[Top] [All Lists]

Re: Design principles and ethics (was Re: Execute without read (was [...

Subject: Re: Design principles and ethics was Re: Execute without read (was [...])
From: Bas Wijnen
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006 14:22:39 +0200
On Sat, Apr 29, 2006 at 12:45:42PM +0200, Pierre THIERRY wrote:
> Scribit Bas Wijnen dies 29/04/2006 hora 11:21:
> > What I mean by "doing something wrong", is to do something morally
> > objectionable, such as breaking the law (assuming that you don't
> > consider that particular law itself immoral).
> Wrong is not morally reprehensible, which in turn is not morally
> objectionable.

That's a matter of definition.  I just gave you mine, and for that your
statement is obviously not true.

> I should not actively help to make something I personnally consider
> morally objectionable, but I should know that it is my personal
> judgement and not something absolute.

Actually, I have no problem with helping people to break immoral laws.  But I
do have a problem with helping them to do immoral things which are legally

Of course what is morally objectionable differs per person.  I will not ask
someone to do anything which he considers morally objectionable (if I know
this, and unless not doing it is morally objectionable IMO).  I also don't
like it if people ask this of me.

> This is very different from, for example, something that would be
> illegal. Which I agree we should prevent the user to be able to do it,
> if it won't prevent legal uses.

The law is an attempt to write down morals.  It doesn't always succeed in in
that.  I agree that it is usually a good idea to follow the law, but that's
not because it is in itself the right thing to do.  It's because those laws
have a moral background.  And if there's something wrong with that background,
so the law itself is immoral (such as, IMO, is the case with copyright law),
then breaking it is not a big problem.  The only reason not to do it is to
avoid the police.  And I have no problem at all helping people break such a
law if they feel it is a good idea.

> > > Design principles are not inflexible laws, merely strong guidelines.
> > They are inflexible laws.
> That should be made clear (and quite a few among us could confirm that
> it is the way they see design principles). And then design principles
> should be written.

Yes, they should.  And they are. :-)  Marcus wrote an e-mail to this list some
time ago describing them.  They should be in the wiki, but aren't (and I can't
seem to log into it).  They probably should be in the draft specification as
well, on page 1 or so. :-)

> We cannot have implicit inflexible laws.

Of course we can. :-)  But they won't work, because they are needed to test if
things are acceptable to be implemented or not.  If they're implicit, that
test cannot be performed.


I encourage people to send encrypted e-mail (see http://www.gnupg.org).
If you have problems reading my e-mail, use a better reader.
Please send the central message of e-mails as plain text
   in the message body, not as HTML and definitely not as MS Word.
Please do not use the MS Word format for attachments either.
For more information, see
L4-hurd mailing list
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>