Coinciding with the opening of the Ethereum Foundation’s Devcon2 conference in Shanghai this week, significant parts of the Ethereum network were crashing. In what seemed like an attack using an intentionally difficult-to-execute smart contract, the much used Ethereum implementation Geth stopped functioning altogether, while another implementation — Parity — was also having issues. Upon discovering the attack, Ethereum developers wrote a hotfix for Geth within a couple of hours that seemed to solve the problem, at least temporarily.*
Interestingly, while the fix was happening, alternative Ethereum implementations (other than Geth and Parity) were doing fine. Save for a drop in hash rate due to miners running Geth, the Ethereum network kept running smoothly for most users of these different clients. This lack of interruption was taken by some as a vindication of Ethereum’s use of multiple interoperable software implementations, rather than a single client.
The “Reference Implementation”
The question whether alternative software implementations for Bitcoin are desirable has been discussed