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'Everyone Should Have a Moral Code' Says Developer Who Deleted Code Sold to ICE (vice.com)
58 points by heshiebee 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 113 comments

My first thought was: Look, I don't exactly have any love towards ICE, but you can't delete code that you were paid for.

Then I read the article: Oh. You weren't paid for it. You wrote some code, hosted it (with the intent that a third party could use it), and then a third party used your code for a product sold to ICE.

Without saying anything about free software. Companies that repackage and sell free software really should have the logistics in place such that this event wouldn't be problematic.

If you host software for free and you don't like what people are doing with it, then I think you should be able to stop hosting that software.

> If you host software for free and you don't like what people are doing with it, then I think you should be able to stop hosting that software.

GitHub was the host, he just deleted the project from his profile.

But you're right, Chef should've precluded this as a possibility a long time ago. The only reason this was possible was lack of proper Continuity-of-Business setup, but even then they had a new repo up within the day so it's not all that much impact.

Free PR for the involved, and free ad-dollars to those who choose to report on it.

> Look, I don't exactly have any love towards ICE, but you can't delete code that you were paid for.

You absolutely can. This is the point of a contract.

Were they paid for this code? I was under the impression they were not (I think other comments here claimed they were not) please correct me.

No, this is not relevant to the immediate situation for the reason the parent commenter indicated. I'm just pointing out that you absolutely can decide to bail on contracts for moral grounds, you simply have to deal with the consequences of breaking the contract.

Oh, I understand. I misread. Thanks for clarifying.

Then you have to give the money back.

Yes, that's true.

ITT: post facto justifications for why an open source developer should be forced to materially contribute to actions they find morally abhorrent. Along with many meaningless digressions about the validity of the developer's moral code (ignoring the whole point of a moral code not needing outside justification).

> ...for why an open source developer should...

This person is not an open source developer, since they restricted the usage of their code. They have the right to restrict usage of course, but please don't taint the idea of open source software.

Open source software's definition isn't provided to us from the heavens. We've defined what it means. There's no reason to stick to that one definition we have - its convenient but please don't assume that the words we have won't change in meaning in the future.

This is human progression, trial and error, and societal evolution happening before our eyes. You won't be able to stop this, it's a natural process that drives society. All you can do is influence this progression.

Should we expect contributors to projects used by China in their 'reeducation' camps to do similar things, or is this just an isolated demand for morality?

Well, if you're writing an FOSS project that happens to be picked up by the Chinese you're SOL. It's not as if the PRC has a history of giving a shit about your IP.

If you're talking about writing bespoke software for them, that's a different matter than this particular situation.

As far as I can tell, what happened here is Chef the company went beyond writing FOSS that happened to be picked up by ICE, they have some business relationship with ICE where they get paid. I'm not clear on the nature of it, from this article.

Seth Vargo, was a former employee... and maybe also kept contributing FOSS after no longer being an employee? Unclear.

It's not quite either of your situations, but more like the bespoke software I'd say.

At any rate, if I wrote FOSS that happened to be used by ICE in a significant way, I'd feel really sad and confused and not sure what to think or what to do -- I'm not sure what the solution to this situation is, but I wouldn't feel good about it.

If I worked for CEO Crist/Chef Inc. -- I'd quit. Cause that shit is disgusting.

If I was Vargo, doing some combination of writing code for an employer on the job, and maybe also just contributing open source to the project after that, maybe cause it was a cool/interesting project/community he liked... but then discovering that Chef Inc. and Barry Crist were _using the code I wrote to make money by helping ICE with their information systems_....

I'd be fucking mad as hell.

I'm not sure anything can be done about it legally in the long term, if the code was released open source. But I understand the anger and attempt to be as disruptive as possible. Cause Fuck That Shit.

> Well, if you're writing an FOSS project that happens to be picked up by the Chinese you're SOL. It's not as if the PRC has a history of giving a shit about your IP.

Not to mention, if it's FOSS they can respect your IP and still use it - after all, you did give them (and everyone else) a license...

Sure, it seems like an obviously analogous scenario to me. Did you have something in mind about how they might differ?

