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"Please take this down and write your own book." (github.com)
170 points by bobbywilson0 2573 days ago | hide | past | web | 171 comments | favorite

This is a good illustration of how tone doesn't come across well in writing. Reading the comment by the original author, it sounded like a friendly request to please take the content down.

The guy whose site it was clearly didn't see it that way and responded as though he'd been viscously attacked. He ends up coming across as quite angry, when more likely he was just rattled and feeling defensive.

I guess the takeaway is to always take a step back before responding when you feel attacked. Chances are you're not being attacked nearly as harshly as you think.

It's Zed Shaw. That pretty much rules out it being a friendly request ;)

With that said, such situations are exactly the sort that mildly unfriendly requests are appropriate for. I did the same thing when someone took my BSD licensed code, replaced my name in the copyright notice with his own, and put it up on github. Fundamentally, you're not making a request, you're giving a command.

And he didn't even involve a lawyer, so he's already doing the guy a favor.

The problem with Zed's response, IMO, is the end. Where he says to the guy to have some class and use his own words.

While I completely get what Zed is saying about asking permission. I don't think that "porting" a book is lacking class. It may turn out to be a futile effort, but in many ways I saw it as a tribute and maybe learning exercise. It would be a blast to do SICP in Java. For Java programmers the process of writing, and for others reading such a book would be a valuable experience.

I think if Zed would have just said:

"Hi, my book isn't public domain. You can't modify and redist w/o permission. And unfortunately, I don't think Ruby is the type of language you can just drop in as a replacement for Python. You may get the result to work, but it'll be suboptimal for Ruby and may even make my original text look worse as a result.

Ther eare some people working on a clean room version with Ruby. If you're interested, I'd be happy to make an introduction for you. Again, I'll have to ask you to cease using my text for this project, but hopefully you can create a great Ruby book in some other manner." Or something similar, the result would have been a more civil dialog.

I doubt that would have helped. Being caught infringing on someone's copyright is embarrassing to say the least. Embarrassment and being given advice, no matter how well-meaning, will often not go down well. In fact, many people get extra annoyed when you're nice about this sort of thing.

I think Zed's initial approach was a close approximation of the best way to handle this. Although I probably would have left it at the original notice and then a mere "thanks for taking it down". (speaking as someone who has no emotional involvement in the situation, anyway. Who knows how I would have reacted to that level of abuse)

I disagree. Frankly many people don't understand copyright law. Ask average Joe on the street what is Fair Use and most people don't have a clue. The Ruby guy didn't seem to know he was violating Fair Use, if so he likely wouldn't have called "Learn Ruby the Hard Way", and probably would make it more difficult to find for people that read the Python version, especially the author himself.

And I think if you couple that with the Hacker ethos and the way code licenses in our space usually exist (BSD, Apache, MIT, GPL, etc...) taking copyright material, modifying, and redisting, with attribution is usually fair game. Now such a tradition doesn't exist in the book market, but again, I'm not sure if a lot of people know that.

Note, if the book he was writing was a parody of Zed's book, he may be protected by Fair Use law.

In any case, all this points to the fact that he made an innocent mistake. And what I've discovered is that people who make these types of mistakes, while embarrassed, usually are deferential, unless personally attacked ("only an idiot can do something so stupid").

Speculation about interpretation and motives notwithstanding:

Not knowing the ins and outs of copyright law and licensing is neither excuse nor reason to blow up at a takedown request. Innocent mistake or not.

The parody and citation exemptions would presumably not allow verbatim lifting of large sections of prose, though. (presumably hence "may")

Based on the thread following the initial reaction they probably both owe each other an apology.

> In fact, many people get extra annoyed when you're nice about this sort of thing.

My guilty pleasure at work is reading support emails. There are a few gems like that in the system.

That's a different ball game. Support people are often extremely nice when they aren't fixing something that they should be fixing (although in some cases it's not possible). Being nice doesn't address the fact that I just lost two years worth of data.

I think parent was referring to incarnations of point 4 of this: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/customerservice.html

A learning exercise, maybe, but "porting" this book to Ruby is a bad idea. Ruby isn't Python, and it's "Learn Python the Hard Way", not "Learn Programming the Hard Way". It's a book tailored to a specific language, and created to teach that language... which is the point Zed makes.

Had Python simply been the language used to teach basic programming concepts, then yeah, I could understand. While I haven't read LPTHW, if it had a section on, say, threading and the GIL - then simply porting the demo code to Ruby would at best be confusing, and at worst thoroughly put a programmer off Ruby.

The guy has a dong api... class defense fail. https://github.com/martinemde/dicks

Given the circumstances I thought Zed was reasonably civil.

Frankly, the older I get, the more respect I have for the guy.

A lot of folks would have responded with a lawyer or at least a legal nastygram. Zed didn't even mention the law, just asked (asked!) the guy to take it down, and took the time to refute and explain all the guy's misconceptions.

> Frankly, the older I get, the more respect I have for the guy.

I lost a great deal of respect for him over his Debian rant. He was making up really weird accusations and calling for actions completely out of proportion to the perceived "offenses".

I think it's easy to do the rant thing, but the older I get, the less I like it, and the more respect I have for people who display some civility and moderation, and save the real anger for those things in life that merit it (hint: they mostly don't involve computers).

Totally agree. Trying to get a hold of someone, then assuming permission when they don't respond isn't ok. I'd be pissed to...

I would ask the person to take it down and that would be it. Zed asked, then insulted. Insulting people is not a good way to win someone's cooperation.

"I think what you did was classless. I think you should try again, but with class"

If I said that to you, would you be insulted? I said nothing about your character, and if anything, he was being encouraging.

And then, you're pissed at Zed calling them hippies, after telling him "good fucking riddance" and displaying exactly the behavior that he defines as being a hippie ("all about the love, except when you're not" - conveniently defined in the same sentence)?

It would be one thing if the class thing was actually an insult, or if Zed hadn't made his wishes clear in the license.

So, seriously, what is so insulting about the whole 'class' line?

Your response was really idiotic.

How do you feel about this statement?

Of course, I didn't mean it - your statement is very well reasoned, but when Zed turned his interests towards the Python language and the largely civilized community around it, I worried that his behaviour could become, if not the norm, a trend. I have strong ties to this community and my work largely depends on its health.

Zed's divisive. No community needs divisive people. Code is less important than being able to play with others.

I'm probably not normal, but my first reaction was "uh oh, what did I say? Was this another comment I made on little sleep and without thinking?" I was actually a little disappointed that my response wasn't idiotic, because now I can't learn what was idiotic about it.

Ultimately, you are right that Zed is divisive, possibly because he's taken "you can't please everybody" too far, and I wouldn't want any significant number of people to have Zed's personality, even though I tend to take his side on topics I know anything about.

