[linux-elitists] Hacker ethic, brogrammer ethic

Don Marti dmarti at zgp.org
Tue Jul 8 05:50:32 PDT 2014

begin Shlomi Fish quotation of Tue, Jul 08, 2014 at 07:53:19AM +0300:

> Someone who lives in paraonia of people abusing his licence, is miserable and
> unhappy, and as a result, it will bring his downfall. Also see:

The problem is that most people redistributing
licensed code are doing so in an organizational
context.  Corporations aren't hive minds where "those
who participate within it subordinate their goals to
that of the collective."

(If you don't have actual corporate experience you can
go explore http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/ for
a while.  Or better yet, try helping an experienced
enterprise sales person sell something to a large
company--as a vendor you rapidly become a piece in
a complex internal power game.)

So think of it from the point of view of a downstream
user trying to do the right thing.

A well-intentioned hacker at an organization
planning to release a derivative work can say,
matter-of-factly, "we need to comply with the upstream
license" if copyleft is involved.  Otherwise, he or
she is in for a license strategy struggle -- office
politics that the best office politician will win.

(The extreme case is university licensing offices.
Some poor graduate student gets excluded from his or
her own project on leaving the university, unless he
or she had the foresight to build it as a derivative
work of something under copyleft.)

Copyleft is a CLERK CANNOT OPEN SAFE sign for
users.  The clerk wants the sign to advertise his
or her own powerlessness.  Copyleft isn't a magic
commons-building tool, it isn't right for every
situation, and sometimes an extreme adversary will
invest in "blowing the safe", but used correctly it
can increase the well-being of downstream hackers
and their users.

Don Marti                    
dmarti at zgp.org

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