Home > News content

Internet company 996 became a hot topic Programmer's protest sparked global attention

via:博客园     time:2019/4/4 15:34:46     readed:201

Curiosity Daily / Tang Yunlu, Luo Wei

It was originally a complaint from a person, but it is now a community of 160,000 people working in the form of open source software development.

A protest about labor rights broke out in the past week, and the 996 (early nine, nine, one Saturday) overtime hours that Chinese Internet companies are used to have become the focus of attention in China and the world.

A programmer initiated a project 996.ICU that resisted the 996 work system. Discussions started from the technical community, the Internet company's WeChat group spread, spread to Douban, know, and soon on the microblogging search, Baidu's search fever reached ten times the weekdays. The reports of "China Youth Daily" and "Nanfang Daily" were marked by the project sponsors into the project description page.

A week later, the impact of the incident has gradually warmed up overseas. The first English-language media to follow up was China's South China Morning Post. Its report on March 29 was forwarded by Guido van Rossum, the father of Python, with a comment: “The 996 work system is inhuman. ”

Global programmers gathered in the discussion forum Hacker News and the corresponding Reddit forum, 996 has also become a hot topic. The Verge and Financial Times followed up on April 2nd and April 3rd respectively, and media such as Wired were already interviewing participants. The report of the 1986 discussion by the Chinese company has become the homepage of the Silicon Valley popular technology news aggregation website TechMeme April 4.

Unlike the Chinese manufacturing practitioners who have received global attention in the past two years, programmers seem to be the least vulnerable group for the work environment. The outside world is mainly impressed by their high income, their habit of working overtime every day, the camping bed in the office, and the simple life of buying a house. A typical middle-class industry is often considered to be important but also the most resistant class.

But unlike other industries that have to work overtime, even with more energy and less income, programmers have a channel to talk.


The domain name of the http://996.icu website was first registered by a young programmer.

In the technical forum V2EX, the programmer mentioned in a post on work pay discussion that he graduated from a 211 university in Beijing, working in a large Internet company with the same level as Baidu, Ali and Tencent. How long does it cost more than $10,000 a month?

Previously, he posted a discussion on the forum to discuss techniques and discuss why there is a difference in salary between different teams in the same company. But recently, his company started to implement the 996 work system.

On March 20th, he announced the registration of a domain name 996.icu in the forum's domain promotion version because “Work 996, ICU”.

After March 26th, he replied in a workplace topic: “I feel that 996 is so ruinous, except that work is a break, and communication with family is less. ” In that reply, he again recommended the 996.ICU website.

996. ICU is a website that is divided into three parts: 996 introduction, 17 labor rights related regulations and related incident reports from top to bottom. These three parts have been on the first day, although the content has been enriched in the past week.



The author of the website also added a phrase "Developers' Lives Matter" (the developer's life is also a life), imitating the United States against the racial inequality movement "Black Lives Matter" (black life is also life).

Its influence does not come from this page. It is from the GitHub project, which was also launched on March 26th.

The project was initiated by an anonymous ID called 996icu, and the relationship with the domain name holder is unknown. But from the quick processing of up to 260 suggestions per day, even if the account was created by the young programmer, it is probably not the one who is using it now.


Today, software development has no need to reinvent a wheel in everything, and open source code can quickly complete a function.

GitHub is the largest platform for storing this code. Programmers manage their projects on GitHub, initiate discussions, and submit changes.

Currently GitHub? has 30 million programmers, hosts about 80 million code repositories, and has an average of 1.6 repositories per second. In 2018, Microsoft announced a $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub.

GitHub also had a project on overtime work for Chinese Internet companies. Two months ago, a theme was “Programmers looking for a job blacklist”, which was launched in more than 18,000 times in two months. Star likes ” (Star).

But this looks more like an operating guide for programmers looking for a job. The 996.ICU is more straightforward and simpler. From the very beginning, it was a declaration of the anti-996 working system.

This makes it quickly resonate.

996 has never had a good reputation. The earliest date can be traced back to 2014 Alibaba pregnant employees return home after work to report the death of bleeding. In 2016, 58 cities were forced to resist a lot because of the forced 996 of more than 20,000 employees.

In January of this year, Hangzhou Zhuang CEO suddenly announced the company's enforcement of 996 at the company's annual meeting. Some high-ranking executives said that if the working family is not well balanced, they can choose to divorce.