Why would Shaw need to win Edme's cooperation?

Why would he need anyone's cooperation since he's so fucking awesome? I don't know.

I prefer to have other people's cooperation.

Or, when someone's pointing out that you're wronging him, don't even worry about interpretation of tone. Worry about whether you've done something wrong, and if you have, then 1) fix it, 2) apologize, and finally 3) don't do that again.

"Make excuses" and "berate the person for being angered by your wrongdoing" are not on this list.

"How dare that person care more than I think he should."

"have some class" was probably a little over the top, but I can understand the frustration.

Taken in isolation, that might appear over the top, but as you can see from subsequent comments by martin on that thread and his attempts to elicit symapthy on HN by posting an inflammatory post [1] and tweeting about it [2], martin has clearly shown who has less class here.

On the contrary, Zed has chosen not broadcast this to the wide world though he is clearly the "injured" party here.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1873881 [2] http://twitter.com/#!/martinemde/status/589562699063297

I don't know, would you call copyright infringement a "classy" thing to do?

not at all -- just thought that was the only part that martinemde could possibly object to.

My money's on being caught red-handed at copyright infringement. Plus an unhealthy level of entitlement (I'm a fucking Engine Yard programmer for fuck sake.)

The Engine Yard comment was meant to be taken as "I use your stuff (mongrel) and respect you. I had no intention of wronging you."

As for "being caught red-handed" it's a matter of intent. Martin didn't mean to wrong Zed, he was inspired by Zed but ultimately messed up (by assuming it was okay to modify the text).

"If you want to write a similar book for Ruby then have some class and use your own words and write your own book."

I'd say that's harsh, and unnecessary. I'd feel attacked if that was directed at me, too, especially if I felt (rightly or not) that I'd kept things on the level.

No one needs to be polite, especially when they feel the need to protect their work. But in not doing so, they belie a certain amount of lack of empathy.

It's a shame posts like this get upvoted for the drama and this behavior is rewarded.

How many times have you written a nice and polite words when the fruit of your passionate labor has been taken without your consent and dealt with in a way that you consider inappropriate ?

I've once had, and I can fully understand Zed, maybe, did experience a certain emotion in it.

If I were to deal with a similar situation coldly without a drama and emotion, I'd simply spend $6 (or how much the registered mail costs?), sent a DMCA takedown notice, and be done with it.

In any case - the real drama and theatre happens in the comments to the original communication.

Some guy made a mistake. Zed has asked to take it down. He took it down. The fact whether Zed has asked it with a twist or not, is o(1) compared to the quality of the subsequent comments on that page. That part is a real shame, in my opinion.

(edit: re-reading your comment, maybe I have misunderstood it - re. the fact that the done-with matters are promoted on HN "for the sake of drama" - well, as soon as we all remain civil and try to not step over each others' toes, I do not think it is a problem - and is actually a good case study. As soon as noone starts to throw tomatoes into some folk who happened to make an honest mistake and quickly corrected it.)

I see what you're saying, but... it's copyright infringement and license violation. Politeness is not a requirement.

I think the bigger takeaway is that martinemde should've realized he was in the wrong.

And when you wrong people, sometimes they say mean things in response. Sometimes (often), you should just suck it up and say nothing more than "Yes, I was wrong to do this. I'm sorry."

The worst part of this situation is how martinemde is portending himself to be a "translator" like from English to Spanish, ignorant of the fact that you even need permission to do that. http://twitter.com/martinemde

Also its pretty crappy how the Ruby Protection Squad came to his rescue with blind hate for Zed throwing comments like "Wow didn't even know who Zed Shaw was, now the first thing I learned about him is that he's a total d-bag" - http://twitter.com/PeteTheSadPanda/status/598669095084033

Yes Zed doesn't always say things gently, but what he did say was 100% truth. Regardless of if you like what he says you have to respect 1. the truth and 2. who was really in the wrong here.

Final note: this guy could have buried it by just deleting the whole repo, but left it up to seem like the "martyr" - that is what kills me the most.

I think your first point here is excellent, but do we really need to care about what some random (as far as I can tell) Twitter user thinks about Zed? On the Internet you can find a negative comment about anyone by someone, somewhere.

Interestingly, Martin has now updated the readme https://github.com/martinemde/learn-ruby-the-hard-way#readme

He concedes both of Zed's main points:

1. That he didn't have a legal right to "translate" the book

2. That "translating" the book from Python to Ruby didn't work all that well anyway

The rest of the message boils down to a complaint that Zed wasn't nice enough in his takedown request. While Zed could have phrased things more nicely, he wasn't especially rude given the context of clear plagiarism and copyright violation.

Not nice? He could have sent a settlement offer... pay me X dollars for damaging my reputation as an author and I will promise not to sue you. Some may argue that Zed was not "damaged" by this juvenile act, but a good lawyer would have no problem proving damage if push came to shove.

I suppose the bar for Microsoft will now be that they didn't impose the harshest legal remedy against you, and since they didn't they're a charitable company? Unlikely, people are praising them for not fining them $30k per copy of Windows/Office made illegally.

If a company's "DRM" policy were simply to contact offenders and tell them to stop being dicks, I think folks would love it.

And he could have politely asked Martin to take it down. Zed was being "not nice" no matter how you look at it. He could have been worse, but that's like saying you shouldn't be mad because I punched you in the stomach instead of the face.

Edit: okay, the analogy is a strawman but seriously, just because someone could have been worse doesn't excuse their behavior. Telling someone they have no class is rude, especially when it's pretty clear that Martin wasn't trying to plagiarize Zed's book - he was just confused about its licensing.

The bit that gets me about the defenses of Emde: He "punched" Shaw.

Admittedly, this is a point that people defending the guy (and from the current state of the project's readme, himself) only acknowledge in the most grudging way, but it's there - Edme wronged the guy.

But I'm to take it that Shaw is wrong because he's not friendly in his response to that?

It's trite to make remarks about Asperger, social dysfunction among geeks, etc., but there is something remarkable about the Yeah, I did something blatantly wrong, but he was mean to me when he told me to stop doing it, and that's what's important! attitude put forth and defended.

In most parts of modern society, the honest response would be along the lines of, "Dude, you're being a dick."

No, he bumped into Shaw. Nothing points towards malice at all. In most parts of modern society, the honest response would be along the lines of, "Dude, what were you thinking?"

Let me know when bumping into someone is a federal offense.

I think the problem is that we are arguing two different things here. You are arguing that Martin committed a crime and acted like a douchebag. I agree 100% with this. I am in no way trying to defend Martin's copyright infringement. What Martin did was wrong and Zed had every right to ask him to take down the book.

What I am trying to argue is that Martin wasn't being malicious, he made an honest (albeit stupid) mistake. It sounds like he believed that Zed would be thrilled that someone was extending LPTHW to Ruby and didn't realize he was committing copyright infringement in the process. To be clear this in no way excuses him from the consequences.

