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Christian License
January 7, 2005 3:36 AM   Subscribe

When a developer asks 'don't use TYPO3 for NewAge publications, anti-christian messages, sexually explicit material, extreme political propaganda' , would you use the software? Would you respect his wishes?
posted by dprs75 (86 comments total)

 
Interesting qualifications to place on use of software, but I'm not quite sure about the Askme part of this post. Are you asking if I (we) would personally use it for topics he'd rather not have it used for?
posted by Bugbread at 3:58 AM on January 7, 2005


If you are offended by my writings then I'm sorry. Just don't read this section of the website and you will be OK.

There are many excellent CMS suites out there. A few which come to mind are TextPattern, the one whose name absolutely escapes me, used by goats.com which is based on Perl. Even Movable Type can be a robust CMS.

Personally, I would respect the developer's wishes; though if I were the developer I'd be more concerned with someone who violates the GPL and happy to see people using my software regardless of their websites content. I also understand most people would not want their work associated with questionable or objectionable material. For instance, one doesn't see Canon tooting their horn when a snuff film is videotaped on an XL5000.

But still, I'd be more concerned with the stipulations of the actual license. Abiding by the wishes of the developer is an ethical question you may have to answer on your own.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 4:08 AM on January 7, 2005


The other CMS I mentioned but could not name is Mason. I can never remember that one for some reason...

Mason is cool because you can have Perl snippets like ASP or IIS code. Sort of, I mean, you can do the same thing with PHP and server-side includes essentially. Yeah. Anyway, been a long night.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 4:13 AM on January 7, 2005


It's an Open Source project released under General Public License,
funded through personal means and donations,
developed in free time or at the expense of having a job by socially connected individuals,
initiated as an act of discovery and personal betterment (as well as improving the CMS genepool).
It's a hobby and a challenge spearheaded by one man who would rather his heartfelt efforts weren't used to improve the lot of unsavoury extremes.

"I will express my wish here that Typo3 is not used to spread material that is against the word of the Bible and the human rights"
It's not big ask, and frankly, if I was planning on setting up a multi-language paedophile fetish lounge/support board, I don't think I'd pay much attention anyway.

Rather more objectionable terms and conditions have been known.
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:16 AM on January 7, 2005


bugbread , yes, it would be difficult for me to (try to) respect his wishes, because many of them (except for the anti Christian) are so subjective. So would you try to respect his wishes , or purposefully go against them?

Also it riles me that he has it in for new agers - whatever they may be.
posted by dprs75 at 4:18 AM on January 7, 2005


"The most important thing in my life is my faith in Jesus since I'm a personal christian. So what does that mean? Am I sitting in a little jar bell world reading my Bible all the time? No, in fact most of my time I don't talk about Jesus. I try to "live" Jesus. Do what he did. I'm probably far from good at it, but hey - at least I can do my best."

Seems like an ok guy to me, if he actually does what he describes in the quote above. We need more Christians that actually emulate Christ like that.

As such, I would abide by his wishes. However, if he was a Fred Phelps-ian Xian, I probably wouldn't. Though, I don't see Fred Phelps writing and releasing any GPLed software, and if he did it would probably suck.

The "New Age" thing is sticky, though. What's "New Age"? Crystals and incense? Or acupuncture? Moonies? Ram Dass? Timothy Leary, Terrance McKenna or Robert Shulgin?
posted by loquacious at 4:23 AM on January 7, 2005


I plain would not use it. Some people think that a few of the ads I host are sexually explicit.. Hang on, I misspelled "what dprs75 said". It's subjective, and his wishes are vague enough for me to plain consider any other CMS system where all I have to do is follow the GPL.
posted by dabitch at 4:32 AM on January 7, 2005


Doesn't this go against the freedom aspect of Free Software?
posted by jackiemcghee at 4:40 AM on January 7, 2005


Kasper's O.K., more than that, he rocks. He has his beliefs, but doesn't try to force them down your throat. He asks that you respect them, but they're not part of the license.

This is strictly my view. Everyone in the community has his or her own reasons and to my knowledge most of the people contributing are not christians in the same sense that I am. In fact TYPO3 is simply Open Source Software and "religiously neutral" as such. So don't worry.

posted by signal at 4:48 AM on January 7, 2005


But I will express my wish here that Typo3 is not used to spread material that is against the word of the Bible and the human rights. For instance don't use TYPO3 for NewAge publications, anti-christian messages, sexually explicit material, extreme political propaganda and so on. You'll be the judge yourself, but please respect this wish

The guy seems pretty cool. However, the above is a contradiction in terms.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.


It's pretty much either the Bible or the human rights, but not both.
posted by magullo at 4:50 AM on January 7, 2005


Yes, this "no NewAge publications" is simply weird. What's up with that? And shouldn't "NewAge" be two words?

But be that as it may, this guy is giving away something for free. As such, common courtesy and sense dictates that you should at least try to respect his wishes regarding his product. It's probably legal to ignore them and nobody can do anything about it if you do or pretend not to be aware of them -- you're just being a jerk in that case.
Although I suppose you could clear your conscience by giving money to some charity that he'd approve of, like the Cigar Smokers for Christ or so.
posted by sour cream at 4:57 AM on January 7, 2005


they wrote it and are letting you have it on some condition. if you don't agree with the condition, don't take their stuff.

what's hard to understand about that?
posted by andrew cooke at 5:05 AM on January 7, 2005


It's pretty much either the Bible or the human rights, but not both.

He obviously has a different notion of human rights than the UN does. I don't see the conflict.

Seems like an OK guy. He has his software which he'd like others to use according to his wishes. Don't like his wishes, don't use his software.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:14 AM on January 7, 2005


magullo - as far as i understand the request, he's saying you can use the software except if it is used either against the bible or against human rights. so there's no inconsistency. you cannot use the software to support ant-bible free speech because that is against the bible. that it is pro-rights doesn't come into it.

i can't see how you come to your conclusion that it's inconcistent unless you argue that he's saying you must use it to support both the bible and human rights. but that's clearly not what he's saying.

note that he uses "and" the way a logician uses "or". that's normal in english speech and a problem when teaching logic.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:28 AM on January 7, 2005


Yeah, I'd respect his wishes. Dunno him personally, but he seems like one of the rare Xian folks who actually seems really Xian. He puts his request as a request, not a condition. He acknowledges that it may well be used against his wishes, and that makes him sad/angry, but he has decided that the benefits to people outweighs the drawbacks, and has decided to publish anyway. Sounds like an unusually good guy to me. Why wouldn't I respect his wishes?