More recently, Jingdong began to implement the 995 work system in early March. In the face of doubts, Jingdong public relations director Liu Li responded that it would not be mandatory, but encouraged employees to invest fully.

The overtime work of Chinese Internet companies is not considered a special case, but in the past there was a high return. In 2017, the software industry averaged 13,300 yuan, surpassing the financial industry for two consecutive years to become the most profitable industry in the country. Alibaba's NYSE was listed on the market, generating more than 10,000 multi-millionaires overnight.

The listing boom that began in 2018 failed to reproduce another Alibaba. Xiaomi's valuation in 2014 reached US$45 billion. Before the listing in 2018, the company's market value is expected to be US$80-100 billion. The value of stocks in the hands of four-year old employees is expected to double. But by the time employees can sell stocks in early 2019, the market value of millet has shrunk to $31.5 billion, and the value of stocks has shrunk by 30% from 2014.

Xiaomi has already performed well in listed companies in the past year. Mushroom Street directly reduced the employee shareholding value to 1/25 by diluting employee equity.

Even work is not guaranteed. The Internet industry has had a large influx of venture capital in the early years. Internet companies don't care about profits, they can open higher salaries to dig people. However, throughout the year of 2018, China's VC/PE fundraising scale was US$34.12 billion, a sharp drop of 74.59% year-on-year. Large-scale Internet companies rely on burning money to face profitability even when they go public. Layoffs have become a common practice.

In August last year, Meitu and Lagou.com cut 20% of their work. In October, Hammer Technology disbanded the Chengdu branch and lost its job as a programmer who moved from Beijing to Chengdu. In November, the shop cut 200 people, and they didn't want to move from Beijing to Hangzhou. They also had 70 layoffs. In December, 20% of layoffs were known, 300 people were asked to leave the company on the same day; Keda News dropped 20% of the staff, responded to the last elimination; Mobai layoffs 30%, said normal adjustment. In February of this year, Didis layoffs 15%, 2,000 people left; Jingdong first layoffs 20% of employees, and in February layoffs 10% Vice President level executives. In March, Tencent cut 10% in the middle, and Tencent President Liu Chiping called it young and active innovation.

High-intensity work has become more intense, and the story of listings that can be expected to become even more rampant, and even how many years of work can be difficult to determine in the context of large layoffs.

In this context, the 996.ICU project received more than 2,000 stars (likes on GitHub) within an hour of its launch, and more than 10,000 stars in a day, boarding the GitHub live hot list.

More people have noticed.


Anony started paying attention to the 996.ICU on March 26 when it was online for an hour. He claims to be an ordinary code farmer and usually likes to visit GitHub. He said that he usually visits GitHub on “slightly like you brush microblogging”.

Although Anony's company did not implement the 996 work system, he continued to pay attention to the progress of the project and participated in the revision of the wording.

In the discussion area of ​​the 996.ICU (Issues area), before the star is about to break 100,000, some people said that they did not expect to participate in large-scale open source projects in this way.

People share their experiences, insights, and solutions on the 996 work on social networks. But in the programmer community, everything is moving in the way that programmers develop open source software.

Imagine a building filled with countless meeting rooms, each with a code for all the software on the whiteboard. GitHub allows programmers to walk into open conference rooms, watch the code on the whiteboard, like it, and modify it to their own mind.

However, random modification will disturb the code on the whiteboard. Github allows users to copy the entire code base on the whiteboard to their own account. The modification does not affect the project code. After the modification is completed, the programmer can submit a “Pull Request” to the project maintainer to merge and add their own modifications to the project.

This is the current working method of open source software online collaboration, and the evolution of 996.ICU is completely in accordance with this method.

The original ?996.ICU project on GitHub was simple: a 26-line Markdown format web document.

The excerpt of a section of labor law, the origin of May Day International Labor Day, the lyrics of international songs, and the English version are the earliest updates.

996. The addition and improvement of the ICU project was carried out by the participants in the way of submitting “return” requests, which gradually became what they are today.

This is not the same as the message in the forum. If a person sees the code and feels uncomfortable, then the request for modification cannot be made here.

Various details have been quickly improved. Someone submitted a request, saying that one of the cases on the main page, Jingdong's English version, if literally translated JINGDONG could not be understood by foreign investors, it should be changed to JD.COM.

Cases such as capitalization, spaces, error links, and full-width half-width symbols are updated and placed in Markdown formatted documents, and others have uploaded homemade logos.