I am drawing this conclusion from the following: Martin acknowledged Zed's authorship and that Martin contacted Zed to let him know about the project. I am also speculating that Martin was ignorant of the licensing and assumed a permissive license. LPTHW is distributed for free (as in beer) and Zed has released a lot of other things for free (as in freedom). It's not that much of a stretch to see how someone could assuming that this "free" book was open.

Zed had every right to ask Martin to stop writing the book. I don't feel that calling Martin "classless" was called for however, given that Martin seems to be a Zed fanboy of sorts.

For some reason you seem to think that I am arguing that Zed is 100% in the wrong. I am not. I'm just saying that both acted in a manner that is unbecoming of civilized people.

As an analogy, let's say I wrote some fan-fiction based on a story I really like. In the process I copied too much of the original source. I publish it on my blog and e-mail the author of the story a link to it, thinking that the author will excited to know that she inspired me to write and will maybe enjoy seeing a different take on her work.

Instead calls me classless for not writing my own original story and tells me to remove it from my blog.

While she has every right to ask me to remove it considered I'd copied too much of the original work, I wasn't trying to offend her - just the opposite in fact!

Was I wrong? Yes, of course. I posted her copyrighted story on my blog. Was I classless? I would argue no - my intent wasn't to write an original story, but to extend a story that I loved.

At this point, I might be tempted to call her out for calling me classless (which I really shouldn't do, and Martin did), but it's easy to see how I could feel that way. A simple "please remove this" would have been sufficient, I would have realized my error and I wouldn't feel bitter about the exchange.

TL;DR - There is a difference between being ethically wrong and legally wrong and two wrongs don't make a right.

No, your problem is that you're unwilling to acknowledge that Edme committed an intentional act that was wrong - and that Shaw didn't. Shaw's mildly harsh reaction to Edme's act does not make him "the bad guy", and it does not even make him "a bad guy" or "one of the bad guys in this situation".

I'm really disturbed by the mentality that Edme and his supporters, including you, have put forward: if you do something wrong, that should be instantly forgivable, and anyone showing any anger or disapproval towards you is at least as wrong as you are. I think it shows up in worse cases than this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1880467

Edme has at least twigged that most other people aren't buying it. I've no idea when you will clue in, but I'm not responding to you further on this issue.

Alright, I know you said you are not responding further, but you are misinterpreting what I am saying. At no point have I been unwilling to acknowledge that Martin committed an intentional act that was wrong. I am not saying that Zed is at least as wrong, not even close. The most wrong person in the entire exchange is Martin. I've clearly failed to communicate this to you and I apologize.

I'm just trying to say that when people make mistakes they should be corrected, but correcting them politely is more effective. I think this is especially true when the person who made the mistake looks up to you.

You are free to disagree with that, but please stop putting words in my mouth.

Edit: If I'm not mistaken, you have just said that Zed's response was "mildly harsh". It looks like we agree with each other. I think Martin committed copyright infringement and that Zed's response was mildly harsh (I think I initially used the word "rude").

Not only that, but it seems very strange not to be aware of the tradition of bluntness from engineering types, and to interpret it negatively.

At some level, you have to love zed. He gives and gives to the world, and the world just craps on him.

Of course, I have a feeling that his personal brand isn't going to be helped by this exchange.

Zed has principles and follow them. His personal brand (I don't like the term, but I am not a native English speaker and have difficulties to come up with better) is not going to suffer, the opposite. He is just requesting respect for his work and the basic copy rights to be followed.

I like people with principles.

I don't like the term either. Reputation is a nice substitute, although it lacks the connotations of treating a person as though they were a corporation-style entity with a marketing department.

... which, come to think of it, is one of the reasons I hate the phrase "personal brand."

I would disagree about his personal brand, actually. I think that this is an example of Zed -- part and parcel. (And let me say right from the start, I love this guy's work and all that he brings to the table.)

Zed has given immense amounts of code and work to the web community as a whole. It would be characteristically unlike Zed to not defend his work from what he views (and many others, I assume, including myself) as a savaging of his work.

So if you view it from that perspective? This is just par for the course with Zed. I, for one, appreciate someone who is so passionate about their work that they go to such lengths to defend it.

(Edited: Forgot me some commas.)

* I, for one, appreciate someone who is so passionate about their work that they go to such lengths to defend it.*

The ironic thing is that Zed's letter is similar to Bill Gates's letter to hobbyists 30 years, yet Bill has been historically flamed by the hacker community (requiring me to pay for software, is a larger crime than me stealing it). I wonder if identity politics play a larger role than ethical admiration.

Except that Zed has made lots of open source contributions -- just not this one. He does get to pick and choose how he wishes to release things.

I don't think anyone is arguing against what you're saying. It's the manner in which you do it. When I'm in the grcoery store and someone leaves their cart in the way I usually say, "You're blocking the path, could you move it?" Never had an issue. I could also say, "Jerkwad, would you move your cart, or continue to be a classless lowlife and I'll have someone from the store move it for you?"

I just find people to make such pronouncements to be over the top and people I generally would not associate with. And unfortunately there are people like that. It just felt like Zed trended that direction, IMO. And clearly it appears that many in HN think its perfectly acceptable.

Well, considering he is doing blank templates and did a "how to" blog post, I think he is being more reasonable than anyone should expect. What they did was rude.

[edit s/black/blank/]

I've been disappointed with the tone of some of Zed's comments here on HN, but this one struck me as perfectly polite and reasonable. His brand quality just got a big boost for me. I appreciate principles. Not everyone has to like every brand, and appealing to the least common denominator isn't always the best strategy.

Really? I read it differently. I thought both Zed and Martin came off as passionate, and relatively well-reasoned. Nothing Zed said here seemed over the top or out of line considering the context. Hopefully people who read over the exchange imagine themselves waking up to the same scenario.

Speaking of brands .. if I were the guys running Engine Yard I'd be reaaaaally pissed right about now.

"I'm a fucking Engine Yard programmer for fuck sake." - what an arrogant statement.

I read it not as "I'm an amazing programmer because I work for Engine Yard," but "I work for a company that clearly depends on your work - I respect what you've done."

On behalf of everyone who tries to communicate over the internet, I'd like to thank you for assuming the nicer interpretation. It's easy to misinterpret someone's tone, and written communication goes so much more smoothly when people avoid making angry assumptions.

I'm not sure "Hey, I write stuff using your software, you should tolerate my mistreatment of you better!" is a nicer interpretation.

No, but the "Hey I write stuff using your software, I never meant to mistreat you." is.

The entire response seems arrogant; that statement just captured it, and I don't think it's pulled out of the context of the tone of the response to Zed.