Well, the Linux Foundation hasn't closed all their code repositories in retaliation, for one. And I'm pretty sure that China's reeducation camps use Linux. (In the cameras, for instance)

Sure, closing those wouldn't actually hurt China's reeducation camps, but then the same is true for this developer's repo and ICE. (Since I doubt ICE uses bleeding edge Chef, Chef's temporary downtime would have had no effect)

OMG, I just realized this statement from CEO Crist:

> "My goal is to continue growing Chef as a company that transcends numerous U.S. presidential administrations. And to be clear: I also find policies such as separating families and detaining children wrong and contrary to the best interests of our country,"

Is basically a paraphrase of the psychopathic CEO's statement in the movie _Sorry to Bother You_. To me, the most genius gut-punchingly funny part of the movie (which is full of genius laugh out loud and cringe-inducing parts).

"See? It's all just a big misunderstanding."

"This ain't no fucking misunderstanding, man. So, you making half-human half-horse fucking things so you can make more money?"

"Yeah, basically. I just didn't want you to think I was crazy. That I was doing this for no reason. Because this isn't irrational."

"Oh. Cool. Alright. Cool. No, I understand. I just, I just got to leave now, man. So, please get the fuck out of my way."

This is what happens when you rely on a mutable package repository.

There are so many comments attacking OP for the straw man that he dislikes ICE because they enforce immigration law. I highly doubt that is why OP dislikes ICE. Instead, it is much more likely that he dislikes the tactics used by ICE, such as separating families, and locking people in "ice boxes".

The comments attacking the straw man are seemingly only written to satisfy an attack against an other, which here seems to be the other that "supports illegal immigration", and I don't believe these attacks further the conversation. Nowhere do we have evidence that OP or anyone defending him is in favor of fully open borders, an accusation thrown around more than once in these comments.

Regardless of the "why", the more interesting discussion is the "should", as in "should people be allowed to rescind their open source work for any reason". Otherwise, we are just wading back into a political discussion where people are not interested in listening, only fighting.

> dislikes ICE because they enforce immigration law

Well, stepping back from US immigration policy, it seems a little inconsistent, bordering on immoral, to contribute to open source (as in, anybody can use this) and then change your mind about who can use it later.

> which here seems to be the other that "supports illegal immigration", and I don't believe these attacks further the conversation. Nowhere do we have evidence that OP or anyone defending him is in favor of fully open borders, an accusation thrown around more than once in these comments.

Please, tell me how saying "you can't arrest people who cross the border illegally" is different from supporting open borders. (Since ICE is legally required to separate children from 'parents' when arresting them, just like every other law enforcement agency, "don't separate families" is equivalent to "don't arrest anyone crossing the border with someone who says they're a child")


To be clear, my argument is that the thing you called a strawman ("Nowhere do we have evidence that OP or anyone defending him is in favor of fully open borders") is equivalent to a belief you suggested to be much more likely ("Instead, it is much more likely that he dislikes the tactics used by ICE, such as separating families"). The argument is as follows:

"ICE should not separate families" is equivalent to "ICE should not arrest families", as ICE is required by law to separate families after arrest.

"ICE should not arrest families" is equivalent to "ICE should not arrest people crossing the border", as any competent border-hopping group will either have a child with them or someone who says they're a child. (Yes, they might not be related - that's what separating families was partially intended to find out)

"ICE should not arrest people crossing the border" is equivalent to "ICE should not enforce borders" is (IMO) equivalent to "Open borders should be a thing".

Who said "you can't arrest people who cross the border illegally"? I will not discuss this with you while you continue to whip out Straw Man arguments, nor will I engage with your aggressive manner.

Not OP but what confuses me that I don’t know how it’s possible to arrest families without separating them. In a hypothetical situation where a family of four (mom, dad and two kids) cross illegally and ICE catches them. They are arrested.

What is the desired outcome? The options I can think of are: 1) Let them go 2) Don’t arrest them at all 3) Arrest one parent, let the other parent free in the US with kids 4) arrest both parents, set the kids free alone 5) arrest both parents, let kids stay with citizens 6) arrest both parents, let kids stay with non-citizens 7) arrest all four, keep kids in jail 8) arrest parents, detain kids in non-prison weird foster care thing

All of these seem to suck for me and make me confused.

Are there other options that I’m missing? I’m against separating families and putting kids in cages and want to solve it. What are the options that we can do?

