing all the work that comes with scaling that to many users on the web (I guess that includes moderation).

They should have just been happy with that.

It takes more than just being able to run all the languages in sandboxes to compete - if you tried this, people would be mining bitcoin and hosting all sorts of awful stuff.

Really strange / insecure attitude.

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@xbp 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Appalling and completely unacceptable behavior from a company so committed to being a conduit for open-source innovation.

Slightly unrelated: I used to shamelessly promote repl.it a couple years ago, but no longer do because their app has become so bloated and hard to use that it's discouraging to beginners -- recently I tried to remotely help a non-technical friend w/ an assignment and we must've spent ~20 minutes dealing with account creation, sending the correct invite link, and making sure we could both see our changes; it felt like a terrible waste of time especially as I kept reminding them "I promise it's worth it this app rocks!"

The app used to actually be awesome back when you could spin up an env in seconds, send the link to a friend, and immediately start collaborating.. Hopefully this will be the nail in the coffin, or at least lead to a mass migration from the platform.. :/

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@sillysaurusx 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Guys, I don’t know what this is about yet, but I know amjad (ceo). And I know that whatever is going on here, his intentions were pure. He’s proven himself to me that he’s pretty much the opposite of a sleezy corporate ceo who crushes intern side projects while twirling his mustache.

I just wanted to encourage everybody to chill on it for a moment and wait to see what’s up, because my spidey senses are screaming “miscommunication / crossed wires” rather than malicious intent, for what it’s worth.

EDIT: Fuck. https://i.imgur.com/cFYq7Nv.png

I'm going offline for awhile to focus on family matters. Evidently, I am not a good judge of character, and I need to stop believing in people without really knowing them.

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@menzoic 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Wow repl.it is no longer my goto. I will be finding another service that does the same thing.

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@amirGi 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

It really worries me that only after going viral did this warrant an apology on Repl.it's front. Everyone makes mistakes naturally and it's great that they apologized but the wider issue of smaller players getting bullied by bigger players where we don't hear the stories (as we were fortunate this time) is scary.

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@shapiro92 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

on a seriously technical point of view. It is obvious the person kept the code repository and when making a new project the commit history (or part of it) moved together. So excluding how the CEO acted, it is obvious the intern has the codebase (or part of it) and I am pretty sure that under their contract they are not allowed to do what they did.

As for the way they approach things, ye the CEO is from YC getting praised from PG on twitter, his Ego is beyond the moon and acts like it, dont expect anything more. Also Replit is INSANELY overvalued as a product.

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@corroclaro 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Effective immediately I guess I will be discouraging the use of repl.it to everyone I know. I cannot stand bullies who backstab new members of the FOSS community, despite posturing about their love for F/OSS and the spirit of libre software.

In a just world, whoever now holds the US patents for running-a-gui-box-that-is-network-presentable-and-can-evaluate-user-code (Xerox Parc? Sun? Oh, wouldn't it be lovely if it was Larry's lawyers!) would sue the bejeezus out of your low moat offering out of sympathy with the kid, Amjad Masad.

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@dimgl 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Yeah, not sure about this one chief. I don't know the legal aspects here, but I think it makes sense to not create an open-source project that competes with your previous employer and then correspond with them letting them know you did it...

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@533474 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Contact the FSF for advice, I'm sure they would like your project to join million others with legal backing!. Good luck!

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@stuff4ben 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Kind of a shitty thing to do by that company. So much for embracing open source. And probably they don't have a real business case to begin with if they're threatened by a former intern's open source project. Likely scared they'll lose their funding once the investors see how weak they are.

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@anderspitman 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This kind of feels like a bizarre inverse of the "I could build a better Facebook in a weekend if I wanted to."

A company feeling threatened enough to risk a PR nightmare on a one man open source project, when they know better than anyone that their real value is in scale, account features, UX, etc.

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@cocktailpeanuts 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

It's kinda funny how this whole drama is for copying some "intellectual property" that anyone can easily build.

If you don't want your virtual cloud sandbox app to be copied easily, build something that actually is novel. For example see Stackblitz https://stackblitz.com/ I think they're going to completely destroy all these Replit-like models.

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@reitanuki 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Historically, you didn't need an account to use Repl.it. It used to be one of the best sites to go to for this kind of thing.

After they added the account requirement and seeing this blog post, I think I'll have to change my opinion about them.