It's not just about choosing to read the more charitable interpretation. The second reading requires more context than the first one. If you aren't aware of the additional facts you mention, it's very difficult to read the comment in a positive way.

I agree. Clear writing, which can be read on its own without an outside context, also requires more effort.

After hearing your interpretation, I realize that probably does make more sense within the context of the paragraph.

But I certainly heard it the other way first. That's probably another good example of meaning being lost in text compared to spoken word.

Thank you for this. It's been my intention this whole time to point out that I really enjoy all of Zed's work. And felt a attacked when I thought I was doing something good. I felt a translation was helpful, but I took it down immediately when I received a complaint. I like what Zed has done and use it daily. Working at Engine Yard is not something I see as being better than any other job, only that we're a prominent user of Mongrel, possibly the largest in the world.

If you had shown the same humility and caution before calling him names AND posting inflammatory posts on HN, nobody would have known about this.

If you notice, he chose not to publicize this on twitter & HN unlike you.

Love the entitlement evident in his reply, "I'm a fucking Engine Yard programmer for fuck sake. We promote mongrel as a stable deployment stack" - does he think the fact that they promote zed's work means it's okay to ignore zed's rights regarding his own work?

Also, how could anyone take issue with the maintainer of https://github.com/martinemde/dicks and http://dicks.heroku.com ?

I don't think irony is the right word, but I got a good chuckle out of this martimeemde guy.

He is quite literally the embodiment of why zed left ruby. Someone profiting from Zed's work on mongrel yet at the same time giving Zed shit. Zed wrote a Python book and explicitly said it shouldn't be ported to Ruby. Then this ruby guy comes along and misappropriates the book and then whines that Zed isn't giving him enough for free.

> Zed wrote a Python book and explicitly said it shouldn't be ported to Ruby.

Just to make it clear, Zed said that his book shouldn't be 'ported' to _anything_. An inspired work based on Ruby already exists, by @krainboltgreene, and Zed is aware and supportive.

I'm pretty sure Martin meant that respects and appreciates Zed's work as he uses mongrel, and that he was not in any way trying to be disrespectful to Zed in copying the book.

But honestly Zed, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy I just didn't "lift" your whole book and put my name on it!

You'd be amazed at how many dumb asses actually believe that. No idea what the word copyright means.

I hope sarcasm is intended here, if so- that's funny.

Thought it interesting how absurd the "Monica" situation seems, yet we often engage in essentially the same behavior ourselves.

That just doesn't sound as good on a bumper sticker.

EDIT: clarification

Monica was the original author - did you mean to write the name of that lady who is (was?) with the Cooks Source ?

Certainly it is intended to be sarcasm, but it's a meme that we should try to resist. Rather than regurgitating a reference to show cool insider status, we should look at the situation and reflect on how it is the same and how it is different. Flag it and move on.

Interesting. On the page about the book[1], Zed also links to How To Think Like a Computer Scientist, another popular book for learning Python.

Allen Downey was the first author on that book, but initially he wrote it in Java:

"I released the book under the GNU Free Documentation License, which allows users to copy, modify, and distribute the book.

What happened next is the cool part. Jeff Elkner, a high school teacher in Virginia, adopted my book and translated it into Python. He sent me a copy of his translation, and I had the unusual experience of learning Python by reading my own book."[2]

It's funny that the same thing is happening here, but Zed has a very different reaction than Allen's.

[1]: http://learnpythonthehardway.org/index [2]: http://www.greenteapress.com/thinkpython/html/book001.html

It would only be "the same thing" if Zed chose to release his content under the GNU Free Documentation License, which he did not.

It's his content, and he can do with it what he choses. If he doesn't want folks to "copy, modify, and distribute" his content, that's fine with me (not that it matters, since it's _his_ content).

Really? You see no similarities between these 2 cases?

I only see one big difference. One author cares about only himself and his own little world

I'm not even sure this is worth replying to, but what the heck...

Zed has absolutely no moral obligation to write stuff for free and release it for anyone to do whatever they want with. Do you express the same moral outrage over every book in the library with a copyright notice printed on it?

I surely hope that every piece of code and content that you ever create is released under a license that allows anyone to do what they please with it, otherwise... you don't have a moral leg to stand on.

Thank you for the lesson in morality.

A different reaction for a different license. Notice that 37 days ago a fellow hacker realized that the license didn't allow for porting into Ruby though they wanted to do so: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1739890

Regardless of whether Zed's tone in the first post was too harsh or not, I think everything from "Guys like you are the reason I stopped doing Ruby" onwards was just fanning the flames unnecessarily.

This was originally posted by martinemde looking for support and then flagged down here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1873881

"I messaged you on Twitter and contacted you by email to try to give you knowledge of it. I was quite public about doing it as a _why day project. I made a good faith effort to let you know what I was working on. I even knew you were working on having a learn code the hard way thing and I wanted to contribute but there's no clear outline of your goals or how you expect people to contribute. This is my understanding of what you'd expect for contribution."

I tend to support the martinemde here. It seems he tried contact and was ignored. As much as Zed's coding skills are respected (I never looked into his code myself, but I trust my peers) I have to wonder if they are worth his toxicity.

"have some class", "guys like you are the reason I stopped doing Ruby", "Ruby hippie"... Come on...

"You didn't respond to me" does not lead to "I can do what I want with material you post". Good faith means honoring people's wishes until they tell you otherwise.

Aside: Normally I look for something like O'Reilly's statement "This book is to help you get your job done." The code is gone, so I can't tell where this would fall on the reasonableness continuum.

Aside Aside: Zed's a nice guy in person; I'd guess the harsh online stuff is a tool to get things done. Linus doesn't have a rep. for being nice online, and perhaps that's how some guys put out so much code.

I don't know Zed in person, but the harshness presented online is excessive. While I agree Linus can drive many programmers to tears I can't remember him calling anyone a hippie or saying someone lacks class.

If the license clearly states you cannot modify the work, then you cannot modify the work. It doesn't matter how many times you contact the guy with no response, the license was there since the beginning.

And you're only pointing out one side of the story. The chain of reaction was (mostly paraphrased)

1. ignore license and author's express wishes 2. "please stop and have some class" 3. "Don't be upset at me, I thought I was doing what you wanted" 4. "Thanks for taking it down, here's why I feel this way" 5. "No, really, I did you a favor and you should thank me" 6. "Guys like you are the reason I stopped doing Ruby." 7. "I speak for everyone, "good fucking riddance."" 8. "Exactly. You guys are all about love, and then you scream obscenities at me. Half-finished crap doesn't help me. I went out of my way to help people make a similar book [not sure about the timing, but he has], and you went and did things the opposite way" 9. Everybody else piles in

Now, I may have taken too many editorial liberties, but that's how I saw the conversation.