Until relatively recent history, "let them go" with an order to appear in court at a later date was the SOP for anyone without a criminal history. I'm not sure what the official name for this policy was, but political operatives sometimes use the pejorative "catch and release" to describe it.

Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor. Unless we start separating and detaining families indefinitely for speeding and public intoxication, we should probably stop doing it for crossing illegally.

Otherwise, we should change the laws regarding illegal crossing to make the procedures and penalties more explicit. As it stands now, locking up non-violent offenders for illegal crossing is a totally arbitrary policy dictated by the whichever administration is in power. There's nothing in the laws that say families have to be detained (and thus separated.)

That’s a good point, so that would be 9) arrest both parents, charge with misdemeanor, release on zero dollar bail. If amnesty granted then wipe arrest. If amnesty not granted, deport.

I support the idea of release on zero dollar bail for all nonviolent misdemeanors for first or maybe even second time offenders.

It seems like the penalty for this crime is max jail time six months [0] so definitely should at least be releasing people who have been detained longer than this.

Public intoxication varies by state (in Florida it’s max 90 days [1]) and it’s not a federal crime. Speeding is really not a comparable misdemeanor as to get to jail time you have to get to reckless driving or something, a crime that would definitely get you arrested if you had two kids in the backseat.

I don’t know of an appropriate misdemeanor comparison that is respectful as using petty theft or prostitution or trespassing may have similar penalties but leave a bad taste in my mouth because don’t seem appropriate comparing to a family trying to enter the US. Maybe failure to pay child support [2] would be equivalent if somehow both parents got charged with it at the same time. They would be subject to a misdemeanor and six months in jail.

[0] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1325 [1] https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/florida-publ... [2] https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/criminal-penalties-for-fai...

The problem with comparing "catch and release" with letting someone out on bail/with a citation for public intoxication is that for the latter, we have a positive identification for the person in question, we know where they live, and generally they have a lot to lose from failing to show.

This isn't really the case for people crossing the border illegally. Almost by definition they won't have a permanent address or a life to be uprooted from (or if they do, they're already uprooted from it - that's why they're crossing the border), and if they're set free they most likely won't have legal ways to support themselves. (No green card == no legal employment prospects)

I'd love to see historical rates of people showing up for their court hearings in illegal immigration cases like you describe, though - maybe I'm wrong!

And yet, until the early 2000s (I wonder what happened right around then...) that was exactly our policy.

Even today, +80% of families released show up to their immigration court hearings after being released[1]. (edit) Here's data going back to 2001 showing +90% appearance rate[2]

The idea that we have to hold them indefinitely (and thus split children apart from parents) or else they might slip away and get lost in the system is based on an assumption that the people we're detaining don't want to do the right thing. The vast majority of them do. The reason they're crossing illegally is usually because they are fleeing a time-sensitive problem (domestic violence, gangs, etc.) that they can't wait for our immigration bureaucracy to sort out and let them in "the right way." Once they're here, they seem very willing to be in the system if it means getting a chance to stay.

[1] https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/562/ [2] https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/fact-check-asylum-...

Thanks for the info!

9) toss the entire family back across the border (immediately) 10) arrest parents, toss kids back across the border 11) keep kids, toss parents back across the border

(I think those are even worse, for the record)

5/8 are what we do for other crimes, though. And that's part of the reason this is such a good scissor - a lot of people see others saying "you can't break up illegal immigrant families!" and wonder why that doesn't apply to the families of US citizens, too.

Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor on par with reckless driving. We do not arrest entire families because their father was reckless driving.

I had a single parent friend who had ver kids put into foster care because ve was arrested for reckless driving.

I don’t think illegal entry is the same as reckless driving, but I think in a situation where both parents were driving a car 120mph with two kids in the back seat, the cops would try to find family to take the kids or put them in foster care.

I think in this situation, the problem is compounded because likely friends and family are less likely to come to jail for fear of being arrested due to status.

I think a worthy cause would be some sort of big foster care movement where children are kept in super nice homes while parents are arrested and detained.

Do we arrest children who are caught reckless driving, though? I bet we do.

Unless you're saying that after the father crosses illegally into the US, ICE invades his home country and kidnaps his family?

You’re saying that a 3 year old is breaking the law. Don’t be stupid.