On preview: Andrew, he's not even saying you "cannot". He's saying "please don't".
posted by Bugbread at 5:33 AM on January 7, 2005


"as far as i understand the request, he's saying you can use the software except..."

I understand this differently.

The software is GPL'd and he really has nothing to say about how it's used providing the terms are met (copyright, source distribution, etc.) and I don't think he is attempting to further restrict the license. You can use the software for anti-Bible sites, though I expect support from the Typo-3 community might be less than enthusiastic.

I'm torn on whether I would follow his wishes were I in the market for a CMS. Part of me says, "Hey, he's a cool guy and there are plenty of other choices, why not?" However, I take open source software seriously and tend to follow the letter of the license, in which case, I wonder why he wouldn't choose a more restrictive license if he is serious about limiting it's distribution to sites that meet his moral standards.

In the end, considering there are plenty of choices I would attempt to use another product for my "Satanist Lesbians for Crystal Healing" site but if there was a compelling feature in Typo-3 I'd go ahead and use it anyway. If he doesn't like it he is free to change the licensing on subsequent releases.
posted by cedar at 5:46 AM on January 7, 2005


I wonder why he wouldn't choose a more restrictive license if he is serious about limiting it's distribution to sites that meet his moral standards.

Because he's not serious about limiting it. It's a request.

I personally would like it if my fiancee gives me a backrub every once in a while once we're married. But I'm not going to write it into a prenuptial agreement, even though that option exists. I'll ask. And if she says, "No, I'll never give you a backrub, ever", I'll be disappointed. And that's the end of it.

Not everything in this world has to be thought of in terms of rules, laws, and contracts. The things that you do even though you don't have to, or that you don't do even though you can, are part of what makes you a moral being.
posted by Bugbread at 6:02 AM on January 7, 2005


"Satanist Lesbians forr Crystal Healing" ? I heard about them, they opened a Body Shop I guess ...or a massage center ? Whatever.

Anyway his plea is so vague it includes a lot of everything..expecially when it comes to anti-christian...almost everything is antichristian including you, probably.
posted by elpapacito at 6:03 AM on January 7, 2005


Sour Cream: You're right -- "New Age" is two words.

However, the so-called skeptical community now delights in fusing the two words together into a term of derision, creating a joke you'll see repeated ad infinitum: "Newage -- rhymes with sewage."
posted by MadeByMark at 6:04 AM on January 7, 2005


Placing restrictions on how others use a piece of software is itself a violation of the General Public Licence.

Richard Stallman has said "someone could use your software to power a baby-grinding machine" but that it would go against the licence to try and impose such restrictions on your users.

If the guy still felt strongly about his anti-NewAge feelings he could ask that people who don't agree with him not put a button on their site advertizing which CMS they use, but he can't restrict how his software is used unless he writes his own licence under which to release future versions of his code.

I'm reminded of the satanism website that had a "created on a mac" button at the bottom of the page. Apple asked them to take the button down, they didn't ask them to stop using Macs.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:08 AM on January 7, 2005


I'm a bit confused by the responses I'm seeing above, as well.

As far as I was able to determine from his site and his plea, the license itself does not prohibit that use, he only asks that it not happen. A respectful request from the developer to use his software in a way that is not actively contrary to his beliefs, although they differ from mine, is something I can respect.
posted by ChrisR at 6:09 AM on January 7, 2005


Placing restrictions on how others use a piece of software is itself a violation of the General Public Licence.

It's a good thing he isn't placing any restrictions, then, isn't it?
posted by Bugbread at 6:11 AM on January 7, 2005


someone could use your software to power a baby-grinding machine

My life just got a whole lot easier.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:12 AM on January 7, 2005


elpapacito: "...almost everything is antichristian including you, probably."

Why would you assume that?

I'm just not convinced that ones faith (or lack of ) has anything whatsoever to do with software licensing. Though a request (which I acknowledged in my previous post) the fact remains that he chose to release the software under a specific set of conditions -- I do not believe that following those conditions makes, as bugbread alluded to, one immoral.

"Not everything in this world has to be thought of in terms of rules, laws, and contracts."

Of course not. However, software licensing is one of those things that probably should be thought of in terms of legalities -- maybe we need a CCC (Creative Commons Christian) software license.

This is a two-edged sword. If I am expected to follow copyright laws or face prosecution, I should also be allowed to follow the terms of open source licenses without further restriction either explicit or implicit. Also, before this gets sidetracked, I would like to reiterate that I would make every attempt to follow his wishes but in the end, if I want or need the software, I'm going to use it however I see fit within the terms of the license.
posted by cedar at 6:21 AM on January 7, 2005


From here:

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:21 AM on January 7, 2005


i think people (cedar, particularly) are seeing the licence and the request as two very different things. the licence being a legal document that "must" be obeyed and the request being something that is simply "asked".

i'm not sure what the difference is myself (or rather, from my point of view, they have the same moral weight). i would treat his request the same way i treat the licence. if there's an inconsistency that makes me unsure of what to do in a particular situation (if, for example, i wanted to extend and release the software) i would either contact the author and/or use something else.

in particular, the idea someone would ignore (or explicitly act against) the request to try and follow more closely the licence seems perverse. it's putting legal and logical niceties above people, as far as i can see.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:30 AM on January 7, 2005


Space Coyote - that's Open Source, not GPL. the GPL faq states that you can modify the GPL licence as you want, only that you shouldn't call it the GPL any more. so if you want to take the track that the requirements are an extension to the licence then the worst you can charge him with, is that he should not refer to the GPL as the GPL but instead write his own licence, with the text from the GPL plus the additional restrictions. it would not be open source, but it would still be a licence.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:33 AM on January 7, 2005


But it has been specifically released under the GPL, not the Christian Public Licence, so no.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:41 AM on January 7, 2005


I do not believe that following those conditions makes, as bugbread alluded to, one immoral.

Hrm...I thought pretty hard about my phrasing, but it looks like I wasn't clear. I'm not saying that not following his request is immoral. I just meant that legality is useful for external regulation of behavior, whereas a request relies on internal regulation. Internal regulation of behavior is closely tied to morality. People are positing that "If he wanted result A, he should have legislated it.", and I just wanted to point out that there are other appeals other than law.

To put it another way, with a contrasting example, if a doctor says "I'll give you this antidote to the poison you drank, but I request that, in exchange, you kill your family.", I'll take the antidote, but won't kill my family. That certainly doesn't make me immoral. It's just that the appeal was not legislative but relied on voluntary action, which is the source of morality.