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@timdaub 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I can have empathy with the Replit CEO. I've had projects where strangers from the internet started to "friendly-copy"/fork things I either had talked about or that I straight out did. I didn't speak up and I ended up feeling super discouraged to continue the copied project. In the end neither the copycat nor I had success. But had he collaborated instead of doing his own thing, things would be different now.

I get it, threatening with legal action is harsh. This blog post on the other hand is also not nice. For me personally, I'd rather not engage with either of the two as they seem to not being able to manage a professional conflict without spilling it publicly.

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@elmo2you 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This sounds pretty much like straight up extortion to me. Threatening with abuse of the legal system (that is what this is, because those argument won't survive actual scrutiny) by someone with deep pockets, towards someone who clearly without those, is a serious criminal offence in my book. I mean literally criminal, not just morally or as a matter of speech. This isn't "just" bullying and this CEO does not deserve to walk away from this without damage. As far as I'm concerned, the only place this guy belongs is behind bars.

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@ogsalmanxx 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

What a loser, never using replit again and advising my dev network to never touch it.

Definitely will not consider it for my team.

Don’t be scared of them. They are scums.

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@nerdponx 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Wow, what a fuck-up. I canceled my Repl.it subscription already, and I intend to migrate off the site entirely as soon as I can.

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@dlsa 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This is probably a reminder to throw some money at EFF to at least pay for their coffee if not their larger work. This is the kind of silly but serious case they've dealt with in the past.

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@mattbuilds 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I already have trust issues with stuff like Replit and similar products that try to move everything off my computer that I own and control and on to their server. I see the value in it but I would never trust it. Good to see their CEO show his true colors.

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@bschwindHN 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

How many different teams/companies/individuals have made some sort of "run this code in a sandbox and stream it to a browser" type tools? I personally made one at my previous job in a few weeks, Replit exists, there's the Rust Playground, and probably countless others.

It's just not that hard of a problem to solve, and not that special. Docker and Linux containers in general are the real innovation that has made it so easy to implement these types of services.

Really pathetic on Replit's part to feel threatened and go after a weekend project like this.

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@ilaksh 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I feel that because the legal system is completely broken. Is there another way that we can deal with replit? This type of anti-competitive anti-open-source behavior should not be tolerated without consequence.

https://replit.canny.io/general-feedback/p/how-replit-used-l...

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@elihu 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

It seems like Replit's complaint probably doesn't have much merit, but at the same time Radon's defense that "this is just a non-commercial hobby project" doesn't really matter either (except to the extent that Replit might be able to get a bigger judgement if they prevail in court if they can show economic harm). He's either infringing on Replit's intellectual property or he isn't. As far as I know there isn't a special legal loophole for "I did this just for fun".

(I'm not a lawyer, so don't interpret this as anything other than a possibly poorly-informed opinion.)

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@tester756 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

>In my opinion, the answer to this question is no, for a number of reasons:

but did you use "internal" knowledge of repl it in order to build it?

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@MichaelMoser123 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

is repl.it also going to sue https://godbolt.org/ ?

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@jcrites 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This is sadly ironic given that Repl.it is largely copying what Cloud9.io (a small company acquired by AWS), as well as a number of other companies already built and launched.

It looks like the history of Cloud9.io's independent website (before it was AWS Cloud9 IDE) is now offline, and not in the Wayback Machine, so I can't link you to it, but you can see plenty of articles about the company in Google Search, some of which have screenshots of what they offered:

https://www.google.com/search?q=startup+cloud9.io

They provided a very similar experience to Repl.it except you had a fully Linux development environment at your disposal, complete with a web-based IDE and terminal, auto-completion, and a suite of sample projects to get started with. Repl.it seemed like a copycat to me when I first learned about it. They don't have the same user experience model, since Cloud9.io required starting up a "workspace" for the language you wanted to use (very fast – instantiating a Docker container on a shared fleet); but close enough that I'd call Repl.it a clone-like competitor of Cloud9.io.

Cloning a competitors isn't inherently bad. If you think you can improve on the user experience that they offer, then that's incremental process. But the hypocrisy of claiming that cloning other companies is wrong while engaging in it yourself rubs me the wrong way.

Radon, if you want to put the GitHub project back up I'll be glad to mirror it and offer to pay for your first $100k in legal fees should you be sued by Repl.it. If the UI that you built is based on a UI that's published on the public company blog then I believe their claims will be tossed out of court pretty quickly.

