The wild events that nearly took down the QB64 project (but, thankfully, didn't)
A story of crazy drama within an amazing Open Source project.
QB64 is an extremely cool project. It is a complete IDE and compiler that provides compatibility with Microsoft QuickBASIC — and runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS.
QB64 has been around for years and is well loved by the retro computing community.
I’ve used QB64 in the past to compile many 1970s BASIC games for Linux.
Then, about a week ago (on April 13th), the QB64 website (qb64.org) simply… disappeared.
As did the Wiki. And the Forum. And — holy smokes — even the YouTube channel.
It seemed as though some unseen force had scrubbed QB64 off the face of the Earth.
Oddly enough, there appeared to be one — and only one — online location where QB64 members were still alive and talking… the QB64 Discord channel. After checking in with them about the status of the project, I was surprised by how wild the story truly was.
What follows is a chronological retelling of events, based on what I was able to learn from those who were willing to speak.
First, a little back-story before we get to the crazy events of April 13th…
2008 / 2009
Rob Galleon created QB64
Interesting factoid: QB64 was originally written in QuickBASIC 4.5. Later, as the project matured, QB64 was developed in QB64 itself.
An Android port of QB64 was attempted but “fell flat”.
At this point, according to accounts, Rob Galleon (the original creator) “starts to fade”.
2017 / 2018
The original creator leaves the QB64 project entirely.
Fellippe Heitor steps in to take over some of the leadership duties, and the project continues.
Fellippe Heitor handled the accounts (including Patreon), and finances.
QB64.org, a twitter account, and QB64 podcast were created. QB64 now had a significant online presence.
January 15, 2022
Fellippe Heitor announces that he has transferred control of QB64 (including all finances) to a man named Robert Ryan Carter (who used the handle “RC Cola 1987”).
“RC Cola” considered himself to be the new “CEO” of the QB64 project, and Fellippe Heitor remained involved in QB64.
There was some concern within the existing QB64 community as none of them appeared to have ever met, or even heard of, “RC Cola” before he was announced as the “CEO”.
Development continued without much involvement from “RC Cola” until April of 2022.
Early April, 2022
Fellippe Heitor leaves the QB64 project entirely.
No official statement was given for the departure but, based on third party reports, it was for Fellippe’s “mental health”.
This leaves “RC Cola” (aka “the new CEO that nobody seems to know”) as the single point of control for the QB64 online assets.
April 13, 2022
This is the day when everything “hit the fan”. Buckle up.
A discussion started on the QB64 Discord channel regarding the details around corporate ownership of QB64.
Specifically copyright issues and ownership of the code contributed by community members.
This all stemmed from a line in the QB64 “Code of Conduct” which read: “Any media uploaded to QB64 sites are the property of the QB64 Project.”
This resulted in a great deal of concern and heated discussion.
At this point multiple people began removing their code from the QB64 forum — including example projects and core QB64 code — over concerns that they would lose ownership of their work.
One person described this as “a run on the bank”.
“RC Cola” begins banning people from community sites (including the QB64 discord channel) and accuses at least one long time community member of being a Neo-Nazi (no reasonable evidence was provided to support the claim).
Clearly things were escalating at this point. And tensions were, to say the least, high.
“RC Cola” continues banning people from the QB64 Discord channel. Arguing continues.
At this point the person with the user account with ownership of the discord channel — who, as it happens, was not “RC Cola” — transfers ownership to the long time developer that “RC Cola” had previously called a “Neo-Nazi”.
This resulted in “RC Cola” no longer having any administrative control over the QB64 Discord.
“RC Cola” responds by blocking every editor of the QB64 Wiki.
Immediately following this, “RC Cola” takes all of the QB64 websites offline: the main QB64 website (QB64.org), the QB64 wiki, the QB64 YouTube channel are all removed. The password for the QB64 Twitter account is changed.
The only online property that “RC Cola” left running is the QB64 Patreon page, where people can donate to the project.
This, to me, is absolutely wild. “RC Cola” — a person with nearly total control over the resources of a project, and who nobody remaining on the project even seems to know why he is involved at all — appears to have gone “full nuclear” and sought (or so it appears) to wipe QB64 off the face of the Earth.
April 20, 2022
After a week of silence, “RC Cola” makes the following post on the QB64 Patreon page declaring “QB64.org Disbanded”:
What does “RC Cola” have to say?
I have reached out to “RC Cola” (aka Robert Ryan Carter) via multiple channels (email, LinkedIn, and Discord messaging) in order to get his views on the situation.
As of this writing, “RC Cola” has not responded to The Lunduke Journal in any way. If that changes, I would be happy to include his response in the interests of getting all sides of the story.
So what is the status of QB64 now?
The community is in the process of rebuilding after all servers were taken down by “RC Cola”.
As of this moment, the following URLs are available for QB64, and are being managed by the community:
QB64 Github - https://github.com/TeamQB64pe/QB64pe/
QB64 homepage - http://bit.ly/QB64Home
QB64 forum - https://qb64phoenix.com/forum/
QB64 Wiki - https://qb64phoenix.com/qb64wiki/index.php/Main_Page
QB64 Discord - https://discord.gg/2t9HTYK
I would like to thank multiple members of the QB64 team for taking the time to provide their recollection of events (upon which the timeline above is based). Including SMcNeill and Sprezzo.
That's really unfortunate. I remember using QB64 about 4-5 years ago and it was pretty neat--definitely reminded me of the good ol'e QBasic days.