Or, put another way, not all elements are xenon, some are carbon, which is the source of organic life. But that doesn't mean that carbon is organic life.

Sorry, longwinded, but it was hard to explain for me otherwise.

However, software licensing is one of those things that probably should be thought of in terms of legalities

You're absolutely correct. However, he's not talking about software licensing. You are totally free to use his software to write about Satan Crystals, and he completely acknowledges that. Pretty much everyone in this thread, whether they realize it or not, is agreeing with him about the conditions of use of this software, licensing issues, the purpose of licensing, etc.

He's saying "You can do this, but I'd rather you not."
Other folks are saying, "Then choose a license that prohibits it."
The problem is, he's not trying to prohibit it, he's just asking politely that you not do it.

In other words, it all just comes down to the difference between a "request" and a "demand". He doesn't want to make a demand, just a request. And some people are taking the position that he should either be entirely silent, or make it a demand.

One more example, and I'll stop before this post is too long:

If my coworker sneezes without covering his mouth, I might ask him to stop, but I probably wouldn't go to the VP and ask a new company policy to be established. There is a middle ground.

And, no, I'm not comparing the folks in this thread to uncovered sneezers. I just wanted the example to be relatively simple.
posted by Bugbread at 6:43 AM on January 7, 2005


if you want to take the track that the requirements are an extension to the licence then the worst you can charge him with, is that he should not refer to the GPL as the GPL but instead write his own licence

I've just reread the entire page, but I cannot see a single place where he puts forth his requests as requirements. Instead, I see lots of:

In fact TYPO3 is simply Open Source Software and "religiously neutral" as such. So don't worry.

But I will express my wish here that Typo3 is not used to spread material that is against the word of the Bible and the human rights. For instance don't use TYPO3 for NewAge publications, anti-christian messages, sexually explicit material, extreme political propaganda and so on. You'll be the judge yourself, but please respect this wish!
(emphasis mine)

This is like a big ole straw man marathon here (not because I think anyone is axe grinding, but just that people are so unused to seeing people make non-litigiuous and non-contractual requests in relation to stuff like software that people haven't been able to wrap their head around the fact that this guy isn't adding requirements, prohibiting anything, or demanding anything)
posted by Bugbread at 6:51 AM on January 7, 2005


but, in this case, what middle ground is there? do you really believe that there's a site that will save kittens and babies only if it uses this guy's software (while abusing christians) and not anyone else's? and if that were the case, wouldn't you use the software anyway, whether the restriction were a demand or a request?

in other words, i think you're focussing on a fine legal point that has no bearing on this example.

in practice, for this case, either use the code for reasons that don't contravene the request or licence, or don't use it at all. a morally justifiable basis for any other action is going to require either very odd circumstances, or a laser-like focus on legal points to the exclusion of common decency.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:53 AM on January 7, 2005


andrew cooke:"in particular, the idea someone would ignore (or explicitly act against) the request to try and follow more closely the licence seems perverse. it's putting legal and logical niceties above people, as far as i can see."

This, I think, is the crucial issue and touches on why Kasper's 'request' isn't sitting well with me.

From the little I've read it seems that Kasper has invested several years in this TYPO3 and in addition to being the lead developer is the primary author. When someone so important to a project makes such a request, in very clear terms and bold type, it strikes me as coercive. It's really a little more than a request if, as you desire, we put people over 'legal and logical niceties'.

Viewed as a moral issue rather than a legal/logical one I like it even less. In essence what he is saying is, "I have chosen to release this software under the GPL to better serve God and material things are not important. That is why I am giving it away... BUT, you should only use it in a manner that I approve of."

You don't get it both ways. Software (as in speech) is either free or it isn't. If you want to remove the 'letter of the law' from this discussion and view it in more human terms, the author is doing little more than attempting to circumvent the terms of a license he chose.
posted by cedar at 6:55 AM on January 7, 2005


but the author is free to do that! it's his software. he can choose whatever licence he wants....

the only criticism you can make is that he shouldn't call this final licence "the GPL", or "open source". fair enough, but it's no excuse to go against his wishes, which are perfectly clear.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:00 AM on January 7, 2005


bugbread, as long as we're doing the semantic thing, compare the following, first your quote with your added emphasis:

"But I will express my wish here that Typo3 is not used to spread material that is against the word of the Bible and the human rights. For instance don't use TYPO3 for NewAge publications, anti-christian messages, sexually explicit material, extreme political propaganda and so on. You'll be the judge yourself, but please respect this wish!"

Now, from the page:

"But I will express my wish here that Typo3 is not used to spread material that is against the word of the Bible and the human rights. For instance don't use TYPO3 for NewAge publications, anti-christian messages, sexually explicit material, extreme political propaganda and so on. You'll be the judge yourself, but please respect this wish!"

His somehow seems like less of a request.
posted by cedar at 7:03 AM on January 7, 2005


It might be worth noting that Kasper is Danish and English is a second language.
Nuance is a notoriously difficult skill to pick up a second time.
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:09 AM on January 7, 2005


is a second language to him
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:10 AM on January 7, 2005


andrew cooke: "but the author is free to do that! it's his software. he can choose whatever licence he wants....

the only criticism you can make is that he shouldn't call this final licence "the GPL", or "open source". fair enough, but it's no excuse to go against his wishes, which are perfectly clear"


His wishes are anything but clear, he says one thing and does another.

First he chooses a license that essentially allows any use, then he 'requests' that it not be used for sites that offend him. I am not debating his right to release his work any way that he sees fit; but, and I know how pedantically priggish this sounds, the license should reflect his wishes.
posted by cedar at 7:12 AM on January 7, 2005


I would use the software. I would respect the rationale behind his request. However, since his code was GPLed, I wouldn't necessarily respect his wishes.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:21 AM on January 7, 2005


Andrew: Sorry, my examples were extreme just to get the point across, but it looks like I went to far. I think we should just ignore the bit I said about "morality". I didn't mean to imply that use or non-use, compliance or noncompliance, or anything else was directly related to morality. I just meant that there are requests/demands/proclamations/issuances which are legal, and which can therefore be punished by law, and there are r/d/p/i which are not based on legality, and carry no punishment. That's all I was trying to say.


When someone so important to a project makes such a request, in very clear terms and bold type, it strikes me as coercive.

It certainly doesn't strike me as coercive, in any way. And he seems to have gone out of his way to point out that it's not coercive.