I'd also encourage you to get touch with the Electronic Freedom Foundation. They they are a nonprofit that may be able/willing to provide legal representation for free.

P.S. Before considering this offer to pay your legal fees final, I'd want to review all previous contracts you've signed with the company, and consult my own lawyers. You seem to live in California which does not enforce non-compete contracts, so their only legal to stand on is that you misappropriated company intellectual property.

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@sacomo 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm outraged! I'll never use Replit again! (this is the first time I've heard of replit.... I've never needed, never will...)

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@stopachka 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This sounds to me like naivete. Even if ideas were all publicly available on blog posts, there are existing competitors, and your project is open source, creating a copy of what you worked on as an intern is certainly in poor taste.

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@jlengrand 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Very tangential, but I've always looked weird at Replit because my first interaction with the product ever was through this tweet :

"We're the most ambitious software startup in history." [1]

My second interaction is this one ...

[1] https://twitter.com/amasad/status/1342891578394882051

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@MattGaiser 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This guy seems to think he is entitled to nobody competing with him, to the point that he gets mad on Twitter about a random company doing the same thing as another company.

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@hermitsings 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Good you posted this here!

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@mindcrime 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Everybody knows their own situation best, and makes decisions based on their values, beliefs, judgments, etc. And it's hard to question somebody else when you don't know all the inner details. But man, oh man, is it hard to read that and not kinda wish the guy had responded with something like:

"Fuck You. Sue me if you want, you won't get a damn penny because I don't have it. And how are your VC's going to react to you wasting their money on a frivolous lawsuit. Come to think of it, I'll be reaching out to all of them to ask that very question..."

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@nicebill8 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I won't be using Replit any more; I'd like to use this instead though. I'm not supporting OSS suppression of any kind, especially for something so basic, fundamental and useful.

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@rubyist5eva 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

lmao imagine being threatened by some dude's hobby project that he's not monetizing - how weak is your business and especially ego if that is the case.

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@etherio 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Wow... This is really disappointing on Replit's part, especially considering the company's emphasis on an ideal of developer empowerment / creativity / collaboration, this seems very excessive.

I hope there's more to this story than it seems, because Replit has been doing lots of good work and this would lower my faith in them...

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@linuxfan2021 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Repl.it should have no fear from this. A: There was no plans to make it commericial. B: It wasn't intended to be a CLONE.

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@addicted 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I particularly enjoyed the gaslighting by the Replit person about the author being the most demanding intern, a few emails after he tries to recruit the author by telling him how it’s grown and has hired senior engineers.

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@kazinator 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I don't think there is any fundamentally original idea in replit.

It is a time-sharing system where you can log in and use a programming language.

We have had those since not long after the dawn of computing.

Since at least 1970, we also had smart terminals that allowed the user to fill in a form, and validate it, before sending it to the host.

So the time-sharing session being carried out by a protocol between the web front end and back-end is not ipso facto original.

Needless to say, neither is the idea of a repl running in a separate process that provides editing, with expressions sent out to a running image for evaluation.

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@lez 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Lesson learned: Don't feed the troll (the CEO of repl.it) - just ignore.

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@npv789 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

what a shame replit!!

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@dodgepitchforks 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Publishing an open source project with functionality that is this close to the core functionality of a company you are working for seems to be Ill advised.

It's usually not that difficult to keep work and passion projects clearly separate so that no one could be confused.

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@raverbashing 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I can't defend Replit here, but I think the situation could have been handled better from both sides.

If you have just interned at a company, don't immediately go working on a similar thing and just saying "hey here it is". It will at best sound like sour grapes or looking like a "show off". At best.

I understand, lack of experience and an eagerness to build leads to those situations. The answer from Replit was unnecessary.

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@Giorgi 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

OP can you send me your code please? For reasons...

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@jwilber 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

If the CEO didn’t throw a tantrum over the exact things his company claims to support (OSS, creativity, etc.), nobody would know about the intern’s weekend project. But he did, and now we’ll see something of a Streisand effect [0].

To be fair, it is kind of suspect to intern for a company and, at the end of that internship, turn around and create effectively the same thing. And OP’s dismissive tone and propensity to hand wave away things that may be relevant in his blogpost certainly don’t make them seem ideal to employ. But ‘suspect’ only in the sense that (in my personal opinion) it gives credence to the CEO’s comment on the intern being difficult. I still think replit is in the wrong here.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

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@faheel 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm going to build a repl.it clone too this weekend. Seems like a fun project!

