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From Leo Simons <>
Subject Re: [policy] Ethics and Project Names - discuss
Date Tue, 29 Aug 2006 12:37:14 GMT
In Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 01:00:28PM +0100, Danny Angus wrote:
> I think the time might be right to provoke a dispassionate discussion
> about our use of proper names for project names.


> That there be a new category of minimum exit requirements named
> somthing like "Ethical considerations" and that the initial item in
> this list be "The podling name should not equal or contain a proper
> noun which may already be associated with any identifiable community
> or individual or have a special meaning in any cultural context,
> unless such a proper noun is an attribution and is generally accepted
> to be relevant, such as the name of an inventor or associated
> institution." The intention is to discourage the use of proper names
> as project altogether, the exception is to allow the fine tradition of
> naming inventions after their inventor to continue.

^^ could use example / term explanations (I had to look up "proper noun").

> WDYT:-
> Should we apply ethical considerations at all?

Yes; limited to near-universally accepted ones though. We're an international
organisation and any ethical guidelines should take that into account. And I'll
note too ethics are *hard*. "Do No Evil" is not actually such a bad one for

> Should we avoid proper names?

I don't care much either way. I think some of their usages are quite clever,
like "Apache James", "Apache Geronimo", and others, but I've never felt the
need to be fun or clever when it offends a sizeable body of our contributors
(there will always be something that offends *someone*, can't pleasure the
whole world, have to draw a line somewhere, "contributor" is arbitrary).

> ... and if not why not?

I just disagree with the whole notion of any kind of "ownership" of names
(proper noun ones or just about any others) beyond where it is
delusion/confusing/derogative. Eg "Apache Windows" does not make sense. I
myself have no problem with "Apache Geronimo" because it isn't likely to be
confusing and I personally don't see it as offensive (I can't see software as
offensive, perhaps with exceptions like viruses or trojan horses).

So one reason would be that my personal ethics (as one contributor) somewhat
collide with the kind of name regulation you propose. There can be multiple
such reasons, which might add up to something significant. The prospect of
ethics harmonization using some kind of online consensus-based mechanism
frightens me enough to keep reasonably silent about it though. Maybe just a
simple majority vote is better.

In terms of a vote I'm somewhere around +/-0.


Leo "uses a nickname which reminds people of drugs" Simons

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