On preview: Well, it seems this is the crux of the situation. You're interpreting a certain passage with emphasis in one place, I'm interpreting it with emphasis in another, and, in the end, we've reached, as it were, the key in any disagreement, that central kernel of dispute, that can only be resolved by asking the guy directly.

By the way, this is one of the things that I find happens quite seldomly. Finding the one central point of difference from which everything else radiates. It feels good.

On preview again:

the license should reflect his wishes.

I think it does, in that the license allows any use, and he allows any use. It seems to do exactly what he wants it to do. But I'm not too knowledgable about contract law. Can you have recommendations or requests that aren't conditions or demands in a contract/license? I can't really imagine things to the equivalent of "I'd rather you not do X, but you can if you want" (in more appropriate language, of course) being in a license.
posted by Bugbread at 7:21 AM on January 7, 2005


Say, for example, the code distribution contains the usual Licence and Copying files in the top of the sourdce tree, but also contains a Readme in which the author lays out his 'only some are welcome within these walls' request. To a reader not totally versed in legalese to do with licencing and distribution of software it would not be entire clear which is the legal requirement and which is simply a political statement.

And it's this unclarity, attaching his political speech to his software, that bugs me.

Is anyone mirroring the source code for this project with the political requests stripped out?
posted by Space Coyote at 7:22 AM on January 7, 2005


There are no political requests, are there?
Only polite ones.
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:29 AM on January 7, 2005


Space Coyote: This is a total side comment, and I don't mean to distract from the topic at hand, but:

"attaching his political speech"

I realize in North America (among others, perhaps), politics, gender, and religion have become so intertwined that discussion of any is often referred to as "political", but is that also the case in Denmark? I know, for example, that in Japan, if somebody talked about religion and someone else made a reference to their "political speech", it wouldn't make any sense. I'm not so knowledgable about Denmark, though.
posted by Bugbread at 7:33 AM on January 7, 2005


"I can't really imagine things to the equivalent of "I'd rather you not do X, but you can if you want" (in more appropriate language, of course) being in a license."

That's a damn good question. I've always been prone to running around saying you can set any terms you want in a license, but can you? Obviously you can't set conditions that would be illegal and limiting use to a certain religous affiliation (or forbidding it to another) is probably (or at least, should be) illegal.

I'm sure one could keep the rights and give them away on a case by case basis, but that probably isn't the best software distribution model.
posted by cedar at 7:40 AM on January 7, 2005


bugbread, to clarify I'm not just claiming any religious speech is political. If he had said: "here's some free software, I hope you find it usefull, and God bless." that wouldn't be political.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:41 AM on January 7, 2005


Ok (and once again not disagreeing, just asking): What part of it did you find political?
posted by Bugbread at 8:02 AM on January 7, 2005


For chrissake, you're all avoiding the real question. Would you use software written by a guy who smokes cigars?
posted by 327.ca at 8:08 AM on January 7, 2005


When he said that he preferred that people woh agree with him should partake of his gift and not those who disagree with him, that was the biggest nono for me, anyway.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:08 AM on January 7, 2005


My $.02: Yes, under GPL, he can't place restrictions, and he knows that. He's merely asking for good consideration.

My personal bias would be to respect his wishes. But that would mean that I couldn't use his software for any personal projects at all, since simply by virtue of my involvement in it, any personal project of mine is in opposition to the word of the bible.

But if the stuff did something I really, really wanted to do, I'd be sorely tempted to use it anyway. He's just asking, after all...

As for whether you can put "requests" in a license, my take would be "sure you can". The argument against would be that "requests" don't have legal force, and so would dilute the license by obscuring its interpretation. But just about any software license is loaded with unenforceable stuff that amounts to "requests".

In general, contracts are frequently larded-up with stuff that're even unlawful (i.e., contrary to civil statute), if not quite illegal (i.e., criminal). Those parts are simply invalid; they don't invalidate the whole license, only those parts which are dependent on them. For example, the non-compete clause in many employment contracts is typically unenforceable in NYS, where I live, and yet, the company will still take you to court to enforce it if they feel a need. You have to go to court and get it thrown out, which costs you money. Stuff like that ends up being a hammer to wave around; there may be no badge behind it, but it's still a hammer, and it could still hurt.

But to be clear, I'm not saying that's what this guy's doing. I think he's well within rights to ask that people not use his creation for things he wouldn't approve of. But he also needs to accept that people will generally ignore him. I doubt he's missed that point.
posted by lodurr at 8:12 AM on January 7, 2005


I don't understand why he would make such a request in the first place, unless of course he is looking for some kind of praise/recognition from the groups that oppose the one's he mentioned. Otherwise it just opens the floodgates of critsism and debate.

This is a tool, right? Kinda like the Cannon (camera) metioned above. Or even a socket set you might find at a weapons plant. Manufacturers of these tools know they can be used for things they don't necessarily agree with, but how often do they draw everyone's attention to it?
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:15 AM on January 7, 2005


Space Coyote:

First, I don't think he's said anything about people who disagree with him using or not using his product. Satanists can use it all the live long day to make sites about Hello Kitty, their favorite bands, or corporate websites.

What I remember him saying was that he preferred that people not use his tools for things that he thinks are bad. Which I think really goes for any of us. Laser pointer manufacturers probably prefer that people not use their tools for shining in cockpits. Fertilizer manufacturers probably prefer that people not use their products for making bombs.

The difference is that we don't notice or think about those preferences, because those uses are usually 1) illegal, and 2) we agree with those preferences, so they are transparent.

What makes this stick out is that the things he thinks are bad are not what we think are bad. I disagree with him on what is "bad", but it's not a nono for me for him to say so, any more than fertilizer companies or laser pointer companies ideas are a nono for me.

And, if we want to remove the whole illegality aspect that comes up in the examples above, another example: If I made some sort of scripting language, I'd hope people wouldn't use it to spam Mefi with goatse. And I might say so on my homepage. "Look, folks, it's GPL, so no matter what you do, I'm not going to send the lawyers out after you, but I'd really you rather not use it to goatspam Mefi. Please, thanks."
posted by Bugbread at 8:25 AM on January 7, 2005


No. I would probably avoid using his product, but if I needed to use it, I'd do so with no regard to his preferences, with a clear conscience.
posted by rushmc at 8:27 AM on January 7, 2005


He obviously has a different notion of human rights than the UN does.

Yeah, right. As far as being set in stone, I'll say that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has surpassed the Bible by far. In other words, if he has a *particular* notion of human rights, then I reserve the right to have a particular notion of what the bible says (it's all code, and it really means the opposite of what it says literally - how's that for a notion?)

as far as i understand the request, he's saying you can use the software except if it is used either against the bible or against human rights so there's no inconsistency. you cannot use the software to support ant-bible free speech because that is against the bible. that it is pro-rights doesn't come into it.