Translations of major language versions such as French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Greek, etc. are submitted on the second day of the project. Some people have written a very formal version of the classical Chinese: "996", the system of affairs, that is, nine to the post, until nine o'clock in the evening, six days a week. Since the beginning of the 9th of 2016, there has been a continuation of the network, 58 full-time staff of the same city line, and overtime work on weekends … …

March 28 is the first day of rapid progress. The project has two related projects: 996 company blacklist and 955 company whitelist.

The blacklists are all companies that have implemented 996 or overtime work. The domestic big Internet companies are basically listed, and Jingdong leads with more than 1200 votes. The author also made a suggestion, hoping to add the department, province, and salary range when nominating, and the more detailed the information, the better.

The authors of the blacklist originally set the vote in a forum, and did not consider that there will be so many people participating in the voting, so that the website is too card, people only pay attention to the big companies ranked in front. At present, the author is building a new website. He wrote in the project description: “Because Taika everyone only pays attention to the big companies ahead, I hope everyone can notice that the 996 group is actually very big, not only BAT, there are many small companies. ”

The companies on the white list are more foreign companies.

955 Whitelist author of the company formulahendry is a programmer in a large foreign company in Shanghai. His GitHub page has more than 600 followers, and he has insisted on writing a technical blog in English for a while.

Like almost all foreign companies, formulahendry does not require 996. He told the Curiosity Daily that 996 has no personal life time at all. This phenomenon has become more and more common recently and is not a good trend. His reason for opposing 996 is similar to that of many people: 40 hours a week, The output of 996 units per week, which is 72 hours a week, is not high.

After noticing 996.ICU, he felt that instead of spitting 996, it would be better to see which companies implement 955 (five days a week, nine to five).

On the second day of the project's launch, he created a whitelist vote. The name of the project, WLB, is his own abbreviation, meaning Work Life Balance, which is the balance between life and work. WLB added more than 1000 stars in one day, and went to the GitHub real-time hot list the next day.

The prototype of the vote was based on Formulahendry's understanding of the Shanghai IT company. In the next few days, he used the time on the bus and the weekend to maintain the project update.

Although formulahendry is whitelisted, once the project is created, it is no longer something that he can decide for himself: everything has to be done in the same way as GitHub.

The 996 company blacklist has attracted more participation: the way a company is added to the blacklist is not much different from the open source project code review. Everyone can submit an argument, but the way the argument is submitted is for non-programmers. A certain threshold. The arguments include media reports, knowledge and discussion, and announcements on the company's official website.

Whether companies such as Huawei and bytebeat can make a list has caused a lot of discussion. There are 51 groups of conversations under the request to delete the blacklist byte hopping, and the person requesting the deletion and the person disagreeing with the deletion each give evidence.

The user who initiated the deletion request gave two reasons: 1. Although the company is late for work, it is too late to go to work, count the rest time after morning meal and dinner, the actual working time is not 12 hours a day; the company implements the size week, but the small week Overtime work on Sundays for overtime pay; 2. The programmer of the sudden death has just jumped from Tencent to the byte jump, and can not arbitrarily blame the byte jump overtime.

The counter-propelled party pointed out that it seems that the 955 company does not eat at lunch breaks. ” Then there are counterfeiters who give the overtime calculation method, such as Sunday overtime, calculated by 1.2 times wages instead of 2 times wages.

Whether a request can be passed is actually achieved by a simple vote. The request to delete the bytebeat was supported by 8 people and 269 against. Finally, the 996.ICU project leader rejected the request to delete the bytebeat.

Although the account responsible account can judge the request, due to the reproducibility of the open source project, if the project sponsor deviates from the appeal of the majority of the community, the programmer can easily support another project based on this. .

After moving from a personal project to a community project, the decision to develop the project is no longer the initiator, but the result of a joint decision by all those who contribute. These are the basic ways of open source software development.

Like the Linux system, for example, Linus was the first person to work. But with the addition of global developers, there are 15,000 developers and more than 1,400 companies. Linux is far from being controlled by Linus, and its management is handled by a dedicated foundation.

996. ICU is no different. No matter who started the project, it is no longer a matter of personal decision.


The discussion became sensitive, starting with the issue of the March 29 project being closed.