I mean, mechanically... They kinda are? We don't prosecute most toddlers lawbreaking, but that's more due to mental requirements for culpability than 'it's not a crime if a toddler does it' or other such shit.

Also, back to the drunk/reckless driving analogy - I wonder what the police do when someone gets arrested doing that with their kids in the back?

"Don't separate families" is equivalent to "don't arrest people who say they're a family" - in effect if not in intention.

Again, you throw around a Straw Man to service your point of view. I'm not here for this. Good day.

You said "that's a straw man". I attempted to show how it wasn't - specifically that there wasn't a gap between the thing you called a straw man and the beliefs you thought the code author had. You then continued to call it a straw man without elaborating how.

I'm not sure that I'm the person refusing to engage here.

"I was having trouble sleeping at night knowing that software—code that I personally authored—was being sold to and used by such a vile organization,"

I have bad news for almost every open source contributor then.

Of course, like anything, this is a problem of degrees. Numbers, severity, evidence, etc. It's pointless to extend any given decision to its logical extreme and present that as some kind of evidence on whether or not the specific decision was justified.

It's not a logical extreme at all. Chef-Sugar was a tiny library that did a very niche thing that wasn't even called in an ICE related project. In terms of degrees, this developer provided effectively zero support to ICE - but pulled out anyway. By the way, kudos to him, there aren't enough people who will stand on principle IMO.

That said, playing the FOSS game means that by default you risk supporting people you don't like, that's kind of the whole point of the "Freedom" part of it. Free as in speech.

Tons of major FOSS tools and libraries are used around the world by dictators and henchmen and unsavory people alike. Pick your favorite massive OSS project that you might have contributed to: Putty, Linux, OpenCV, Go, ROS, Elasticsearch, tar, Neo4j, MySQL etc.... and you'll have contributed some code that is used by some murderous regime somewhere.

Do whatever you have to do to make it feel like you didn't support those with some tiny OSS contribution, but just recognize it's pretty arbitrary and own that.

lol, yes let's start with Linux first ;)

I wonder if it would be possible to extend open source software licenses and include morals clauses.

Sure you could but then it becomes risky to use as the moral code may be hard to qualify.

Extending the license is easy. Enforcing it is a whole different question.

So there is a debate about whether a license should be able to have "field of endeavor" limits and still be considered open source; how much control open source authors should (or can) have over it's use.

What is going on here does NOT seem to be simply a case of the government using open source code.

> "While I understand that many of you and many of our community members would prefer we had no business relationship with DHS-ICE, I have made a principled decision, with the support of the Chef executive team, to work with the institutions of our government, regardless of whether or not we personally agree with their various policies," Crist wrote, who added that Chef's work with ICE started during the previous administration.

So it seems what happened here is Chef the company went beyond writing FOSS that happened to be picked up by ICE, they have some business relationship with ICE where they get paid.

I thought chef was open source, so was confused about what selling the code would entail, but googling discovered that it was "open core"... until apparently April of this year when they released all code apache? https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/02/chef-goes-100-open-source/

Which leaves me a bit more confused.

Vargo was a former employee of Chef the company... who maybe also made open source contributions to the project after he no longer worked there? Unclear.

But this quote from CEO Crist is just garbage:

> "My goal is to continue growing Chef as a company that transcends numerous U.S. presidential administrations. And to be clear: I also find policies such as separating families and detaining children wrong and contrary to the best interests of our country," he wrote.

And you determined there were no ways of "growing Chef as a company" that didn't require aiding and profiting from activities you yourself consider wrong?

Does he really think this is a sentence that makes sense and makes him look good? I think he simply told us he prioritizes money above his own values, basically that he is a moral coward unwilling to stand by his convictions.

But yeah, the article doesn't give the open-source-geeky details we developers interested in open source want. What exactly is the relationship between Chef Inc and ICE? Of Vargo to Chef Inc? Vargo stopped being a chef employee when, and.. continued to contribute to chef after that? What is this "revert to a previous version" going on, to what previous version, a version before Vargo even had any contributions, or what? Which came first, Chef Inc. or chef as a community open source project?


“Because it’s the law” is not a moral argument, it’s an excuse. All manner of immoral deeds can be justified by legal means. In the words of MLK: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”. You could argue that the law is just, but falling back to “It’s the law” is intellectual laziness.