I sure see a hell of an inconsistency. The Declaration of Universal Human Rights is not a set of rules to choose and pick from. You either believe that any human, under any circumstances, has the right to express freely what he or she thinks or you simply do not support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You either take it as a whole or you simply do not support it. There is no such thing as partial support.

Contrary, BTW, to the case of the Bible. Plenty of people will defend its validity while in fact not taking its words literally.

Once again: he seems like a good guy, but I think he is wrong here. Just like I think it is wrong to read creationist literature for a hobby, like he says he does. He should do as he pleases, of course, but I can also say what I please.
posted by magullo at 8:44 AM on January 7, 2005


The thing that really gets his goat:
Always taking, never giving. That makes me angry for really good reasons!
Metafilter: Always...

Oh never mind
posted by mzurer at 8:51 AM on January 7, 2005


I sure see a hell of an inconsistency. The Declaration of Universal Human Rights is not a set of rules to choose and pick from. You either believe that any human, under any circumstances, has the right to express freely what he or she thinks or you simply do not support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You either take it as a whole or you simply do not support it. There is no such thing as partial support.

Hmm...I don't see any inconsistency. He's not saying he is supporting the Declaration of Universal Human Rights (which would be a big ole inconsistency), he's saying that he doesn't want the software to be used for anything opposing the Declaration of Universal Human Rights, or anything pagan/antichristian/etc.

I think you're interpreting his "don't use it for things that do A or B" phrasing to mean "by the way, A and B are compatible".

So let's look at some examples:

A site about shoes:
  OK for human rights
  OK for not being newage, anti-christian, sexually explicit, etc.
Therefore:
OK

A site about Satanism:
  OK for human rights
  NG for being NewAge
Therefore:
NG

A site supporting thought control
  NG for human rights
  OK for not being newage, anti-christian, sexually explicit, etc.
Therefore:
NG

A site supporting brainwashing people into being Satanists
  NG for human rights
  NG for being anti-christian
Therefore:
NG

They're separate and unrelated conditions, and they don't have to match eachother to make sense (if they did, I couldn't have written the above examples, because paradoxes would exist). The fact that I could very easily determine if these hypothetical sites match his criteria means that his criteria are not inconsistent.

What they probably do indicate is the he is inconsistent, which may be where the confusion is coming from.

Now, what WOULD make it paradoxical is if it said it had to be used for pages supporting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and opposing New Age stuff. But that's not what he said.

The "or" statement is very very powerful.

And, by the way, your assertion that "You either take it as a whole or you simply do not support it. There is no such thing as partial support" is your opinion, and you're welcome to it, but without support, a person who disagrees is also welcome to their opinion, and we hit a separate sticking point where you're both making equally valid, but opposing, arguments, based on the fact that you're making different initial assumptions.
posted by Bugbread at 9:27 AM on January 7, 2005


Sorry, in my editing and reeditting, I accidentally put "NewAge" for Satanism. That should have been "anti-christian" (I had a different example there before, and forgot to change the results text accordingly.
posted by Bugbread at 9:30 AM on January 7, 2005


Personally, I would do whatever I felt like with it, but that's my policy for every bit on my computer, so, nothing personal.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:35 AM on January 7, 2005


Not only would I completely ignore his request, I'm half tempted to create a site about "artful porn" or the healing power of crystals using the software at this point.

Yes, i realize he has made a request, not a requirement and that he may even be a nice guy. But he's sticking his christianity in my face and attempting to control what I do, not because he's creator of the software, but because he's the Christian creator of the software and feels the need to somehow, on some level, micro mange the world to be more christian like as he interprets it.

and his request is so vague!!! That's the truly annoying part, because I can go across the street or roll over in bed (my wife is a practicing christian, sunday school teaching and all that) and find a christian who does NOT agree that these are christian beliefs.

Yeah, it's just request. But it's narrow minded request and this sort of crap from any religion shouldn't be tolerated.

yeah, I was raised catholic, what's that got to do with this?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:30 AM on January 7, 2005


Brandon: he's sticking his christianity in my face and attempting to control what I do, not because he's creator of the software, but because he's the Christian creator of the software and feels the need to somehow, on some level, micro mange the world to be more christian like as he interprets it.

First, he's certainly not sticking anything in your face. If anything, dprs75 is. To get to the linked page, you would have had to have first gone to typo3.com, discovered what the software was, found out about typo3.org, then clicked on "Community", then "People", and then on Kasper's link. There's plenty of software I use and love, whose community-people-individual links I've never explored. I don7t know what policies they have, but no matter what they are, if it's buried that deep, it's not in your face.

Second, he feels the need, on some level, to micro manage the world to be more like his value system. So what? So do I. If anybody proposed legalizing murder, I'd oppose it, because I think murder is bad. If someone tried to legalize rape, I'd oppose it, because I think it's bad.

But Kasper's got his head on straight. He's not trying to pass legislation. He believes in turning the other cheek. He's put out software that he knows will be misused, because he thinks that the software being freely available is a good thing. He could be a hell of a lot more forceful in his management (using a different license, for example), but he chose not to because, apparently, he doesn't feel like pushing his beliefs on others. He just puts it out as a request, not an order.

The more I think about it, the more I'm impressed by him. He's apparently pretty big on tolerance. He knows what he thinks is bad, and he doesn't want his software to be used for what he finds to be bad, but he has the presence of mind to leave that decision in the users' hands. Compare that to remarks in this thread like "this sort of crap from any religion shouldn't be tolerated."

I'm a big fan of tolerance. Which means I'm usually not a big fan of Christians. But it seems pretty clear that in this case, the Christian guy is the one being tolerant.

and his request is so vague!!! That's the truly annoying part, because I can go across the street or roll over in bed (my wife is a practicing christian, sunday school teaching and all that) and find a christian who does NOT agree that these are christian beliefs.

Yes, you can get a lot of different opinions about what christian beliefs are. Which is why it's a damn good thing that he isn't vague. He doesn't say you can't use it for sites that oppose christian values and ideals. That would be damn vague. Instead, he says "don't use TYPO3 for NewAge publications, anti-christian messages, sexually explicit material, extreme political propaganda".

