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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.


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