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@gentleman11 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Online ides worry me because I worry ip ownership and lawsuit stuff. Knowing that my ide is run by a litigious company who loves to throw money at lawyers to attack innocent people is a hardcore dealbreaker

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@cphoover 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

One of the nice things about Repl.it was being able to spontaneously try out or demo code in front of a coworker or friend... Forcing signup/login introduces friction that makes the tool less useful

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@ltbarcly3 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I think Replit knows that their entire business can be built by an intern with a few weeks of effort, and as a result is not valuable as a business in it's current state. They are obviously terrified that other people will realize this and there will be 500 clones out there by the time they figure out some defensible business model that locks in clients.

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@codegeek 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Am I missing something ? You interned at a small company and then you built a very similar open source tool which is close to the core product they offer ? Whether the CEO is an asshole or not, I can't think of not agreeing with them here. Your "intentions" don't matter. If your work is very similar to your previous employer's , they have the right to ask you to take it down or come after you.

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@jrockway 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I've tried to comment on this article a few times, because I'm horrified, but can't really find the words.

I guess the thing I keep coming back to is whether or not a CEO even has the power to engage "top lawyers" to settle a score with a former intern. I'm just kind of imagining the board meeting, where someone asks "how is that hiring going for a new principal engineer for the foobar team" and the CEO replied "we scrapped that position, I'm using the money to go after this intern that duplicated our website over the weekend."

I have to imagine the reply isn't going to be "oh, great idea, keep me posted", but rather something more like "uhhhhhhh.... can we not?" Like, it just doesn't seem like a good financial decision to me. Let's say this is a solid case (which it isn't; or at least, nobody can point to the patent that's being infringed, or the literal source text that was illegally copied, or the NDA that Radon signed). The best case is you get a few hundred thousand dollars in damages. But the intern doesn't have that kind of money, so best case, it gets paid back in installments over many, many years. You are trading the opportunity to use that money right now to grow your company and make your investors rich, at the cost of not teaching some intern a lesson. It's unclear what sort of positive effect that could possibly have on the future of your company or an intern. OK, interns won't clone your product. That was pretty unlikely already, and reimplementing an idea is a lot easier than running a business.

I guess I just don't see the point. All I can say is that Amjad was mad and personally hurt, and people do dumb things in that position. A CEO should see past that and say "you know what, I'm going to save this as a draft tonight and see how I feel in the morning". He didn't, and the company is probably over at this point. A lesson for us all -- sometimes you're mad, and can't do anything about it. Focus that energy into making your product better, or going for a run or something :)

Finally, I guess to sum this up, it makes me sick to my stomach. Threatening someone a year out of college with financial ruin. Who does that!?! I feel terrible just standing by watching this.

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@zemo 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

so they said "we're gonna talk to some lawyers" and your response is to write a lengthy public blog post without any legal counsel, in which you publish private correspondence along with the other person's contact info without their consent, and in which you essentially document all of the evidence against you -and- admit you understood your actions? huh. That's probably not how I would have responded.

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@danso 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I definitely agree the CEO could've handled this better, in a way that wouldn't bring the Streisand effect down on him. But I also don't fault him for being suspicious when a former intern creates something that seemingly uses the same ideas and concepts that the intern directly worked on while at Replit. Even if the author's assertions (about not using any proprietary knowledge gained as an intern) are all 100% true — the CEO is supposed to take those claims at face value?

Also, the author's full email [0] doesn't do him many favors; for a discussion of a project that purportedly consists completely of open-source and public ideas, there are a ton of redactions. Like:

> "You're right that the existence of ⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛ was initially brought to my attention by my work at Repl.it. But then again, it also shows up on lists of popular ⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛ for JavaScript."

I'm not a lawyer, but I simply just would not have written that first sentence. Hopefully ⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛ is something like "React.js", and the author is just being overly zealous in the light of Replit's legal threats.

[0] https://imgur.com/a/OaEOwu2

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@p5a0u9l 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

What the CEO did was wrong. Full stop. He apologized, and even if insincerely to salvage a damaged reputation, this is, as far as I know, his first documented incidence of dickery. So, why are most responses in here so caustic? It's like we're projecting all animosity toward "big bad corporations" on this one person, which seems intellectually lazy to me. People have bad days - I wouldn't want a bad day to define me.

