A number of employees set up a giant cage outside the conference venue in San Francisco on Wednesday to protest against the deal. The protest was organised by the Tech Workers Coalition.
A member of the coalition told the Business Inside website: "We came out here to show support and show that there are other tech workers standing behind them. We made sure to let GitHub know that as long as they’re working with ICE, they’re not going to get any peace. We hope GitHub cancels the contract, especially if the CEO doesn’t consider it financially material.”
The website Vice reported that at least five workers quit GitHub on Wednesday. Alice Goldfuss, an engineer, followed suit.
"GitHub has a lot of problems it needs to address. ICE is only the latest."
The issues over ICE go back to the time when Microsoft acquired the source code repository. At the time, as iTWire reported, 97 open source developers had threatened to move their projects from GitHub if Microsoft did not end its contract with ICE.
Microsoft purchased GitHub for US$7.5 billion (A$9.79 billion) in Microsoft stock on 4 June. At the time, several open-source developers expressed reservations about continuing to host their projects on the site.
In October, GitHub employees wrote to the management, requesting that it cancel any deal it had with ICE.
Chief executive Nat Friedman responded by saying: "We recognise that ICE is responsible for both enforcing the US immigration policies with which we passionately disagree, as well as policies that are critical to our society, such as fighting human trafficking.
"We do not know the specific projects that the on-premises GitHub Enterprise Server licence is being used with, but recognize it could be used in projects that support policies we both agree and disagree with."