As Quartz tells it,
Stratton said Kik was preparing to release its own package and asked Koçulu if he could rename his. “Can we get you to rename your kik package?” Stratton wrote.
There then followed some fairly acrimononious back-and-forth between Stratton and Koçulu, who was irritated by a private company wanting him to rename his package.1 In the end, Stratton went to npm, who agreed to take his package down.
It turned out that lots of applications actually needed Mr Koçulu’s tiny snippet of code if they were to function properly.
This is just the latest illustration of one of the most conveniently-overlooked aspects of the Web (and indeed of the whole Internet), namely that many commercially-profitable enterprises are built on the back of open source code — stuff written by programmers who are willing to put their work into the public domain.
This is one of the dirty secrets of digital technology: some Internet fortunes are the result of free riding on the backs of other people’s (unpaid) work.