Maybe I'm wrong and this CEO is as ill-intentioned as there discourse seems. But, I'm not seeing that from the evidence given.

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@KingOfCoders 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Vote me down,

but Ycombinator: "It's all about the founders blah blah blah" - if their process finds and funds these kind of people, the process is broken.

https://www.ycombinator.com/companies/repl-it

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@sam36 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Both these guys sound autistic af. Goodnight.

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@randomNumber7 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Can someone with knowledge in law tell me?

If (in another world) he made this project with commercial motive and used some of the design decisions, would this actually be illegal?

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@readonthegoapp 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

i'll put in some money to build out this open-source vision.

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@Driko04 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

anyone who has ever interviewed with Amjad knows hes two-faced. He had a posting for a marketing position open forever and would have you work about 3 weeks for the interview. He would ask for marketing campaigns and how to implementing them. thinking that he was testing your skill set but actually just stealing ideas. I use to use Repl.it but forget. I really hope this company burns. He lacks the understanding of what the face of a company means and every time i see or think about this company, i just remember how i was treated by the guy who supposedly wants to "change" the world and "help" people. he makes me sick

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@maddyboo 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Is it ironic that Amjad’s last tweet before this post hit the front page links to a hashtag on his website where people are building clones of famous games like Bejeweled, Mario, and Zelda?

https://twitter.com/amasad/status/1401760537390714882

https://replit.com/apps/kaboom

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@hermitsings 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I used to like Amjad. Now its 50-50.

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@atarian 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I just want to say how much I appreciate the author's courage in coming forward and disclosing this publicly. Too often, people are afraid of retaliation when shining a light on rotten behavior. If this CEO ever follows through with his threat, I will be sure to donate to a legal fund in your defense.

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@thayne 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

The most frustrating thing about this to me is the implication that whether the OP was right or wrong is irrelevant because Repl.it has "lots of money" to spend on "top lawyers."

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@Taylor_OD 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Wild. A better CEO would have made you an acquhire offer to work at Replit. I would be shocked if you don't get blow back/more threats from the CEO for posting these emails.

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@ipaddr 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This post alone is costing replit thousands because many developers reading this will treat them as toxic.

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@aneutron 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

If your business is threatened by a non-commercial one-man open source project, you have a lot more problems on your plate than that single "issue"

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@thecupisblue 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Haven't used replit, our product is still in stealth and we're looking for funding, but tbh I'd love to have you work (part-time remote or whatever) for us. Im quite discombobulated on why they are doing this instead of offering you a job.

I say good job Radon and if you ever want a job doing open things for fun where a company wont't sue you afterwards, ping.

This behaviourk... it is not just unethical from their side, it's also showing their lack of belief in their company or vision. If I was an investor, this would be a bad signal boost for them. And if I was you, I'd open the project again, work on it even more and tell them - sue me. This case would never stand, it's like a McDonalds employee making a burger at home and McD suing them. I just wonder, who the fuck does Amjad think he is? You aren't even innovating, this amount of ego-driven bullshit is a tell-tale sign that they wont do anything note-worthy except remain a glorified wrapper-as-a-SaaS. Reading this, I'm pretty sure I'll never use their product again.

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@cupofcoffee 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I really don't understand why people jump to conclusions so fast without hearing both sides.

I understand no one wants the small guy to be bullied by the company but it's ridiculously naive to assume that the entire truth is contained in that blog post.

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@danuker 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

They realized you had the potential of taking away some of their traffic.

Traffic lets them sell data, charm investors, and maybe improve their service to a limited extent by analyzing that data.

What do they have to lose by bullying you, since they have lawyers on the payroll already?

You could ask a lawyer if you have a chance to win in court.

Perhaps the EFF would like to grind their teeth on Replit and create a precedent: https://www.eff.org/pages/legal-assistance

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@anm89 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Sad that this is my expectation these days. In the past I'd say I'd no longer use repl.it but if I ruled out interacting with every company that did unethical stuff I had have to lock myself in an empty room.

But still I'll make an effort to stop using repl.it going forward. What a scumbag move.

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@yewenjie 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Slightly off-topic - what is a secure way to run arbitrary code in arbitrary languages in a server? I know replit's polygott docker container allows it.

https://github.com/replit/polygott/

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@faraaz98 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I think the CEO feels threatened by this project and how the simplicity of it would make replit feel not so special. And it particularly offended by "replit superiority" commit.