GP wasn't falling back to "it's the law", but expressing skepticism that enforcement of immigration controls constitutes one of those unjust laws, which seems to be on firm ground, esp given that every country on earth does it.

Not every country is putting children into cages.

So further increasing tax burden on American citizens by allowing unlawful migration, when they already bring in 1 million plus lawfully and have been for the last decade, is morally just?

Their illegal immigration problem is literally an order of magnitude larger. Think about that for a second: 10 times more unlawful migration occurs in their country.

"It's immoral" is even more intellectually dishonest: you're just calling it bad.

I think a significant issue with this is how ICE has been enforcing the law. It has been argued that human rights offenses have been happening on a large scale, as committed by ICE.

That is to say: It's difficult to say that ICE is upholding the law by committing alleged crimes against humanity.

Unfortunately, ICE also has large-scale immunity to being investigate for these alleged crimes, leaving the public with no other avenues to uncover the truth besides the court of public opinion- their morals.

If they are enforcing harshly it might be difficult for them to find and remove people.

Ideally they need to work with the community. The problem is the community and certain safe cities make their jobs more difficult because they don't agree with the policy.

The smartest route would be to target businesses charging them additional taxes. Use that money to support the legal route by increasing limits and make that path more attractive.

Is it moral for citizens of this country to have their jobs taken away by people coming here illegally? I know several this has happened to, and who can no longer provide for their families. Where is your righteous indignation?

Is it moral for people who are working with the legal processes to immigrate to have others flout the law? Are you going to stand up and protect their rights?

Is it moral for people who are not citizens to come to our country and commit document fraud? To avail themselves of our safety net that we pay for? Our schools that we pay for? Why should citizens have to compete for these services against people who have not paid for them, who have jumped the line?

What moral right does someone have to make a claim on our jobs, our resources?

On the other hand, our government has a moral responsibility to protect the rights of the citizens of this country. To protect our jobs, our way of life.

This is really off-topic. He tought that ICE actions are immoral, therefore helping them is immoral, and decided to remove his FREE (as in freedom) software from his github account.

This has nothing to do with legal or illegal immigration.

Btw i'll stay off-topic with you: the waiting list for legal immigration is more than 20 year if you're from Mexico, up to 60 if its for familly reasons (so a son, a daughter, a wife or parents). This have some interesting effects (if the green card holder of the family die, what happen to those that remains, even if they lived in the US for 20 years?)

And what about the companies that hire illegal immigrants? Why are the fines so small. If you want to prevent illegal immigrant to "take away jobs", simple: higher fines for companies and incentives for illegal immigrants to denounce the company they are working for. This should do the job just fine.

I'm not completely informed of everything ICE does but I believe this is the agency that has been separating children from their parents, caging people for days (weeks?) on end in conditions where they can't even lie down, and even had small children die in their custody [1].

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48375144

A fair criticism, but let's not forget these facilities and practices were opened during the Obama administration. People like to point to this as a point of criticism against Trump.

If that were true it would be even more terrible. I did find it a bit hard to believe so I checked, and your claim seems to be based on a misunderstanding, according to https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/09/us/politics/fact-check-fa....

Can't read the article because it's behind a paywall, but unfortunately I've come to doubt anything the NYT reports against Trump as they tend to be less than honest about how they choose to report and represent things.

Those facilities and practices were started by Bill Clinton in the 90s.

And my understanding is that those facilities and practices were put into place to protect the children from assault by the predominantly adult population of the then-existing detainment facilities.

Those people are also free to self-deport at any time. They're locked in cages insofar as they choose to be there.

Actually are they allowed to leave an ICE facility once they've been put into the encampments? For example, when a citizen youth was put into an encampmet for suspicion of being in the country illegally, I don't believe they were ever provided the option to be released.

Only to be “released” through deportation.

We're talking about children, and no that's not true.


> They know it is illegal and they do it anyway, and bring their children along; do you not harbor any moral outrage against those parents for subjecting their children to this possibility?

No, I do not harbor any moral outrage for parents who bring their children with them when fleeing from a place where gang violence and organized crime have made it very unsafe. For a lot of these families, getting the kids to a safer place was the reason they left.

I was under the impression that the many of those immigrating are actually entirely legally going through the refugee/asylum process so the whole claim that they are illegal is moot. They are legal.