TL;DR - if you ask permission to violate someone's license and don't get an answer, that does not mean "Yes"

> If the license clearly states you cannot modify the work

Is a translation a modified version of the original or a new, although derived, work? Two good lawyers could debate this issue until the universe cools down. We shouldn't.

> It seems he tried contact and was ignored.

I don't think silence is consent in this case. The whole thing seems like an obviously bad idea to me...

I don't think Martin was trying to ask for permission. It seems to me that he assumed it would be okay to do this, and wanted to let Zed know that his work was appreciated.

I suppose most programmers find it better to ask for forgiveness then for permission.

Whether or not that's true, programmers who go for that approach need to be good at apologizing.

Zed over-reacted. Whatever harm martinemde did to Zed's book is close to nothing. Martinemde took down the derived book as soon as he got the request from Zed, who, while saying "please", also accompanied it with a couple insults.

Part of being good at apologizing is sucking it up and accepting anger from the people you piss off.

Don't go the "better to ask forgiveness" route if you're unwilling to accept some grief.

An equally important part is to refrain from doing it when you think the other part would be gravely offended. As Martin explained, he was paying homage to Zed. Instead of trying to understand the reasons someone would like to homage him, Zed insulted Martin.

When I ask someone to take down a plagiarized version of something I wrote (it happens) I usually point out I do not license the material on my site. I don't call people names not I insult them - I just point out they shouldn't do it and urge them to take the content down because it's not fine with me they reuse it. Even that is rare - I am usually happy with adequate attribution.

I can't understand why someone talented as Zed feels a need to insult people. But that's me and I am not like him.

"An equally important part is to refrain from doing it"

No, that would be closer to the "asking permission" philosophy.

It's better to ask for forgiveness, but asking permission, when feasible and practical (Zed ignored the guy, after all) is nice.

So the steps you really suggest are:

1) Ask permission.

2) If you don't get permission, do it anyway.

3) Complain and berate the people you crossed if you suffer consequences from doing it anyway.

Gah. I think I've had quite enough of talking with you.

Not exactly.

1- ask for permission

2- if you don't get an answer, assume the subject is not that important to the person you asked

3- Do it

4- If person who ignored you denies you permission retroactively, comply

5- Complain when the person who ignored you and then denied you permission to do what you already did, which you promptly removed from public access, also insults you for no reason beyond not getting his attention in the first place.

I think that covers it very thoroughly.

Perhaps because of the provocative title. I actually think that it shows even less class from martinemde, that he posted that himself.


Seriously though, everyone should be aware that "free as in beer" and "free as in speech" are not the same thing. And they should be aware of which case applies.

Please see the README on the front page of the project with my update.


I've calmed a bit since the original postings. I can see why he was upset and I know that the right thing to do was to remove the book. I had good intentions and I did this out of homage, not to steal or claim any credit.

I've always been a fan of Zed's work. I will continue to be despite getting defensive about this.

This update would be better without the remaining defensiveness, but it is a much less wrong response.

I'm bewildered, though, at your saying that you're surprised at all the attention this has received when you've tried to publicize this incident.

I found the whole incident rather funny. Zed published a post about the issue, I published the issue since Zed didn't link it. I've never submitted to Hacker News and figured it'd get buried. I didn't expect top story on hacker news.

Zed should have sent a DMCA notice to github.


For some reason can't edit my original comment. So replied to myself.

After a certain period of time, you can't edit a comment you've made. Not sure of the exact period.

I think Zed's approach reflects an attitude like 'I shouldn't have to hold your hand re:copyright.'

I'm guessing Zed's rancor isn't just about this incident, but the 'net-wide confusion about copyright vs cc copyright vs gpl vs whatever, particularly among the newer generation of web developers (like me). I am sympathetic to his feeling of "I shouldn't even have to tell you this."

Agreed, and I think it's a justified rancor. There are some things you're expected to know as a literate person in this day and time, and some guy can't just expect his ignoring them to be covered with a shrug and a "my bad" when he's called on it.

There's faults on both sides. The guy is clearly in the wrong by failing to follow the copyright restrictions, but it was probably an honest mistake. Since he's spending to much time on the book, he's probably a fan of Zed's work. And he may be thinking he's adding value to the book. On the other side, Zed was completely within his rights to ask the guy to take repository down, but didn't need to make any assumptions about the guy's intentions or "class".

For me the most interesting part was reading this, pondering about text as medium that lacks a lot of - erm - subtext _and_ I guess it's especially interesting if english is not your native language. That by itself usually leads to "wait a minute, what is the author trying to say here" moments more often.

What I mean: Write german and I tend to interpret a lot more - I assume that I _know_ the language really well and therefor just _know_ what you're trying to say here. Maybe it's an advantage to read most of my internet stuff in english: Less "Someone's wrong on the internet" moments and more "Did I get this right" reflection.

On-Topic: I respect Zed's work, tried the book recently and liked that quite a lot either. I do wonder if the tone was necessary though: Except for the "WTF? I didn't _meant_ to violate copyright" I couldn't read anything insulting in the author's comments, while "lacking class" and "I left ruby because of people like you" is - personal.

Yes, it was wrong. Others commented that he could even hired a lawyer (seriously? For a no-profit, partly done, public github project? Overkill?), but I really think this could've been solved in private, easily, without much hassle.

For me, for the most part, the original author sounds/reads like a real, authentic (ex-?) fan of Zed..

I call bullshit. Text can be perfectly expressive, in fact often more expressive than other media. You just need to be able to write well - and e-mail has exposed us on a daily basis to the fact that most people haven't figured out how to write and communicate very well.

Obligatory plug - I wrote about this recently: http://blog.tommorris.org/post/1307196373/im-getting-absolut...

Nice way to promote your own blog.

Quote: "Do the people who propose these theories not get letters in the post? Do they not send each other Christmas cards?:

See - that's the part that shows that you fail to understand the problem. At all. I can send my mum, my SO or my brother short notices - and they will get what I mean. Because they already know me. They know my style of talking, my sense of humor and my way to argue. I'm not going to send you a christmas card over the internet, without previous encounters.

See - if you present this text of yours here, I'm lost. Are you _serious_ about that "bullshit"? I'm not sure. I don't know you and it doesn't make much sense to me. Either you are serious and we have to disagree a lot and I just don't (so far) get what your problem with my position is, or you just make a joke. Maybe you are chuckling in your chair and just want to spread some HN link love. Maybe you actually DO believe that emotions and intents are clearly visible in text.

If the last point is true I wonder if you had any classes/lessons where you were told to determine the authors intention - and if you have enough confidence to claim that yes, you knew _exactly_ what Mark Twain was trying to tell you in each of his books.

Er - I guess that was a long way to say: I call bullshit on both your argumentation and your motives. Feel free to read this with the image of me being amused, bewildered, confused, angry, annoyed or just neutral. Have fun.

