Obscene content in cygwin file.

Joshua Kolden joshua@CrackCreative.com
Sun Jan 9 17:11:00 GMT 2005

Gary R. Van Sickle wrote:

>>>The question stands:  What is the reason Cygwin should provide this 
>>>obscene content?
>>This is not the question.
>Yes, it is.
Arbitrary pronouncement, in light of this I see no flaw in my 
reasoning.   The content exists, it has already been provided.  "Should 
it be provided" is moot.  Support your position or yield it.

>> Cygwin already provides the content.  
>Accidentally, and without the knowledge or consent of the user.
Bugs in software can an should be reported as such, operational failure 
of software is not uncommon and in no way need of debate.  The debate 
arises from the position you put forward that the content should not be 
there even in properly operating software.

>>Therefore the question is: should it be removed?
>The answer to that is yes.  Again I ask: why should Cygwin provide this
Again arbitrary pronouncement, without supporting argument.  Not 
compelling.  I still see now flaw in my analysis.

>>You argue that it should, because you asses some of the 
>>content as obscene, and are personally offended by it.  
>You're late to the party Josh.  As I stated in my second post on the
>subject, I am in no way personally offended by it.  I simply find it purile
>and unprofessional.
I am not late to the debate, I simply had to assume that you were 
putting forward your own opinion.  If you are not putting forward you 
opinion then there is no debate, because there is no one who is 
offended.  Arguing someone else's potential position is meaningless.

>>Further you imply that removing the package from your own 
>>system is inadequate to address this offense. (please correct 
>>me if I miss state your argument)
> <>
> You have almost completely misstated my argument. Allow me to restate 
> it in
> convenient bullet-list form:
> - The limericks in question could realistically get somebody fired or 
> sued.

> <>- I am realistically one of the many parties that could conceivably get
> sued.
So to understand better you are not offended by the limericks your are 
concerned that you are inviting a lawsuit from someone who is offended?  
Are you denying people an opportunity to uninstall the software?  Do you 
require people to use fortune to keep their job, and fail to inform them 
of this when they began? 

Unless you force an employee to use the software and you didn't not make 
it clear they would be working with that software from the beginning you 
can not be held liable, you can be sued but they would not win the 
suite.  In fact you can be sued at any time for any reason, the question 
of liability is what determines who will win.  I, for example, work in 
the entertainment industry where such potentially offensive material is 
worked on every day, our employees are not obliged to work on offensive 
material, and/or have been informed of the content before being 
employed. So they can not succeed in any law suite against us for having 
such material online, or in an area where they may happen upon it.  If 
you do not follow the guidelines then fortune/cygwin is the least of 
your worries.

No one is being forced to read dirty limericks, and with out such force 
dirty limericks are protected by freedom of speech.  In all such cases 
it is the responsibility of the viewer to stop viewing.  I recommend 
getting a laymans book on harassment in the workplace it seems you are 
not very well informed in this area.  I recommend "Sexual Harassment 
Awareness Training: 60 Practical Activities for Trainers," however there 
are others.

>- Red Hat is even more realistically one of the many parties that could
>conceivably get sued.
This, while considerably more plausible, is still not a valid argument 
as Red Hat wave such warranty of responsibility in their license 
agreement.  And again they don't force anyone to use there software or 
to read dirty limericks.

>- The limericks in question are installed without the knowledge or consent
>of the installer.
Francis Litterio wrote:

> The user does not know he is giving consent to installing fortune when
> he is doing a full install of Cygwin.  There are over 500 hundred
> packages in a full Cygwin install.

This, in and of it self, is not a problem.  You must first demonstrate 
that such action can cause damage.  As it is, every cygwin package can 
be selected to be installed our not.  Therefore, this is not a 
meaningfully argument regardless if it where true or not.

>- The limericks in question are of interest only to junior-highschool-age
>sysadmins and lawyers.
This is also a week argument, as it assumes we agree with your 
subjective assessment of the limericks, which we don't.  This also is 
not a meaningfully argument regardless if it is true or not.

>- Redacting the limericks in question from Cygwin will eliminate the risk
>they cause.
You have failed to demonstrate risk, and you have failed to demonstrate 
that the limericks are the only risk.  Who should be responsible for 
reviewing and judging the risk level of the code?  How much code must be 
reviewed?  To what standard should it be held? Shall Cygwin packagers 
now warrant that the code is free from such potentially offensive material.

>- Redacting the limericks in question from Cygwin has no realistic chance of
>destroying Western democracies or throwing the world into an oppressive
>Stalinist nightmare.
This is not at issue, and can be said for leaving the limericks in as well.

>>Additional, unnecessary, evaluation reveals that while you 
>>have two options to address your offense, I would have none 
>>if the tables were turned.
>You could download the source and build it yourself.  Just like you could
>with all the software which isn't provided in the Cygwin distro.  Most of
>which contains no questionable material.
I am not offended by the content (or lack there of), as you apparently 
are, I am offended by censorship.  My ability to correct the censorship 
does not address my offense, where as your ability to remove the content 
does address yours.

I think it is fairly clear.  The limericks do not cause any direct 
damage in the united states.  We leave it to the user to decide such 
issues in their own country, as they are most equipped to do so.  Cygwin 
maintainers do not wish to take on the responsibility of warranting the 
software against objectionable or illegal use.  We recommend that all 
cygwin software be well documented in the installer so that users can 
make proper judgments for themselves for every package.  However, we 
recognize that this is only a recommendation, and because cygwin 
maintainers can make no warranties it is purely at their discretion that 
these recommendations be implemented, beyond the current level.


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