Asylum shopping is not legal.

Selective enforcement of immigration law is immoral. Both in the sense that immigration law is more likely to be enforced against racial minorities, and in the sense that workers are targeted but the businesses who benefit from exploiting undocumented immigrant labor are not targeted.

> Both in the sense that immigration law is more likely to be enforced against racial minorities

Is that a "more likely to be enforced against people who do something else, such as crossing the border illegally, and those people happen to have racial makeups different than the US" or "more likely to be enforced due to a person's race"?

I really have to assume the former.

Yes. As individuals we only have authority to restrict access to property we directly own... and as the State is only the collective organization of our own innate individual rights, there is no basis for the State to claim the power to restrict access to property it does not own. Individuals should be free to move wherever and however they want, so long as they don't initiate force or use fraud to violate anyone else's rights in the process.

Morality is subjective, Seth Vargo thinks the way ICE enforces the law is not appropriate and choose not to help them.

Wether or not you share his moral beliefs does not seem important to me, you can recode chef-sugar if you think the way ICE works is fine and we should help them.

> you can recode chef-sugar if you think the way ICE works is fine and we should help them.

No need to re-code, it's open-source. It's already forked and under new control.

Really, Seth was only the "owner" of that code insofar as the mainline development was occurring on a project on his profile. The project now exists under Chef's control on their profile.

This move only generates some minimal pain for anyone using Chef-Sugar, and gains PR for Seth and his views. Presumably the latter was his goal all along.

"Presumably the latter was his goal all along."

I'm not sure if this is the case and I think this is a bad faith interpretation of the developer's goals.

if the law is immoral, yes.

Is it immoral when other countries do it, or only when the U.S. does it?

More specifically only when the current US administration does it.


Maybe republicans should have shone light on it then... Instead of chasing a birth certificate...

But not if the law is moral. Good luck determining it.

This is how immoral laws get changed though and there’s great success. There also many failures.

I suppose we’ll see how many people think the law is moral vs immoral.

Legality != morality

Plenty of laws on the books are immoral and I can think of lots of organizations I'd rather not support with my code. However, the price you pay for putting your work on the open market (or OSS) is that you lose control of who can use it after that point.

Do you have an argument for its being moral?

First, a simple moral case: if someone can go to a market to trade for things that allow them to survive, help their families, or just live a better life... under what conditions is it morally acceptable to stop them?

Our answer? Not many!


Maybe you think that's politics, but acting like the moral argument doesn't exist is pretty dumb.

There's an election in 13 months. All of this goes away after that, just like swift boat captains and ACORN. Edit: To clarify, back to business-as-usual without wedge issues dividing Americans.

Are you implying you expect Trump to not win the re-election?

No, my previous comment was a somewhat knee-jerk of my belief that the media divides people in the months leading to an election so that they will go to the polls. They blow-up non-stories and downplay real actions where necessary.

Re: Trump, I doubt anyone cares what I think, but I do wish the republicans had a more approachable figurehead. The hard-nose republicans who wanted to buck the previous 8 years come hell or high water put him in and might keep him there. I would prefer a return to Bush's idea of a "compassionate conservative."

This is a pretty blatant strawman. Enforcing law is neither inherently immoral, nor are laws inherently moral. Your implication is destructively reductionist.

I'm wondering where you got the idea that this developer dislikes ICE because it enforces immigration law. That, on its face, makes little sense. It is quite clear that OP dislikes ICE because of the tactics it uses to enforce immigration law, not the enforcement of it outright.

I believe this discussion would go a lot more smoothly without pedantic, black and white arguments being thrown around with the thought that your argument is the correct one, and just needs to be crammed a little harder into everyone else before they get it.

EDIT: If you don't like what I have to say, rebut it, don't downvote it. Silencing me does nothing but make you feel good.


> they weren’t breaking the law

Well, whether or not they were breaking the law is purely subjective: there was no law to break, so they didn't.

I think what you're trying to suggest is that they were behaving immorally by aiding an immoral regime - but that's still not a reasonable comparison, since the Nazis were engaging in genocide, which I don't think anybody has ever argued is not immoral.

So he temporarily sabotaged many customers to make a political point about ICE because he believes they are immoral. I’m not sure two wrongs can make a right like that.