That's pretty clear to me. Sure, it could be more clear (how far does the aegis of New Age cover?), but past that it's pretty straightforward. Don't use it to post screeds against christianity. Ok, I get that. Don't post sexually explicit material. Ok, once again, vague, but if you think in terms of movie ratings, it's not maddeningly vague, either. Tasteful nudes, ok. Hardcore penetration bad. Stuff in the middle: unclear. Extreme political propaganda: If most people think your arguments are looney, this applies to you. Skinheads, violent anarchists, Unabomber types, "Nuke em all and let god sort them out", this is you. Regular right wing, left wing, centrist? This doesn't apply to you.

I dunno, I don't see where all this vagueness is. Unless you want stuff like:

"No vaginas, except in the case of medical sites, but not including sites on erectile dysfunction or nymphomania, or in the case that the vagina is less than 2 pixels by 2 pixels, or in the case of National Geographic photos, the vagina being defined as the labia, clitoris, and including pubic hairs, but not including the inner uterine walls.........."
posted by Bugbread at 10:56 AM on January 7, 2005


Doesn't this go against the freedom aspect of Free Software?
posted by jackiemcghee at 4:40 AM PST on January 7


I think it just means "free as in beer" dood :(.
posted by basicchannel at 11:29 AM on January 7, 2005


i'm curious about this, because i have done something similar in the past and may do again. if someone were to release software with some restrictions like this, would anyone here who says that they would ignore the wishes of this person have respected them if they were formally included in the licence?

in other words, at what point do you respect the authors wishes:
A - as well as you can understand them, being generous if necessary
B - only if there's a very clear, single interpretation
C - only if it's clear and legally enforceable
D - never
and how much does agreeing/disagreeing with that person's viewpoint come into this?

also, bonus question - do you feel that it's more or less ok to do "what you want" with something that someone has produced, rather than something they bought. for example, would you use this software whatever the licence, but not make copies of his cds while he wasn't looking? i'm not sure that's clear - maybe if i explain why i ask. for me, the critical thing here is that this is what this person has made. that gives him much more moral right to control its use than simply spending money on something. apparently this is completely crazy to most people, right?
posted by andrew cooke at 11:46 AM on January 7, 2005


I think that acting as a conscientious christian, the developer is choosing to give a "witness" in making his preferences for the use of his tool known to prospective users. By making such a request, he has done what he could under the terms of the license he has chose to distribute his software under. I'm guessing that his conscience is clear that he did what he could to make sure that his "baby" is being used in (what he sees) as a moral way. I think he also realizes that he has no real control over what you (the user) actually choose to do with that software, but is figuring that if even one person chooses a different tool to do that dirty work, that he has done his job.

He does what he has to do and you do what you have to do. Everybody answers to their maker for their actions in the end (or not).
: )

Requests, I don't have a problem with. Legislating everyone into abiding by one's beliefs... that I have a problem with.
posted by spock at 11:47 AM on January 7, 2005


By the way, if you are looking for another Open Source CMS, I recommend taking a gander at Mambo. It rocks.
posted by spock at 11:51 AM on January 7, 2005


A in the case of individuals / small companies

C in the case of big ole faceless corporations

And whether I agree with them or not is not a big deal, but whether I find them to be evil or not is. That's why generally the big faceless corporations get less leeway. Yes, it's stupid, but it's not a principled stand. I just looked back at my current habits (registering shareware but yarring equally priced megaproducts), and it appears to be how I function. I feel so...trite and slashdottish.

And I agree with spock completely. How eminently logical.
posted by Bugbread at 11:58 AM on January 7, 2005


I would like to point out that the Americans who are responding to this are imagining Kasper is a Christian like Jerry Fallwell or James Dobson is a Christian, which is not necessarily the best assumption. Everyone who's assuming that thier website would run counter to the Bible's teaching is doing so based on thier own understanding of what the Bible teaches, when you don't really know what Kasper thinks the Bible teaches on a given subject.
But American evangelicals are a pretty unique crowd, and most of the other Christians in history and the world would find much to object to in evangelical theology and practice. Odds are, Kasper is as or more politically liberal than most of MeFi (the few evangelicals I know from Europe are to the left of most Americans) and his theology doesn't have too much in common with American conservative Christians.
It's also pretty clear that he doesn't intend his request to be a requirement - he's simply making a statement about how he'd like people to use his software.

What I'd like to know is if the software is good software, and whether or not it competes with the likes of Moveable Type or Word Press.

Oh yeah, and what spock said.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:03 PM on January 7, 2005


Movable Type and WordPress are primarily for blogging. Typo3 is a real full-fledged CMS, which goes waaaaaay beyond blogging (as does Mambo). Typo3 purportedly has a pretty long learning curve for the developer, but once you know it you basically use Typo3 as a website development FACTORY and turn them out in 1/4 the time of starting from scratch - with much more capabilities.

If you are interested in Open Source CMSs for various purposes, I recommend opensourcecms.com.
posted by spock at 12:32 PM on January 7, 2005


I had no interest in NewAge, politically extreme anti-Christian writing, but I'm actually thinking that I'd like to start just such a project now with TYPO3, simply on account of this request...

Maybe that's only because I'm a jerk, though.
posted by xinit at 2:43 PM on January 7, 2005


Someone makes a polite request, no strings attached, doesn't put it in their license because they don't want to put pressure on you, and that's your sole reason for wanting to use it to counter their request? Yeah, sounds like being a jerk to me.

Now, if you were looking on making a New Age, politically extreme anti-Christian page anyway, and typo3 seemed like the best tool for the job, that would be a different story.
posted by Bugbread at 2:47 PM on January 7, 2005


Jerks come in Christian and anti-Christian flavors!
posted by spock at 3:57 PM on January 7, 2005


Remove the GPL and replace it with JesusPL and be done with it already. Christ, what a drama queen. The inflated egos of some open source developers are fucking unbelievable sometimes. Mix that with their pet cause and you have nuts like this playing this "well, its open but its kinda not" game. I remember an earlier attempt to make a new license so that "evil countries" can't use otherwise free software. And another regarding restrictions on the military.

Its either Open or its not. Putting on extra restrictions means its not. The problem is he cant change the license now because of all the work others (who probably dont share his Jesus-centric view of the world) have put in. This is just plain old fashioned censorship and abuse of one's position.

Also, that page could use more glamour shots of him. I'm not sure what he looks like.
posted by skallas at 5:21 PM on January 7, 2005


Skallas: Dr*ma Qu**n? He just made a straightforward request, and said, basically, "but take it or leave it, it's up to you". The drama queens all seem to be concentrated on this thread.

He's not playing "it's open but it's kinda not". He's playing "it's open". He repeats that several times on that page and other pages. The people saying "it's open but it's kinda not" all seem to be concentrated on this thread.