The discussion of the Issues under the warehouse was suddenly shut down, and it also caused a lot of discussion, such as too many issues (over 100,000), too many advertisements, and the call for a screenshot of the White House petition suspected to be political. A few hours later, the author posted an explanation saying that he was actively choosing to close.

However, this did not have much impact on the discussion. At the beginning of the project, some people sent QR codes of WeChat groups. At the same time, some people responded that programmers should use programmers' tools instead of QQ and WeChat. Therefore, the programmer's commonly used instant messaging tool Slack, the game instant messaging tool Discord are used, and the communication tool that is not directly accessible in China, the 996.ICU discussion group has also appeared on Telegram.

996. The ICU's Slack discussion channel attracted more than 1,000 members in five days. The members spontaneously divided the Slack group into announcements, recruitment, discussion, Chinese, English, and city channels. The most discussed in the Slack channel is how to protect rights after the violation of labor rights.

A 20-year-old programmer, Chen Hao, has answered the question: “If you want to boycott 996, what are the clever solutions in addition to using GitHub to protest? & rdquo;, through legal means, government letters and visits, collective protests and other means.

In the Slack group discussion, his solution encountered a lot of resistance. Some members questioned the efficiency of labor arbitration, while others worried that the means of petition might incur the compulsory means of government agencies.

After perfecting the wording, different language versions, and blacklists and whitelists. 996. ICU's biggest progress since last weekend was "anti-996 software licensing agreement" from idea to landing.

On March 27th, an idea was eagerly discussed and adopted: designing a software license agreement for labor protection ——996ICU agreement, if the agreement is compatible with the authorization agreement of each open source project, the company implementing the 996 working system may not Using this open source project may bring actual constraints to the company.

Labor law has been there, but implementation is a problem. Big Internet companies often solve tens of thousands of jobs for a city, and some offer dozens or even billions of profits. In theory, local courts, such as Shenzhen local courts, should treat Tencent, Huawei and their employees fairly, but this is theoretical.

The software license agreement is a constraint within the software industry. Simply put, a software license agreement is like a copyright notice for a book. The use of open source software is inevitable in project development. There is no charge for using open source software. However, it is subject to the terms written by the author in the license agreement. If the company or individual uses open source code but fails to comply with the terms, the author can Litigation, claim compensation, stop using the code.

The idea was praised by thousands of people and more than 400 people participated in the discussion of the agreement.

But no one thinks about how to write the agreement. At first, there are only three such lines:

  1. The 996ICU License (996ICU)
  2. Copyright ? 2019 <copyright holders>
  3. <wait to be filled...>

On the evening of March 30th, Katt Gu, MD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spent a night drafting a licensing agreement. This version is based on the popular MIT open source license. There are three agreements in total, and in all the agreements there are customary copyright claims, Katt Gu adds two things:

  • The individual or legal entity must strictly abide by all applicable labor and employment-related laws in the jurisdiction where the actual location of the individual or the place of birth or naturalization of the individual, or the place of registration or business of the legal entity (whichever is more stringent), Regulations, rules and standards. If the jurisdiction does not have such laws, regulations, rules and standards or their laws, rules, rules and standards are not enforceable, the individual or legal entity must comply with the core conventions of international labour standards.
  • An individual or legal person may not in any way induce or force any full-time or part-time employee or his independent contractor to agree, directly or indirectly, to restrict, weaken or waive what he or she has, in accordance with laws and regulations related to labor and employment. Rights or remedies for the protection of rules, standards and standards, whether or not such written or oral agreements are recognized by the law of that jurisdiction, such individuals or legal entities are not in any way restricted to their employees or independent contractors from holding copyrights. Someone or the relevant authority that supervises the compliance of the license reports or complains about the above-mentioned violation of the license.

Katt Gu is concerned with new technology legislation and papers on the gap between law and practice in specific areas of China.

On the evening of March 29th, Katt Gu's husband, Suji Yan, who has been paying attention to software copyright evolution, urged her to draft an agreement after seeing 996.ICU. Gu recalls that she was initially unwilling.

“Because I am a workaholic myself, but think about it is a matter of voluntary choice. Gu told Curious Daily that her concerns also came from a profession that had drafted research in areas such as IP law, labor law, and international conventions. She had never had relevant experience.

Before drafting the agreement, a lawyer told her that to do this agreement, we must first study the ten-year labor law, then study the IP law for ten years, or find ten experts in several fields to discuss and study. Draft draft.

