In a recent turn of events, Alex Gluchowski, the co-founder and CEO of zkSync creator Matter Labs, has faced allegations of copying code from Polygon Zero without proper attribution. Polygon Zero, a zero-knowledge scaling firm, claimed that Matter Labs copied crucial components of their system called “Plonky2” and included it in their own proving system named “Boojum” without acknowledging the original authors of the code.
Concerns for the Developer Ecosystem
Polygon Zero expressed deep concern regarding this issue, highlighting the negative impact that such behavior can have on the overall developer ecosystem. By failing to attribute the original code, more well-funded competitors can take advantage of the work done by smaller development teams, undermining the principles of open source collaboration. Polygon Zero stated that this practice is not only against the ethos of open source, but it also harms the ecosystem as a whole.
In response to the allegations, Gluchowski firmly denied that Matter Labs simply copy-pasted the code from Polygon Zero. Taking to X (formerly known as Twitter), the Matter Labs CEO directly addressed the accusations and defended the integrity and transparency behind the decision-making process of zkSync. Gluchowski acknowledged the passion of the Polygon Zero team but asserted that their arguments were rushed and included misleading statements. He expressed his disappointment, particularly because he holds the Polygon Zero team in high regard.
RedShift Construction Implementation
According to Gluchowski, both Plonky2 and Boojum are implementations of RedShift construction, which Matter Labs introduced three years before the publication of the Plonky2 paper. While the developers of Plonky2 did not credit Matter Labs, they did mention RedShift in their paper. Gluchowski admitted that there could have been a better approach to attribution and acknowledged the input from the community in this regard. Matter Labs will be implementing a more standard approach going forward.
Preserving the Ethics of Open Source
The allegations raised against Matter Labs highlight an ongoing concern within the open source community – the need for proper attribution and respect for original work. The open source ethos thrives on collaboration, transparency, and giving credit where it is due. Copy-pasting code without attribution not only erodes these principles but also has the potential to discourage smaller development teams from contributing their innovations.
Building a Stronger Developer Ecosystem
To foster a healthy and progressive developer ecosystem, it is crucial for all participants to uphold the values of open source. This includes providing proper attribution, respecting intellectual property, and engaging in constructive discussions when disagreements arise. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing should be at the core of technological advancements, resulting in innovations that benefit the entire community.
As the controversy surrounding the allegations against Matter Labs unfolds, it serves as a reminder for all developers to prioritize integrity and acknowledgement of original work. The proper attribution of code not only protects the rights of creators but also strengthens the bonds of trust within the developer ecosystem. By learning from this incident, we can collectively work towards a more transparent, collaborative, and inclusive future in the world of technology.