He's not putting extra restrictions on it. He's put a request, and made it damn clear that it's not a restriction. The people saying he's putting extra restrictions on it all seem to be concentrated on this thread.

He's not performing censorship. He's made it damn clear that it's GPL and you can use it any damn way you want and he won't try to stop it. The people saying he's performing censorship all seem to be concentrated on this thread.

However, you are right about having too damn many glamour shots : )

Seriously, I swear, it's like everybody is skimming his page, then assuming things based on bad experiences with unrelated folks and issues and blaming it on him. It's like Burning man, the Wickerman, and the Wizard of Oz, there are so many straw men in here.

You can quote me on that. I'd rather you not put that quote under a big picture of goatse. Please don't. I won't stop you if you do, though. I won't even take it to Meta. I'll just be a bit disappointed, and that's it.

Did I just abuse my power and perform censorship?

I don't know what day asking someone something politely, while making it clear that it's just a request, and in no way an order, became such a heinous offense. But I wish I did, so I could go back in my time machine and correct whatever it is that got so fucked up that people would rather this guy put a binding clause in his license preventing their use of his product than for him to allow the use of the product.
posted by Bugbread at 7:05 PM on January 7, 2005


D - never

The hardware store doesn't get to tell me what I can and can't build with the hammer I buy from them, sorry.
posted by rushmc at 9:09 PM on January 7, 2005


No, I would not respect his request. Not that I'm in the market for whatever this thing is, but if its Free software, the guy should seriously think about his motives in even making that request. I'm not saying it's illegal or whatever, just that he seems to be missing the point of Free software in a pretty big way by putting that out there to begin with.

I write this stuff for a living. There are sites and people I dislike or disagree with using my software. I wouldn't in a million years think of asking them not to. If there is an ethical conflict here, it is the conflict between this developer's desire to appear Christ-like and generous, and his internal desire to actually restrict the benefit of his works to only "good people."

I would like to express what pisses people off about this, so that the "Hey, it's just a request man, chill out" crowd can understand it, but I'm not sure I can. It goes something like this: Free software developers and users on the whole tend to be very ethically-aware. The GPL itself is a sort of codified ethic, that you must share freely what has been freely shared with you. That sense of doing the right thing tends to pervade the whole community's worldview. So for someone to say, "Hey, this is totally free and stuff under the GPL, but I'd rather you not use it if you're doing something I don't like" puts us in an ethical quandry. If you don't want to freely share your work, then, we feel, don't put it under the license to begin with. If you do want to freely share it, then let the license say what it says -- one part of which is that there shall be no other ethical obligations besides this one.

So, while it has no legal force, it does carry ethical force, which is the primary force in the whole arrangement to begin with. So there is really no such thing as a "polite request" about use in the context of GPL software. Any such request goes against the spirit of the GPL, and is likely to not only piss off potential users, but cause them to not use your stuff even if they weren't going to violate your unenforceable request.

I have no beef with his having preferences about what his code is used for. I have preferences about what my code is used for. I'm sure everyone does. But, basically, not keeping it to yourself is a pretty major party foul.
posted by rusty at 9:24 PM on January 7, 2005


If I were to find this software useful, I'd fork it, then delete all references to the author and redistribute it with a clause explicitly allowing all the uses he is against.

I'm sorry, I don't think software should be politicized, especially like this. The GPL is the GPL. If he's not willing to alter the license, he should not make comments to the effect of restricting my use of the software.
posted by azazello at 10:04 PM on January 7, 2005


Rushmc: D - never

The hardware store doesn't get to tell me what I can and can't build with the hammer I buy from them, sorry.


Rushmc, I think you misread the question. It doesn't talk about the hardware stores telling you what you can or can't build, it asks about whether you would respect their request. Your answer (D) is perfectly valid, of course, but the followup doesn't match the question.

Rusty: his internal desire to actually restrict the benefit of his works to only "good people."

Are you just assuming this internal desire to restrict the benefit of his works to "good people"? Because I don't see anything on his page about that.

Other than that, good post explaining the background on this disagreement. One bit I'd have to disagree with, though, is:

"That sense of doing the right thing tends to pervade the whole community's worldview. So for someone to say, "Hey, this is totally free and stuff under the GPL, but I'd rather you not use it if you're doing something I don't like" puts us in an ethical quandry. If you don't want to freely share your work, then, we feel, don't put it under the license to begin with."

If this view of ethics is so pervasive, then I don't see much quandry. It sounds more like the problem is that there are ethics, but they aren't pervasive. If there were no ethics, nobody would give a damn. If there were pervasive ethics, people would abide by his request. But in this case, it's not contractual, so people have to choose whether to ignore his request or not. It's not a legalistic question any more, it's now an ethical question, and it seems people aren't comfortable being given ethical choice, and would rather be told that they must do something or they cannot do something, and not that it's their choice.

Or, paraphrased: freedom scares people, so they want to be told what to do, and not to decide for themselves. But that's a bit over-the-top.

And azazello: for the billionth time, he is not trying to restrict your use of the software. A request is not an order.

As for forking, it sounds like a good idea. Also, explicitly allowing all the uses that he is against (but implicitly allows) is probably a good idea. In fact, if you don't beat him to it, I think it would be a good idea if he explicitly allowed all the things he currently implicitly allows, such as use in pages on New Age, propaganda, sexually explicit stuff, etc.

And the only "politicizing" of the software is the request against extreme political propaganda. Using the word "political" to refer not only to politics but to religion and sexuality is a bad American habit.
posted by Bugbread at 4:25 AM on January 8, 2005


It doesn't talk about the hardware stores telling you what you can or can't build, it asks about whether you would respect their request.

Semantics. A request IS telling, simply without the ability to enforce (if he didn't want to influence your behavior, he wouldn't make the request...do you honestly believe that, feeling the way he does, if he could enforce his wishes he wouldn't?). The point is that his preference is irrelevant and therefore his request is meaningless.
posted by rushmc at 8:20 AM on January 8, 2005


Using the word "political" to refer not only to politics but to religion and sexuality is a bad American habit.

In some cases yes, but in many cases no, because many people invite such usage by politicizing both religion and sex.
posted by rushmc at 8:21 AM on January 8, 2005


If there were pervasive ethics, people would abide by his request.