Running docker containers and giving them a frontend shell is not complicated enough to have "trade secrets". Given OP's code can't scale at all.

This is just an insecure CEO

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@aritmo 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Looks like this "Replit" is a joke service. Too easy to replicate and no reason to use them.

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@hellbannedguy 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Hopefully a Russian is reading this right now, and cloning Replit bit by bit. (Don't like bullies, especially new money guys.)

Never thought I would have to say that as an American, but it seems like wealthy plaintiffs win too often, and it's not worth the risk?

Hell--this jerk sounds like he might threaten you next with a Libel lawsuit. Think about deleting this post?

If they do sue, and win you have a judgment against you. If you don't have any assets, they can't do much, but you don't seem judgment proof. Those judgements can attach your salary. They last 10 years, and can be renewed perpetually forever, at 10 percent. Ten percent people. (They should not be 10 percent. I'm in CA.)

It's too bad our civil court system can be so unethically gaguged by money.

I'm thinking about doing my own Chapter 7, and it's been scaring me for years now. I'm so broke I could probally ride it out, but I want that judgment off me. It has really affected my life in a bad way.

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@throwaway928301 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I interviewed for a job at repl.it a while ago. At the very beginning of the interview process I wanted to make sure that he would be ok with my rate (120k) and that we're on the same page, because coding interviews can be time consuming. After the interview process, he offered a contract-to-hire and low-balled at less than half of what we discussed at the start of the interview process, and then retracted the offer entirely 2 weeks later after negotiating and what I thought was part of onboarding...

I did well in all of the interviews, but I had a bad experience at the final interview where I had trouble setting up the React/Typescript/Parcel tooling for the coding project, taking up a very significant chunk of the allotted time. Usually parcel doesn't give me grief and a breeze to set up, but I guess I had bad luck that day. I noted that I should prep the tooling for the stack before any timed interviews in the future.

I finished everything except that part, but I had started to set up the final step with the algorithm set up for it and discussed how to do it in the follow up discussion. It seemed like were impressed by my knowledge and still seemed interested in me, so I thought there was a shot.

So here's the abbreviated email chain:

Amjad: "[...] we can't move forward with a fulltime offer at this time. However, what do you think about doing a 2-week contract project that if it goes well we'd extend a fulltime offer?

If this sounds good to you, we'd talk about the terms of the fulltime offer before moving forward with the contract project so that you have an idea of the potential compensation for a full-time position."

Me: "Yeah I'd definitely be interested in the contract-to-potential full-time offer. [...]"

...then a whole 2 weeks go by discussing over email with him on salary negotiation, W2, benefits, etc. The 2 week contract offer would be at the rate we agreed on for salary, and if it went well then I'd go on to full-time. I thought it was a done deal and he was just prepping the contract, but then a whole week goes by without hearing from him, so I follow up with him.

He replied:

Amjad: "So sorry for the delay, but we decided to go with someone else for the role. Let's stay in touch for future opportunities."

Me: "I don't understand, we agreed on an offer two weeks ago. Is there any feedback you can give me if it's something on my end?"

Amjad: "We didn't agree on an offer [...] so I suggested doing a contract as a way of an extended interview. And then we went back and forth and the details, meanwhile we continued to interview and found someone who's local and a better fit for the role. Sorry, this didn't go differently."

Me: "[...] The way I interpreted it is that you've finished interviewing for the role and wanted to extend this trial-to-hire period, or a hire with a probation period, and if it didn't work out you'd extend the offer to your second pick. You didn't mention anything about an extended interview. [...]"

Amjad: "I thought explaining where you didn't do well in the interview and saying "therefore we can't extend an offer" would be clear."

It felt pretty shitty at the time...

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@selykg 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

And with that I won't be renewing my Replit subscription.

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@lbriner 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

It's probably annoying and upsetting but it is no different from any other legal dispute. All you have to remind yourself is that legal stuff is business-as-usual for any sized company about a handful of people.

Are they correct legally or morally? Maybe, maybe not. Are your arguments compelling? Yes but I am not a lawyer and even if I was, the result is the same. Being correct doesn't avoid the legal action. They have more money than you and maybe they want to spend it trying to get you closed down. Maybe they win, maybe they won't but sadly it comes down to the same thing? Do you want to risk whatever outcome they are threatening and can you afford to?