I don't believe that emotions and intent are clearly visible in text. You have to put them in there. That's why you have to learn to write.

If we expect to have an economy of so-called 'knowledge workers' who thrive on the basis of knowing stuff and communicating that to people as and when required, decent writing skills seems a pretty damn important thing to have. Instead, we don't teach people to write properly (and people don't seem to aspire to learn writing) then we wonder why they can't write properly and their e-mails don't communicate the message they are trying to convey.

I'm saying that we shouldn't blame e-mail or technology because some people are crap at writing e-mail any more than we should blame Flickr and Facebook for people being crap at photography.

When someone can't communicate online excuses like "e-mail lacks visual cues" are just that - excuses.

It is interesting that the highest voted thread at this point in time starts with "This is a good illustration of how tone doesn't come across well in writing." - and yet you don't call bullshit there, you do it here.

What you call for - as far as I can understand it - is a norm, a way to measure quality for texts. I say that this isn't realistically possible.

This works for people you know (easily, they can grok what you wanted to say). It might work for peers (they understand where you coming from, share some experiences and might know what you want to get at). In general, it doesn't work at all.

Things you completely ignore:

- Language: My first post started with the difference between reading in your native language and a foreign one. Depending on your readers understanding of your language you cannot transport your intentions in a reliable way. A smile, on the other hand, goes a long way to show that you are not actually mocking him/her and are a friendly person. Good luck, trying to make that universal.

- Feedback You can write a loooong text about a subject and cause me to explode when I read that midway through. If you tell me the same story face to face, you could probably read my expressions (depending again on context, how familiar we are, if you pay attention etc.) and navigate around some hurdles. You really want to tell a nice story about the Iraq war but notice how my mood turned darker? Good chance to ask me about my opinion and to take it slowly. How do you solve that in a text based conversation? Right.

- Context/Previous knowledge: You can talk about things I have no clue about, rather easily. Depending on your attitude and style of writing I might feel excluded, maybe offended, although it's entirely my fault. Face to face you could be Prince Charming. Without that and any knowledge of your readers schooling/education/knowledge, how are you going to make sure that you don't accidently embarass them?

I don't blame email or technology. The problem isn't new either. As long as we've been able to communicate in writing first, without knowing the other person, this problem existed. It's not about "emails". Neither about "technology sucks". It's about "words, without more context (previous encounters, a similar character, a shared history), don't carry the full information".

For me it's like a blurred image. If I know the thing that is depicted, I can clearly recognize it. If not, it's guesswork. You can try and make it easier, by blowing up your text to explain as much as possible and to try to (and fail) solve any ambiguous meaning, but in the end I'm still lost. On the recipients end, I have to rely on my information alone to understand what information you want to provide.

I have some good friends that are blind. In your world, they wouldn't miss that much even outside of online conversations: The text carries all the meaning, right? Nuances of the voice? Nice, but not necessary if the author is disciplined. Making faces, smiling etc.? Hey, you don't need that.

Are you really, really serious?

And you say "you have to learn how to write", when I say that reading is the part where the problem occurs? Can you really write "for everyone"? I'd argue that so far you cannot write for me, I'm still unsure if you are just trying to contine this discussion in a productive way (hints are some writing related parts of the comment, imo) or if you just want to talk me down (most of the comment, imo).

See 1, 2 and 3 and check if you actually _can_ write clear enough for everybody out there.

(FWIW: I used "me" and "I" in this text as a general replacement for "you" and "one", i.e. just examples. In addition, all examples are completely artifical as well and you cannot guess my feelings/viewpoints from this comment)

This is Zeeed Shaaaaw!!!

I have never met the guy, but I surely hope that I get the privilege some day, even if he just picks on me and tells me that my work is worthless piece of junk and that if it implodes in a second it would be a service to the world - because that might be single most insightful and sincere analysis one might receive.

Kudos to anyone with a pair, that is capable of speaking their mind in today's "politically correct" world ridden with hypocrisy.

Like it or not Zed is entirely right here. It's his work, the guy had no permission, it has nothing to do with being "politically correct" it has everything to do with no being a dick and respecting a persons ownership and the effort they put into something. Whether or not Zed is the biggest dick in the world is irrelevant.

Absolutely. It's one thing to take issue with the tone of someone voicing an opinion or reacting to your opinion, but it's another to whine that someone's not being friendly when he's telling you to stop stealing his work.

I didn't mean to imply that I disagree with Zed. I have read about a couple of his skirmishes and he does seem to be usually right.

What I wanted to get across is that I respect the guy. He always starts out civil: "Sir, I warn you not to advance any further.", but when his counterparty fails to acknowledge the warning proceeds to tear them a new one.

As somebody once said about a former boss: "You may think he's an asshole, but you can't say hes wrong."

I also think that Zed just likes to beat people at their own game in a manner of: "So... You wanna play dirty? Ok let's play dirty. I'm gonna rip the eyes out of your head and piss into your dead skull!" :)

Parent actually agrees with you, they're just saying that it would be PC forces that push back on Zed taking this tone, and kudos to him for not succumbing.

Zed is actually really nice in person.

He doesn't come across badly here. Stern, but fair if a bit harsh. And the other guy comes across as a working device of non-standard proportions.

Seeing many of the responses make me wonder whether he's even really as ogrish online as some people suggest. Most of what I've seen pointed out by angry folks seem to be responses to things those people aren't citing.

Seeing the full exchange in this case, I'm hard put to see anything unusual with what Shaw said. Nice people and polite people get justifiably angry, too.

Why are a lot of people missing stuff like this: "have some class and use your own words and write your own book" and this "Guys like you are the reason I stopped doing Ruby"?

I agree with Zed that the idea was borderline useless since both languages have their ways and a direct translation lacks focus anyway. I also agree that it's Zed's work, and he granted use of his work with a license which doesn't allow this type of derivate work. Zed was totally in the right here, and Martin was totally in the wrong.

That being said, that doesn't automagically grant Zed the right to be a douche and insult the guy, specially since not only he complied with Zed's request, but tries to explain that he did so in good faith. There's no 'tone' here, it was obviously an insulting and condescending attack towards Martin. A simple "Hey what you're doing is not permitted by my license, take it down" or "You're infringing my copyright, take this down" would have been more than enough. The reality is that Zed loves to pick a fight and demean people, and in this case Martin made a mistake in good faith and did not deserve such disdain.

When you act in a classless way, whether that's making fart noises in a restaurant or plagiarizing someone's work, you risk the pain of being told to act with more class.

Two things:

1) It was not plagiarizing, it was copyright infringement, and they are both not mutually inclusive and are completely different. Martin didn't appropriate the content or idea of the book and called it his own, he publish the start of an attempt of a 'book hack' stating the original author and intent.