Bullshit. Different people define comprehensive ethical standards differently. Using my most stringent personal ethical standards, I don't see any ethical problem with some of the uses the author is against. Forcing one's ethical standards on another without compelling need or interest can be considered unethical in and of itself.

for the billionth time, he is not trying to restrict your use of the software

Yes he is. He is requesting that I restrict my use of his software, which while not binding, still constitutes trying. Which, as rusty has eloquently explained, is completely against the spirit of Free software, and if I came across this while using it, I would make an effort to fork it and re-release it without the associated requests.
posted by azazello at 11:31 AM on January 8, 2005


Semantics. A request IS telling, simply without the ability to enforce

Disagreed. Sometimes my boss tells me to do something. I have to do it. Sometimes my boss asks me to do something, but points out that it's not an order. I don't have to do it. He has the ability to enforce either way.

The same thing goes with my parents, from when I was back in school, store owners, fiancee...pretty much anyone. At least in my world, there is a distinct difference between a request and an order.

do you honestly believe that, feeling the way he does, if he could enforce his wishes he wouldn't?

Yes, I do. Read through his rationale for releasing the project. It's very xian, in a way that's totally alien to the way xianity is practiced in America. He doesn't believe in forcing people to do stuff. He believes in doing good, even if you get shit on. He believes in all the stuff that most xians don't, which is why they get called hypocrites (and rightly so) all the time.

Using the word "political" to refer not only to politics but to religion and sexuality is a bad American habit.

In some cases yes, but in many cases no, because many people invite such usage by politicizing both religion and sex.


Er, yes, I totally agree that that is the cause, but this guy certainly hasn't invited that usage by politicizing religion or sex, except for the one line mentioning "extreme political propaganda". If the argument wants to be made regarding that one point, though, I'll definitely concede.

If there were pervasive ethics, people would abide by his request.

Bullshit. Different people define comprehensive ethical standards differently. Using my most stringent personal ethical standards, I don't see any ethical problem with some of the uses the author is against. Forcing one's ethical standards on another without compelling need or interest can be considered unethical in and of itself.


You're right. That was my bad phrasing. I meant to say something along the lines that "If there were no ethics, nobody would pay attention. If there were pervasive ethics, certain people would abide by the request, and others, for other ethical reasons, would not, and there wouldn't be much to discuss."

He is requesting that I restrict my use of his software, which while not binding, still constitutes trying.

This has been the best argument put forth so far. I'm going to need to think about it. The only thing that pops to mind immediately is that, given that he has the tools to actually restrict use of the product (putting conditions into the license (JesusPL)), the fact that he hasn't indicates that he is not trying to restrict your use of his system.

I'm also a little curious, now that I think about it, how one would go about making a nonbinding, completely elective usage request when one makes software. People have argued strongly that the GPL is not the appropriate vehicle, so the GPL wouldn't be used. However, if you want the exact conditions of the GPL (in that the GPL is a description of how a product can or cannot be used), and you also want to append a description of how you hope the product is or is not used, would you just use the GPL but take the name "GPL" off?

Would the text of the JesusPL be the exact same as the GPL, with the addition of a line to the license saying, "Only the conditions listed in this license are binding. Additional requests by the developer may be listed on the developer's homepage, but may be followed or ignored at will."?

And, again, I totally agree about the forking and re-releasing.
posted by Bugbread at 6:34 PM on January 8, 2005


At least in my world, there is a distinct difference between a request and an order.

It's a difference of degree, nothing more. There is no such thing as "having to" do something; it's simply that the consequences of non-compliance are more severe and more overt in the latter case (if you think there are no consequences for refusing to comply with your boss's "request," you are greatly mistaken).
posted by rushmc at 8:19 PM on January 8, 2005


Rushmc: We're very rapidly approaching agreement on a few points. It is a difference of degree, and, in my opinion, it's an important difference.

And, in the case of non-overt results (not doing what my boss says), I also completely agree.

In this case (the software), I can think offhand of one possible overt and one possible non-overt consequence. If the software becomes the package of choice for creating Satanist homepages, he may change the license (overt). Or he may just shut down the software project (overt if he posts why, covert if he just shuts down without explanation).

Of course, when it reaches this level, it becomes the same as any other GPL software. Anybody can shut down their fork if they're dissatisfied with something related to their software. It could be that they don't like the users, it could be that they get in an argument with another programmer. It could be that they hate that they aren't given enough props for making the software. It could be pretty much anything. If people do stuff that pisses off the programmer, they can stop the project. And, of course, other people can fork and continue the project. That's the really important bit.

So the only thing that makes this different is that we know what kinds of things would make him quit, as opposed to all the other GPL software where the exact same potential for consequences exist, but the conditions for those consequences are kept hidden. Personally, I'd rather know than have that info kept hidden. Same reason I like projects with a high degree of developer-community correspondence.
posted by Bugbread at 8:38 PM on January 8, 2005


I'm with the folks who would intentionally thwart this guy's wishes, just to irk him.
posted by beth at 5:25 AM on January 9, 2005


If the software becomes the package of choice for creating Satanist homepages, he may change the license (overt). Or he may just shut down the software project

You can't (and shouldn't) control other people, only yourself. If he chooses to do so, that's his choice. He wants to control my choices, but I don't have the equivalent desire to control his. I might argue that it's a stupid choice (because he is hurting more people accomplishing good--by his standards--than he is those doing bad), but beyond that I acknowledge his freedom to do as he sees fit. I expect the same consideration.
posted by rushmc at 1:01 PM on January 9, 2005


("to do so" referring to the quoted text)
posted by rushmc at 1:01 PM on January 9, 2005


I acknowledge his freedom to do as he sees fit. I expect the same consideration.

Well, that consideration has been given, so it all wraps up nicely.
posted by Bugbread at 7:36 PM on January 9, 2005


In short:

non-USian commenters: "So, this guy would prefer us to not use his software for things he disapproves of. Fair enough, although his requests can and will be ignored if the situation requires."

USian commenters: "Hold on, he's making requests about how we use his software. And yet these so-called requests are not backed up by the full force of the global legal system? How can we deal with this? There appear to be no lawyers involved, and yet we know that nothing that is not written in accordance with the law has any true existence. He is oppressing us and yet we cannot see the apparatus of oppression he is using! How dare he use an appeal to personal ethics without using some form of legal superstructure!
Cognitive dissonance! COGNITIVE DISSONANCE!"
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:49 PM on January 9, 2005


An important side-effect of his request is that you cannot rely on the comments about his software being untainted.

If you want to go against his wishes then you are more critical and if you support his views then you try to push for its usage.

So this request is not as innocent as it first seems.
posted by dprs75 at 3:43 AM on January 10, 2005


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