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.
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.
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 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)
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").
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.
My guilty pleasure at work is reading support emails. There are a few gems like that in the system.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
I prefer to have other people's cooperation.
"Make excuses" and "berate the person for being angered by your wrongdoing" are not on this list.
On the contrary, Zed has chosen not broadcast this to the wide world though he is clearly the "injured" party here.
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).
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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").
Of course, I have a feeling that his personal brand isn't going to be helped by this exchange.
I like people with principles.
... which, come to think of it, is one of the reasons I hate the phrase "personal brand."
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.)
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.
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.
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.
If you notice, he chose not to publicize this on twitter & HN unlike you.
Also, how could anyone take issue with the maintainer of https://github.com/martinemde/dicks and http://dicks.heroku.com ?
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.
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.
That just doesn't sound as good on a bumper sticker.
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."
It's funny that the same thing is happening here, but Zed has a very different reaction than Allen's.
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).
I only see one big difference. One author cares about only himself and his own little world
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.
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...
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.
and this: http://lkml.org/lkml/2008/6/17/254
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"
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.
I don't think silence is consent in this case. The whole thing seems like an obviously bad idea to me...
Don't go the "better to ask forgiveness" route if you're unwilling to accept some grief.
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.
No, that would be closer to the "asking permission" philosophy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For some reason can't edit my original comment. So replied to myself.
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."
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..
Obligatory plug - I wrote about this recently: http://blog.tommorris.org/post/1307196373/im-getting-absolut...
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.
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.
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:
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.
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)
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.
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!" :)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
"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.
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 
I did not read LPTHW before this.
Now I read it and it's indeed hard work.
"Guys like you are the reason I stopped doing Ruby."
Look at the title of this HN post, pure celebrity drama-bait.
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.
Also, Wikipedia may be awesome, but what percentage of Wikipedia clones are awesome?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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/
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.