Dear @gitlab, after reading this, I am ashamed to be using your product:

We will stop using it as soon as we can manage to and I will stop recommending you to others. Unlike you, we don’t associate with folks incompatible with our values.

Shame on you.


@aral @gitlab
Why do you feel this is wrong (doing business with someone who does not share your values)?
I'd dare say this is a very broad concept.
I'll risk saying everyone in this thread has published GPLed code, and it can be used by anyone, regardless of their intentions. Should we restrict our licenses because of this?

PS - I'm not by any means implying you are somehow wrong, I'm just trying to understand your perspective!

@FPinaMartins @aral @gitlab people are actually talking about creating licenses with ethical restrictions!

Because we live in a time when software developed for innocuous reasons can easily be used for the purposes of mass surveillance, ethnic cleansing, state censorship, etc.

Moral people who build tools and run services are asking themselves how they contribute to such things and how they can prevent it.

@nev @FPinaMartins @aral @gitlab I mean licenses with ethical restrictions are a bad idea, but for different reasons

@nev @FPinaMartins @aral @gitlab how do you handle different incompatible ethical licenses? or ones that have, say, SWERF or TERF bullshit in them? being non-viral could fix this, but what's the point then? how do you translate ethical concerns into legal terms, nevermind enforcing them? dealing with ethical problems at the license level is a mistake

@a_breakin_glass @nev @FPinaMartins @aral @gitlab minimal terms, like the UNHRC, and not including software people don't want you to? intellectual property is theft and the gpl is a clever way to use it to subvert itself but we're never gonna have a perfect way to guarantee all freedoms except those that restrict freedoms

I think it's good and admirable to try and I'd love to see someone getting in trouble for breaking copyright law because they used my code to bomb a hospital

> I'd love to see someone getting in trouble for breaking copyright law because they used my code to bomb a hospital

I've never seen a better argument for the pointlessness of applying morality licenses to software. Either;
a) the Bad Thing done with the software is already illegal under more powerful laws than copyright
b) the Bad Thing is being done by (or for) a state who hold themselves above the law including copyright law.

@a_breakin_glass @nev @FPinaMartins @aral @gitlab

@strypey @amsomniac @a_breakin_glass @nev @FPinaMartins "people who are OK with doing evil thing, would be OK breaking copyright law" is a good point.

But often plenty of people are OK with helping the person who does the evil thing without being OK doing the evil thing themselves. Ethical source licences would be effective to stop that intermediary from using your software, and hence limit the evil person's actions

> IBM & the Holocaust?

... is a classic example of scenario b) from the OP.
Copyright licenses could not have prevented IBM helping the German government with the holocaust because the German government (and their designated agents) are not subject to copyright law. Even if they were, they would have just used emergency powers under martial law to cancel any enforcement attempted against IBM.


@strypey IBM is a US corp. Surely if it was using US copyrighted material with such a clause, then it (the US corp) won't be able to profit from doing a deal with them.

Yes, the German government at the time could ignore that, and take what they want. But IBM wouldn't have been able to financially benefit from it.

> Surely if it was using US copyrighted material with such a clause, then it (the US corp) won't be able to profit from doing a deal with them.

Why? US copyright law doesn't apply outside the US.

@strypey But it applies to the US company in the US.

e.g. imagine I (was in USA &) wrote a FLOSS library with such a “do no evil” clause. IBM US uses it to make a software product. They want to sell it to someone like the Nazis. Can't I sue IBM in the US for violating my copyright?

Sure Nazi Germany can just steal the software product, but IBM in the USA can't financially benefit, right?

@ebel IANAL but my understanding is that multinational corporations work by having a home country where their official HQ is, sometimes chosen for tax avoidance purposes (US for IBM), and setting up subsidiaries in the host country (IBM Nazi Germany), which operate under local law (when they can't avoid it). IBM Germany is not bound by US copyright law, and there are various means (eg licensing of "IP" like trademarks) by which profits are returned to the capitalists who own the parent company.

@strypey Yeah, but IBM US would surely be bound by US copyright law, which might mean they can't copy stuff to IBM nazi germany, right?

@ebel I think you imagine copyright law as being much more powerful than it is. If the source code was published, IBM US could just claim the Nazis gave copies to IBM Germany, none of which is in the jurisdiction of US law. You'd have a better chance of achieving the goals of the morality licenses if you didn't publish source code, so you could control who gets access. But then you couldn't try to have your cake and eat it too by claiming it's a more ethical variant of open source.

@ebel BTW
> FLOSS library with such a “do no evil” clause.

... is a contradiction. A library that doesn't grant freedom 0 isn't free, libre, or open, as those terms are applied in software licensing. So it's not "FLOSS" either.

@strypey Yes I know that goes against Freedom 0.😛 I mean, “Imagine something like the GPL/BSD which had such a clause”

@ebel I know what you meant. It would be proprietary software with source available, like Microsoft's "Shared Source":

Those who don't learn their history are doomed to repeat it.

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