You could always wait to see what exactly they are alleging before taking action but if the CEO is a dickhead then he might not care about the details, and might sign off a few 10Ks of the budget just because he can.

Welcome to business!

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@spoonjim 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I could understand an over eager lawyer but this is the CEO of a company with $20 million in funding personally threatening to sic the lawyers on a one man open source project. This is evidence that: 1) he doesn’t have anything better to do, bad news for Replit, 2) he’s afraid of this little project, also bad news for Replit.

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@scotty79 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Is it possible that CEO will get kicked out for bringing so much negative attention to the company?

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@mathattack 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Companies definitely have to be careful about not coming too heavy handed. Many states also have protections for side projects.

Even still, if you start a project that is very similar to your day job, you’re asking for trouble. Imagine you are the CEO and someone says, “Our intern is open sourcing something very similar to our core product.” That will always look bad and cause a reaction. How heavy handed the reaction is will vary, but every company will react.

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@sequoia 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I agree the CEO is being very silly and stupid, but author is a bit ambiguous about whether he is or isn't making a replit clone. "they say they make it easy to share and remix your creations—but when I tried to remix Replit itself" OK this makes it sound like the author is writing a replit clone, or as he calls it "remix." Referencing repl.it by name in commit messages: probably good to avoid this.

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@klohto 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Pretty serious accusation with petty comments from the CEO.

Feel like we are missing some crucial part of the story though. Doesn’t make sense why would they go out of their way to threaten a small open-source project.

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@darkhorse13 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This is honestly pretty disgusting behavior. I hope an actual commercial clone pops up soon, so this type of behavior is avoided in the future.

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@princevegeta89 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

OP seems to be pretty talented here. They were able to build a clone in no time.

If Replit CEO had any brains he should have thought about hiring OP as an exceptional engineer and work with them.

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@mirrormaster 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Replit claims to support open source and this is how they react to a previous intern's project. This reflects poorly on Amjad and his ability as a CEO. I guess I dodged a bullet as this is another company I will stay away from.

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@123123as1asd12 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I think both of you are wrong.

One, you worked for them then took their idea (which they took form someone else) and made an open sourced better version of it. I don't care if you did not use any internal information, it looks like you did to everyone else.

Two, Why the hell did you share it with him? to rub it in?

Three, actually I'm on his side, even though he is acting childish.

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@sam0x17 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I'm an advisor for a large coding Bootcamp, and I was about to recommend they use Replit across the board for all of their students. I will now be recommending that people stay as far away from this company as possible. This kind of behavior is unethical and intolerable, and worse, suggestive of deeper issues with Replit's governance, decision making, etc.

In the very least their poor decision making will now cost them a massive deal, so now there is a positive spin :)

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@tehalex 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Why would any developer ever use replit again?

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@adsharma 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

The next cool thing is not "run python and 30 other languages online". It'll be write python, translate to other languages and then run them online.

We're at 7. https://github.com/adsharma/py2many/

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@dustymcp 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

This is an amazing ceo error, he probably lost way more goodwill on this reaching HN mainpage than he ever would have just leaving the project up.

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@aparsons 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Amjad comes off as super insecure in this- and it’s not all that surprising considering REPL.it really has little or no competitive moat

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@procgen 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Atrocious. I've never used replit, and now I never will.

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@movedx 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Give me the code. I'll host it on my GitHub.

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@aboringusername 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

So this is when we purchase "fuckreplit.com", offer a far superior clone and watch as the free market does its magic?

Every time I read a story like this I just hope the business dies, and for any employees it's time to jump ship, you really do not want to be working for a CEO who makes comments and threats.

Time to release that source code, have 100 clones appear and let this loser sue everyone into misery - I'm sure his investors won't be best pleased.

For now let's spread this story (make a backup! He'll want this taken down as it's terrible PR!).

Hope replit rots.

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@oauea 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Wow, absolutely pathetic. My company was evaluating this for pair programming and testing new hires, but just binned that idea. If anyone from replit is reading this: This is costing you business. Jetbrains Code With Me looks quite nice.

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@villgax 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Lol how kind of him to give his permission...

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@Grustaf 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

It would be helpful if you could post the designs side by side so we could all judge if you have copied the design. If you haven't, they are simply in the wrong and you should re-publish you site. If your design is a copy, then most of your arguments are not very relevant.