But Katt Gu feels that the practical effect of the agreement is far less than the propaganda effect. The most important open source agreements today are not made in such a way.

After a night of research, she decided to draft a draft agreement based on the simplest Common Law. The drafted template is a simple and widely used MIT open source protocol.

The agreement and the expected results of the agreement are quite ideal.

According to the optimal state envisioned by Suji Yan, the agreement can have a constraint on Chinese Internet companies. His logic is that today software development is basically impossible without open source code — — Microsoft was once the biggest contributor to open source software. When enough open source projects use the 996ICU protocol, enterprise enforcement 996 is equivalent to a violation of its own product, and open source code owners can sue the company. Even if the lawsuit is difficult in mainland China, these companies are basically listed in Hong Kong or the United States, and can also initiate litigation in other regions.

However, after the explanation, he himself said "this is of course an extremely idealized idea".

“It would have been felt that we would not do it, but we still need more attention.” ”Katt Gu said that after receiving the agreement, he received a thank-you email, "It feels like watching the doctor receive the kind of flag that is lsquo; rejuvenation & rsquo; ”

Those who are skeptical about the binding force of the agreement are very common, and there are many opponents. For example, the current creator of the third largest project on GitHub, Yu Yuxi, expressed his personal opposition and condemnation on Weibo, but also opposed the inclusion of Discriminatory Clause in the open source project license (prohibited clauses for some users), or Open source projects do any form of political gaming.

“I personally have a personal opinion, but the project is neutral. Vue's license will not be forbidden for anyone to use, not now, and not in the future. & rdquo; He wrote on Weibo. Vue.js is a framework for developing web user interfaces.

However, the number of projects that add anti-996 licenses is increasing. At present, 75 open source projects have been added licenses, most of which are maintained by individual developers, but there are also many open source software projects with a certain size and used by many companies. Several plug-in projects related to Vue have also joined the anti-996 license agreement —— after any project open source expansion, it is no longer the author's decision.

Katt Gu said that his own protocol changes would be compatible with more mainstream open source software protocols, so that it would be expected to be accepted by more open source projects.

“I just want to write this agreement myself. If I write it well, I won’t have an accident. If I want to write a fine, it may take two or three years. ”Katt Gu said that this should not be done after finishing this. Suji Yan added: “Return to the community. ”

The community has a big goal. On April 1st, someone called for the anti-996 agreement to be added to the GitHub official inclusion agreement, so that new open source projects can easily add the agreement to the project.

The longer-term goal is to have it highlighted by GitHub so that any project has a chance to see it when creating a selection protocol.

These are not easy, especially on the home page, which requires more than 1000 public projects to use the agreement, 3 star projects, OSI and GNU approval.

As the driving force of open source software, Richard · Richard Stallman published the GNU Declaration in 1985, proposing that all software should implement the spirit of free software —— run, copy, publish, research, Modify and improve the freedom of the software.

But from the beginning, the sport did not stay at the level of technology or free software. The initiators believe that the applications that the public can access should be completely in the hands of the users themselves. If the contributors of the 996.ICU plan to succeed, this will be the first agreement on the agreed labor rights of the open source software.

Less than a week, the counterattack against the 996.ICU has arrived.

No company dares to attack GitHub directly. The ongoing attack in 2015 was unsuccessful. Now it is the property of Microsoft, and it is even less sensible for commercial companies to attack it.

The attackers used their most accustomed means to block.

Beginning on March 30, someone started to report an error in the Slack discussion group: The GitHub page of 996.ICU could not be opened in WeChat in Beijing. More tests showed that this is not an isolated case.

The QQ browser claims that this only public claim is to let the company comply with the labor law website containing fraudulent information. The reason for the WeChat display is “This page contains illegal or illegal content, and has stopped accessing the environment for maintaining a green Internet environment”. Alibaba's UC browser and 360 browser recognize the page as a website with illegal information. The most unique Cheetah browser to open this page will pop up a prompt saying "The site contains a lot of obscene pornographic information".

Using Baidu search 996, the Chinese version of the search results can not find the 996.icu website and the corresponding GitHub page link.

Different from the past, this time they can't directly block the existence of 996.ICU, and there is no way to let the channels for discussing it disappear.

China IT News APP

Download China IT News APP

Please rate this news

The average score will be displayed after you score.

Post comment

Do not see clearly? Click for a new code.

User comments