This thought brought to me by a number of incidents over the last three days. First, I had to look at the GNU GPL 3 for reasons connected with my day job (I'm somewhat unusual in IP/IT law circles in not considering open source software automatically the spawn of the devil, but this does from time to time require me to check that some of the more excitable types on the copyleft side of things actually haven't gone and put something untoward in the various GPLs.).
Anyway, the preamble's the key part:
When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things.
To protect your rights, we need to prevent others from denying you these rights or asking you to surrender the rights. Therefore, you have certain responsibilities if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others.
For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients the same freedoms that you received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.
So whatever those blithering twerps theferrett
and his cronies thought they were up to at Penguincon back in the day, I really don't see why -- unless they'd never actually done anything to do with open source software at all -- it didn't occur to them that using the term "open source" really amounted to "a woman's virtue is no less brittle than it is beautiful and one false step...well, means she can and must be passed on to everyone who asks, without restriction but at a fee if you want."
Now, that's what open source is
. That's what it means. That's what the words mean.
But that wasn't the daftest example of blokes saying stupid things recently. I had my attention drawn on twitter to this idiotic pledge bank pledge
"I will strive to treat women with respect but only if 10 in the comic community will do the same."
— Jonathan Johnsick (contact)
People in the comics community need to stand up and say that it is wrong to treat women this way. Rape threats/Death threats/ any sort of threatening is wrong and needs to be condemned.
Now, I don't doubt the good intentions of Jonathan Johnsick (I used the mechanism of the site to contact him and suggest that wording which came out as "I won't send rape and death threats to women provided at least ten others agree not to as well" might not have been quite what he was aiming for and he pointed me to this site
where he'd used the much more coherent wording
I will vow to treat women as human beings and with respect. I do not condone the actions of anyone who threatens death/rape/or anything against a woman. The comic book community should be better than this.
(and got half the number of signatories - two against four - which is pretty bloody depressing every way you look at it)
But the point he made was that the wording of the pledge site made him use the "only if" formulation complained about above. And my thinking - it may have been naive, but it was mine - was, "If a formula forced on you by others requires you to say the reverse of what you apparently intend ...CHANGE THE GODDAMNED FORMULA!"
Don't use it anyway and complain about being misunderstood.
Finally, in unrelated news, someone in the Guardian referred, in what I consider to be moderate parliamentary language
, to Larry Correia's "virulent attack" on Alex MacFarlane*. At which point Correia -- slightly ill-timedly, given the events of this week - not only described the paper as "a liberal tabloid that passes for a major newspaper in Britain" but decided to sneer at rumours that Damien Walter, the article's author, had "recently been given a grant by the British government to write a novel. I have no idea if this is true, and don’t care enough to look it up, but man, if it is… your government actually pays people to write novels? BWA HA HA HAW! Holy shit. As an actual novelist, that’s funny. And I thought my government was stupid."
Correia apparently never seems to have heard of one JK Rowling, who got an £8000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council back when she was a struggling nobody. From which came 7 mega-bestselling books, 8 blockbuster films, a solid pension plan for practically every actor in Britain above a certain age, a shot in the arm for the tourist board and a theme park. Which is the kind of ROI no hedge fund manager has ever managed, even on his Oyster card.
*As at the current time of asking, the Guardian article has attracted well over 100 comments of which only one has been deleted by moderators as not meeting the standards of the site. And that comment's author appears to be - guess who? No other than Tom Kratman, aka the co-author of Watch on the Rhine
. One can only guess...