An Open Source License That Requires Users to Do No Harm

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t3g
t3g
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https://www.wired.com/story/open-source-license-requires-users-do-no-harm/

"Coraline Ada Ehmke wants to give her fellow developers more control over how their software is used. Software released under her new "Hippocratic License" can be shared and modified for almost any purpose, with one big exception: "Individuals, corporations, governments, or other groups for systems or activities that actively and knowingly endanger, harm, or otherwise threaten the physical, mental, economic, or general well-being of individuals or groups in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Thoughts?

commodore256
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It seems redundant because if they use it for harm, they can get sued anyway and even if they couldn't, people wouldn't blame the software, they would blame the user.

A lot of free software users' love for freedom goes beyond the realm software and have noticed no matter what the intention to, efforts to restrict freedom for the good of the collective has usually resulted in the restriction of freedom be worse than doing nothing.

You don't think RMS thought of this back in the 80's?

Magic Banana

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andyprough
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Sounds lovely and utopian and completely impossible to enforce in the real world. You'd have to install a proprietary back door that you could use to spy on the users and to shut down the operation of the program if you disagreed with their use. But your proprietary code and spying would violate their 4 freedoms. It is what twitter and facebook and google and apple do today.

CalmStorm

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Yeah... there's a problem I have with this idea...

It's called free will.

That is something proprietors think they can control if they are sneaky enough and clever enough.

So I guess to summarize, such a thought process doesn't exist within someone who has an actual conscience.

Masaru Suzuqi
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Joined: 06/06/2018

Don't you guys have a conscience about disturbing a kind of timeline of a thread?

Masaru Suzuqi
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That would mean that after all we must wait impatiently (because of the pollution issues, mainly) for the time when some degree of great number of people desire and demand their freedoms of their free will.
Would we only be able to bring the date forward? This is not tempting you into off-topic. His philosophy seems to be considered thoroughly. Our common sense and goodness would often encounter a piece of his philosophy. I mean, why did not she encounter it despite she seems to be an experienced developer and have goodness? If she knew it then, she might create an other unique idea and it might bring the date forward to some degree. Even a good developer had not shared his guide. It would be more difficult for normal users to share the philosophy. How happened that??

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

When we share software, we are definitely doing "evil" to proprietary software companies and the capitalist governments behind them. But doing "evil" to the enemies is doing good for free software movement. The question is, whether we are doing good or evil, this question is judged by whom (and the answer is so obvious).

So if we want to speak for free software movement, we must firmly reject such "doing no harm" non-free licenses.

Masaru Suzuqi
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Joined: 06/06/2018

Of course good or evil is judged by the interests of vested interests. Although not as explicit as several decades ago. There will come a time when this problem must be solved decisively. Isn't it better to have some consensus on strategy now?
After all, only common sense is the standard for judgment, and current law is generally constructed well, that can be generally convinced by common sense. The base is already fostered. Thanks very much the big democratic country. The rest is that, for example, when the United States accuses China of the currency manipulation, how many people can guess the possibility, or can understand methods of currency manipulation of the United States.
It must be majority. It seems impossible. But there is the internet. Without people's understanding, freedom is not achieved.

commodore256
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Imagine of there was something like a "you must not use this for terrorism" clause, how are you really going to stop them? It would also set a bad precedent for GPL licensed software. Not only would this be GPL incompatible even for linking, but it would increase the liabilities for GPL licensed software that don't have those clauses.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

The Hippocratic License is like all these other non-free social justice licenses; the Commons Clause, Fair Source, Coopyright, anti-996, and using CopyFarLeft licenses like the Peer Production License with software. They're not free code software, because they violate every one of the four freedoms, placing limits on use, sharing, modification, and redistribution. None of them are even compatible with the Open Source Definition, so they are not open source licenses either, as the term is commonly understood.

I want to acknowledge that the people drafting all these licenses have good intentions. But I'm reminded of GitHub's recent action to ban people from certain countries from accessing the site. The goal is very different, but the principle of action is the same. Stallman's comments sum up nicely why this is a bad idea (thanks Magic Banana for the link), as does Bruce Perens blog piece on the HL:
https://perens.com/2019/09/23/sorry-ms-ehmke-the-hippocratic-license-cant-work/

.. and this quote from Perens' follow up piece Invasion of The Ethical Licenses:
https://perens.com/2019/10/12/invasion-of-the-ethical-licenses/

> "The idea behind this was that Freedom meant Freedom for everyone, not just Freedom for people we approved of ... it meant that the Debian system could be a common ground for the sharing of software among people who did not agree on social issues, and just maybe that it would be a way for those various people to work together and gain respect for each other, and ultimately come to greater agreement."
https://perens.com/2019/10/12/invasion-of-the-ethical-licenses/

Basically they've picked the wrong tool for the job. Copyright licenses cannot do what they want them to do here. It would be just as effective, and less damaging to the software commons, to use a standard free code license, but attach a project manifesto or values statement that sums up any ways they hope to see their software used, and ways they particularly don't want it used.