2) Do you equate fart noises with a person making a mistake in the name of providing something useful to the community? The dude made a mistake, a mistake that in no way reflects on his amount of class, but does reflect on his drive to provide something useful to the Open Source community. Sure he should be corrected, as he did make a mistake, but he should not be degraded in any way as has been done in this case.

PD: Who has more class, the person who farts in a restaurant, or the person that calls him on it publicly without knowing the reasons for him doing it and does so with intent to degrade such person?

You're trying to wrap all this up in justifications of what he did this "in the name of".

How someone justifies something like this is irrelevant. The basic rule for material, absent an explicit other license, is copyright. Shaw is generous enough to offer a less restrictive license, but that license is clear on its terms. To ignore the license given on a work, whether it's copyright, some CC non-commercial variant, GPL, or whatever is indeed a classless act.

And if you want to linger on "providing something useful", Zed has pointed out and Martin acknowledged that this approach is not useful for advancing Ruby education. (For that matter, it was a dead project.) Shaw has now provided a guide on how to make a book of this style at http://sheddingbikes.com/posts/1288945508.html

Also, it's "make fart noises", not "fart". As in deliberately make a noise considered rude. Copying and pasting a book and putting it in a public repository isn't a semi-voluntary bodily function.

For starters, I'm not justifying anything Martin did, as I never said he was right in any way, don't try to put words in mouth. As a matter of fact, I agreed on the following: 1) Zed has every right to complain due to his copyright and the license which his work carries 2) What Martin did was wrong, and as such he should accept that fact that the owner disapproves and take the work down (which he did) 3) Martin violated Zed's copyright. I explicitly said that what he did was copyright infringement, which can certainly be attributed to a mistake, because you wrongly stated it was plagiarism, which is considered morally unacceptable and reprehensible, and is in no way the same thing.

You want to know what IS irrelevant? The fact that Martin and Zed (and both you and me actually) both acknowledged that the approach is not useful, specially since I already stated in the grandparent post - to which you responded - that I agreed on not only Zed's rights as copyright holder, but also on the fact that the approach is rubbish. It doesn't matter whatsoever if the approach works or not, it only matters that Martin did it in good faith because he believed it could be of use when he started, even if later he discovered to be wrong on this count.

I addressed your fart noises on my second point of the parent post, on the last paragraph I was referring to actual farting because it is more representative of what happened here. I referred to them separately and referred to 'farting' and 'farting noises' to make this clear (as they are obviously two different things). The fact that you equate a jerk making farting noises in a restaurant with making a mistake in regards to a free book's licensing is beyond my comprehension, as it implies that you're disagreeing with the intent of the person in question when it was already not only stated by him, but by Zed himself in his messages.

Also, it's "make fart noises", not "fart". As in deliberately make a noise considered rude.

You said it yourself, the key word on this example is 'deliberately'. Martin did not make deliberately farting noises (deliberately and knowingly doing copyright infringement on Zed's work), he actually farted by mistake (mistakenly having violated Zed's copyright thinking it was fair use), and because of this he should apologize to the restaurant, but such events in no way grant Zed the right to humiliate, demean, or degrade Martin. I'm not justifying Martin's actions, as I agree that he's wrong and Zed is right, I'm criticizing Zed's responses and the manner in which he expressed himself towards not only towards Martin, but towards the Ruby community itself.

The funny thing is that I actually respect Zed for his contributions, and isn't someone I'll be deleting from my newsreader because of something as non-important as this. That doesn't change his attitude was reprehensible, and that he could have handled it better.

This is the last I'm saying to you on this topic:

Sometimes you wrong someone. Sometimes you do something classless. Maybe it's very deliberate, and maybe it's due to your sloppy carelessness, as Edme has copped to in this case.

In that situation, it's all on you. It's not on the other person. Everything you do to justify it or minimize it or recast the other person as the bad guy is wrong. This goes as well for your friends or random people sympathizing with you.

You may have to suck up some unkind words for what you've done - tough. You've earned them and the anger behind them, and you have to just deal with it.

This wasn't plagiarism. At no point did Martin attempt to pass this off as his own work. This was an homage, very much in the spirit of open source - the only problem was that the book is not open source.

In that detail, it may not be the classical form of plagiarism and just piracy. However, if we are sticklers for the point of attribution, we have to acknowledge that "homage" doesn't involve ignoring licenses or copy-and-pasting the original content, now don't we?

Yes, he committed copyright infringement - I'm not going to argue that. I'm talking about intent - did Martin have malicious intent? I don't think so. I don't think he ignored the license - I think he assumed it was under a permissive license - a silly mistake, but since the book is "free" it's not hard to see how someone could make that mistake.

Please understand: when you do something wrong, when you "ignore" or "assume" away that you're doing something wrong, when you react belligerently to the person telling you to stop doing that wrong thing, your original intent just isn't that important.

I'm sorry man but the person initially belligerent was Zed with his remarks about class and his hostile approach. Martin, complied with that Zed asked, and tried to explain his reason, his intent, and why he thought it was ok. Zed again responded in an antagonizing way. If Zed had done the things the 'classy' way, he would have either sent a Cease and Desist notice or sent a POLITE message to the person he's addressing.

And for the record, intent is the only thing that actually matters in this discussion, as the only real damage that has occurred is towards Martin's reputation, which more than likely was Zed's (specially knowing his belligerent tendencies) intent.

No. Full stop.

The person wrong was Edme. The person wronged was Shaw.

Absorb these facts.

The person who tried to tell the person he wronged that he hadn't actually done anything wrong was Edme. The person who twittered about the person he'd wronged being a douchebag was Edme. The person who continued and escalated the confrontation, instead of apologizing, taking his lumps, and STFUing, was Edme.

Absorb those facts.

This story does NOT start with Shaw's first message as some sort of aggression. It starts with Edme and it continues with Edme, no matter how you try to recast it.

Now, if Shaw's "tendencies" were leading him to try to ruin Edme's reputation, I think he could have accomplished that much easier by making a long blog post about how Edme is an asshole, instead of a blog post that tangentially mentioned that some unnamed people were trying to "port" his book, why that was a bad idea, and how to properly go about making a version of his book.

On the other hand, Edme tried to publicize the exchange. He posted it on HN to cold disinterest and a flag-killing. If anyone was trying to hurt anyone's else's reputation, I think it was Edme himself. That Edme's reputation will probably suffer more that Shaw's is just funny.

Absorb this fact - at no point have I suggested that martin was right. The ONLY thing I am trying to assert is that Martin copied the book out of ignorance not malice and that Zed could (and in my opinion should) have been more polite.

Martin's actions after Zed's response are inexcusable. But that doesn't mean Zed wasn't being rude.