No, Chef decided that they wanted to use someone else’s software, without paying that person, to do something that person didn’t want their software to be used for.

So they stopped allowing chef to use their software.

That Chef didn’t have an alternative is entirely on Chef.

Unless of course you are saying that you believe that individuals should be required to provide it to anyone who asks?

> they wanted to use someone else’s software, without paying that person

Because the software was open source.

> to do something that person didn’t want their software to be used for.

I didn't realize Chef had to analyze every open source contributors political opinions.

> So they stopped allowing chef to use their software.

Which is against the entire idea of open source software.

>I didn't realize Chef had to analyze every open source contributors political opinions.

Arguably, they only have to analyze their own, if it's immoral enough.

Isn't that the whole point? Everyone should have a moral code because everyone's moral code could be a different?

This sort of thing hurts open source, too - when you buy software, the contract is that they'll continue allowing you to use it as long as the check clears. Now, with open source, you don't have to pay... but you have to run your business/government the way each individual developer agrees with?

Not exactly.

Developers ultimately have judgement over which projects they contribute to, and if they feel that more harm is coming out of their work than good, then they have every right to cease development.

Open source, compared to other development models, suffers the least from this problem in that there is no single developer that has jurisdiction over how the product is used. FOSS projects can always be forked, if need be.

Arguably he did people a service by reminding relying parties of this vulnerability. Both that upstreams might pull their repos, and that upstreams might incompetently run their distribution infrastructure (all the npm issues...)


If you want to have availability guarantees you should arrange a paid contract. Otherwise you are literally demanding someone else do free work for you.

I'm going to have to say yes on this one. If you have no contract with the developer, you're SOL.

> when you buy software, the contract is that they'll continue allowing you to use it as long as the check clears

Have you ever actually read a proprietary software license?

I do have a moral code. And under my moral code, I'm happy to provide software to ICE

You're agreeing with the headline, but your tone implies that you're disagreeing.

I'm not disagreeing with the headline, I'm disagreeing with the content.

I do have a moral code, and I believe that everyone should. However, this developer implies that everyone with a moral code should align with his actions.

Every person does but it may not be the same as the author. My moral code would allow me to develop anything for anybody anytime.

Sounds like you don't have a moral code, if that's the case.

Just because it differs from yours doesn't mean theirs doesnt exist or isn't well defined.

Can you elaborate? The parent post is making the argument that the GP's position is the lack of a code, rather than just a different code. I.e. there's a reasonable argument to be made that "I don't care what anybody does" is not a moral code, or else we perhaps risk stretching the definition of "moral code" to the point of meaninglessness. You're disagreeing, apparently, but without a lot of detail.

The moral code of complete development freedom without judgement is a moral code.

I agree that it is a moral code to provide software under absolute agnosticism, even if that software were used to directly perform acts you find to be supremely evil. However, I don't think merely having a code frees one from judgement.

Morality is subjective...It seems that you're saying because his moral code isn't in alignment with yours means it's invalid? Scary.

A lot of politically charged comments in here.

I don't think it seems that way at all. It seems merely like the parent post is suggesting that the GP's position is more like amorality than it is like a specific moral position. I can see reasonable arguments for both positions - but calling either of those opinions "scary" seems unnecessarily provocative and dramatic.

Doesn't sound like much of a code at all.

Of course, everyone should have a moral code. And moral codes can differ substantially, and be used to justify pretty much anything.

Many think selling to ICE is wrong, but many others think it's entirely moral/justified.

And the same goes for everything else. Almost every political/moral position you can think of can probably be justified using one moral or ethical code or another. Are their actions right or wrong according to utillitarianism or deontology or virtue ethics? Well if you ask ten different people you'll get ten different answers.

So I'm not sure what to think there.

P.S. The whole 'right side of history' thing is super tiresome to read about, since the right side isn't necessarily the 'moral' one, but merely the one with the most cultural mindshare at the time.

Not even sure what you're trying to say here. Of course he's going by his own personal moral code.

Honestly, I don't really know either, and regret that comment already.

Either way, I guess I'm just frustrated by how all these media stories seem to be about the software engineer annoyed by the likes of ICE/the military/whoever using their code rather the other way around. Or perhaps the constant focus on ethics in tech as if said ethics are somehow universal/can be agreed upon.

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