> Every similarity between my project and Replit can be explained by looking only at GitHub repositories and blog posts that were published online by Replit itself, making them obviously not any kind of secret.

I don't see how this is an argument. You're not allowed to copy their design even if it is public.

Most of the bullets under "In my opinion, the answer to this question is no, for a number of reasons" also seem beside the point. It's not allowed, or ethical, to copy an existing service just because yours is free, or "not intended to compete".

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@acid__ 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Amjad has tweeted about this:

> There is a difference between copying a feature and actually getting intro a contract, and access to the code, copying it and calling it open-source.

> As a matter of principle, when someone goes into your home and steals from you, even if it's not material, you have to respond.

https://twitter.com/amasad/status/1401957368510906369

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@forgotpwd16 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

So an intern goes to make an identical project to the one he worked in and present it as purely independent project? It is a bit strange, and there've been issues with other projects being copied that way before, but jumping directly to legal threatening is too much.

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@abductee_hg 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I am not sure that those threads are entirely legal.

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@sdevonoes 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Wow. I was about to apply for an open position at Replit. Not anymore.

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@robertkrahn01 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

I've worked for ten years on the Lively Kernel project [1,2,3], originally created by Dan Ingalls at Sun Microsystems. Running JavaScript, Smalltalk, R, Clojure, Haskell, Python, C++ and a few other languages in it. When I first saw replit, I thought, wow someone copied 1/4 of Lively. Do they really think they had an original idea?

[1] https://lively-kernel.org

[2] https://lively-next.org

[3] https://cloxp.github.io/cloxp-intro.html

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@daneel_w 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Put the project back up. Replit's CEO has already shat all over his dinner table.

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@coolgoose 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

So, any chance for a link to the open source project so we can accidently spawn a lot of new clones? :)

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@paulcarroty 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Just deleted Replit account, and heavily suggest the same action.

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@codingdave 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

> Naturally, I took down my project right away...

So a CEO bullied you. He threatened to have lawyers look at something, accused you of behaving poorly, and accused you of being difficult. He is being manipulative. He is trying to guilt / scare you into stopping. And it worked.

For all readers... do not be afraid of lawyers. Especially if nobody has even talked to them yet. Lawyers do not like to lose cases, so will not push a losing agenda. Yet they also must do what their client asks, so lawyers looking into a concern, or even sending nastygrams... those are meaningless actions. It only becomes meaningful if and when if their lawyers indicate they believe they really have a case, or if your own lawyer believes they have a case. Everything before that is posturing and bullying.

If I were in the same situation as OP, I'd state that my intent was positive, ask to be informed of the results of discussions with attorneys, and wish them to have a nice day. Admit no wrong, make no apologies, ignore irrelevant statements (in particular personal attacks), and just let it slide until they take a real action of some kind.

Once they do take an action, then it might be appropriate to do what they want. But seriously... stop letting people be bullies.

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@jascii 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Well, Repl.it sank from "oh, that's kinda cool" to "avoid at all cost in my book"...

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@stuaxo 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Maybe I was just naïve but when I first started reading HN there was a lot of optimism around startups, maybe it's just the scales falling from our eyes, but it just seems to be one shitty deed after another - maybe the ecosystem was always poisonous ?

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@user3939382 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Wow, I'll go ahead and move them from the list of companies I was excited to see succeed to companies I will avoid forever.

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@gorgoiler 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Replit isn’t just about the tech. It’s about scale and marketing. They have to protect both of these if they want to be the place to go for online coding.

Sure, you can plug Monaco into some backend in a weekend. Good for you.

Can you support 100,000x active-last-minute on the same platform?

Can you build a brand that means you even have to be able to handle 100k ALM?

There are better ways Amjad could’ve handled this, but if you’re repulsed by the motive then HN is an odd place to air that revulsion.

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@swang 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Assuming this is what happened.. why would you even worry about your intern doing a project. I don't know how long repl.it has existed (from my memory, a while) but are they that scared of something like this catching up to them and beating them in the marketplace? A product the author seemed to have no intention of releasing for commercial use anyways?

Also isn't the entire point of an internship to learn from a company they're working for? Are they worried about their own current internal employees quitting and starting a competing repl.it clone?

A bit shitty, IMO. Wonder if it's worth the hit in reputation.

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@ezekg 5 months

Replying to @raxod502 🎙

Not a good look that this may make the top 30 HN posts of all time by the end of the day. [0]

[0]: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

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