I subscribe to the "Don't be a douchebag" philosophy, and I think both Martin and Zed were being douchebags. BUT Martin wasn't being a douchebag when he copied the book, he was just being ignorant (and breaking the law).

Thank you kind sir, I also agree that Martin was in the wrong, and that his actions after the fact where also douche like. All this could have been avoided if Zed had been classy enough to rise above his 'anger' and instead of being condescending and rude. Martin is at fault for making a stupid mistake anyone could have made and for being a jerk in his response, but the whole argument was started by Zed not being understanding and attacking a person who made no effort to wrong him and thought he was honoring Mr. Shaw's work.

If I made a mistake like this, I would gladly take down the work, issue a public apology, and submit salvageable content to the person doing the Ruby version of the book, but in no way am I going to be talked down because I wanted to do a good thing as if I was in the same league as a plagiarizer. It could have been a win/win situation for everyone.

The "good riddance" posts really sadden me. I've generally found the Ruby community to be a great place, and then comments like these come along...

This is clearly not plagiarism. At no point did the translator take credit for the original work. There is a definition for plagiarism; it involves taking credit for someone else's original work.

Zed would probably have done better by simply quoting the license and asking him to take it down (because of copywrite infringement) instead of incorrectly accusing him of plagiarism (which implies he was doing the translation in bad faith).

Factual correctness warrants down vote? Seriously?

"the wrongful appropriation, close imitation, or purloining and publication, of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions, and the representation of them as one's own original work." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism).

This was not plagiarism.

Nobody's going to notice this comment now, but Martin Edme has posted a formal apology.

Zed, it seems, will not apologize, based on recent twitter updates:

Hilarious hypocrisy how I'm called a "dick", "asshole", "d-bag", and "cock" because I said someone should have some "class".

33 minutes ago via web [1]

[1] http://twitter.com/zedshaw/status/774156132024320

Wow. There are people who will steal* and then have the guts to argue they are right.

I did not read LPTHW before this.

Now I read it and it's indeed hard work.


Although I understand the author's desire to not have his work copied, I think he stepped across the line when he used a personal attack:

"Guys like you are the reason I stopped doing Ruby."

It must suck to have your everyday online activities tracked, and your character traits debated at length by strangers.

Look at the title of this HN post, pure celebrity drama-bait.

Why do people take the time to digitally bicker with veteran trolls? We're all professionals, this isn't something you want your name attached to on the "nothing is ever forgotten" internet.

Wow. I really want to be on Zed's side here, but while his message is 99% legit, his delivery leaves something to be desired.

Original author (martinemde) had good intentions but was stopped by a fact he was dealing with a douchebag.

Lesson #1: don't deal with douchebags.

Zed thinks he's making something of extraordinary quality that's going to suck when crowdsourced. I am 100% sure he's wrong because wikipedia is crowdsourced and wikipedia is awesome.

Did you notice that the book has an issue tracker? How many other books have one of those?

Also, Wikipedia may be awesome, but what percentage of Wikipedia clones are awesome?

If the guy credited him and Zed's book was free online, then I really think Zed is doing the coding world a disservice here...

I'm getting downvoted, so I'll expand:

If you make ethical judgments directly from the license then Zed Shaw is right. But Martin hadn't really done much wrong. The book was free online, and it would be classed as fair use by many people if it had been made using music, film or tv. He also made sure to credit Zed for the text, and only an idiot would think that Zed was able to change his text to fit the code better so I don't think it would reflect back on Zed badly at all...

Then again, in my opinion, what is important is that there are more beginning code examples to read in Ruby. Bullshit over rights or hatred of whole programming communities be damned.

I'm probably gonna get downvoted, but now I'm quite sure that web really IS public domain. We just have to state it explicitly. From now on gonna use public domain license on any public work I produce. Who's with me?

Well, there's copyright's all over the web, and anything without it is common law'ed into being copyrighted - so no.

Personally, I go by the mantra of "if you post it, anyone can use it how they like".

Sure, Zed is within his legal rights to ask for this, but I'm surprised no one is viewing this from the angle of the Ruby community losing a (possibly) valuable resource because "Zed's brand" has to be maintained... Seems like everyone is so sensitive about the sanctity of their ideas.

As linked elsewhere: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1739890

Copy & paste probably won't make a useful Ruby book.

"Seems like everyone is so sensitive about the sanctity of their ideas."

That's the pain of dealing with other human beings as if they are human beings and not just web sites or github repositories.

My argument isn't that this Ruby version is so compelling it deserves to exist. I think restricting creativity "because I made it" is a stupid reason. Maybe others would have (are?) making useful "X The Hard Way" books stop because of this. I don't see what the benefit of him restricting it is.

Disclaimer: I'm commenting on this thread only to help Zed generate more publicity/buzz for his book, which was surely the reason why he was a dick to Martin about it :)

People understand clearly when someone like "The Situation" acts like a dick to gain notoriety, but many programmers seem not to be able to understand when a programmer does it. This is very effective schtick, and Zed has inspired a few others of late.

Bottom line: Zed is a nice guy and Martin is a nice guy.

Someone, please tell me where there is a copyright notice anywhere on http://learnpythonthehardway.org/ or on the PDF http://learnpythonthehardway.org/static/LearnPythonTheHardWa...

If he's so fanatical about copyright, why can't he post something about it?

The culture developers are used to on github is forking people's work and tweaking it (while still giving attribution to the author). It's not totally shocking that someone would accidentally apply this philosophy to this book. Telling someone he has "no class" for doing this is just being a dick.

But then again, its Zed D Shaw. He earned that middle name.

The License is located at the bottom of page 4:

"This book is Copyright (C) 2010 by Zed A. Shaw. You are free to distribute this book to anyone you want, so long as you do not charge anything for it, and it is not altered. You must give away the book in its entirety, or not at all."

In Creative Commons terms, it's basically cc by-nc-nd: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

Before you attack someone's name you should do your homework.

1. he has his name on the book. That is sufficient to claim copyright. There is no need for additional copyright notices.

2. The source to the book was not on github. The martinemde guy put up the code on github. The original source lives in a fossil repository.

page 4 of the pdf: "This book is Copyright (C) 2010 by Zed A. Shaw. You are free to distribute this book to anyone you want, so long as you do not charge anything for it, and it is not altered. You must give away the book in its entirety, or not at all"

copyright is implicit in many places isn't it?

In the U.S., and AFAIK in much of the rest of the world, copyright arises automatically, without the need for either registration or a copyright notice, once the "original work of authorship" is "fixed" in a "tangible medium of expression" (which can include saving to disk). See generally http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright#Obtaining_copyright

While the copyright itself can arise without registration, the ability to file suit in federal court for infringement of the copyright arises only once registered. Registration can take place after the date of infringement. For more see http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#register

You don't understand how much you don't understand about copyright.

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