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Tuesday, 30 March 2021 06:21

PHP shifts to GitHub after malicious commits to own git server Featured

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PHP shifts to GitHub after malicious commits to own git server Image by Dok Sev from Pixabay

The PHP project has been forced to move its operations from its own git server to the Microsoft-owned software code repository GitHub after two malicious commits were discovered in the php-srx repository in the name of founder Rasmus Lerdorf and developer Nikita Popov.

In a post to the project's php.doc and php.internals groups, Popov said the process whereby this happened was not known as yet.

"We don't yet know how exactly this happened, but everything points towards a compromise of the git.php.net server (rather than a compromise of an individual git account)," he wrote.

The PHP project has always had source code on GitHub, but until now the repository served as a mirror. That will change from now on, according to Popov.

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language and the most widely used on the Web, with popular content management systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! all being written using it.

Git is a source code management system developed by Linux creator Linus Torvalds in 2005, but now maintained by kernel developer Junio Hamano.

Torvalds had to ditch a proprietary code management system known as BitKeeper when its owner, Larry McVoy, took umbrage at the fact that well-known Australian free software developer Andrew Tridgell reverse-engineered the protocols used in BitKeeper and released the code for his own program, SourcePuller.

In retaliation, McVoy pulled the free version of BitKeeper which had been available until then which was being used by a number of Linux kernel developers. Which, in turn, led to Torvalds creating how own solution, git.

Popov wrote: "While investigation is still underway, we have decided that maintaining our own git infrastructure is an unnecessary security risk, and that we will discontinue the git.php.net server.

"Instead, the repositories on GitHub, which were previously only mirrors, will become canonical. This means that changes should be pushed directly to GitHub rather than to git.php.net.

"While previously write access to repositories was handled through our home-grown karma system, you will now need to be part of the php organisation on GitHub.

"If you are not part of the organisation yet, or don't have access to a repository you should have access to, contact me at nikic @ php.net with your php.net and GitHub account names, as well as the permissions you're currently missing. Membership in the organisation requires 2FA to be enabled.

"This change also means that it is now possible to merge pull requests directly from the GitHub Web interface."

"We're reviewing the repositories for any corruption beyond the two referenced commits."


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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