SEC=UNCLASSIFIED RE: Community Council meeting 6 dec 2005

Carsten Agger agger at
Thu Dec 8 08:00:34 GMT 2005

Stoffers, Robert LAC wrote:
>>The forums are financially supported in part, thus making it official
>>and recognized (if it wasn't we would probably not even discuss in
>>depth about it in the CC meetings). What Ryan argues is that the CoC
>>does not fit specifically to a forum setting as we have discussed last
>>night after the meeting.
> Phrases such as "Be considerate" and "Be respectful" can easily be applied to the forum 
>setting, as can "When you disagree, consult others." The last phrase, "When you disagree, 
>consult others" is what's not happening, currently one cannot disagree with an administrator 
>on the forums and have a real chance of getting the issue soughed out. By pulling the forums 
>into the Ubuntu ship the CC and the Ubuntu community at large can better control how this resource functions.

There are serious issues with the forums as they work right now.

Here's an executive summary of the current trouble: A forum moderator
and avid contributer created a script to automate the installation of
codecs, proprietary drivers etc. to make installation easier for a new

This user, however, did not want his work to be ripped off or forked, so
he released it under a non-GPL compatible license, banning
redistribution without the author's explicit content.

The script, however, allegedly used code from another script called
EasyUbuntu which was released under the GPL. This made the terms of the
new script illegal as they violate the GPL. Not a big matter and one
that should be easily corrected, but ...

when the author off the original script politely pointed this out, the
thread in which he did so was deleted. Other forum members objected to
this, and the moderator/author of the new script reacted in a very
hostile way to any discussion of his licensing terms, closing threads
and deleting messages in the process. Some (not all!) of the other forum
moderators have also reacted aggressively to peaceful discussion of the
licensing issues as well as to forum policies, reacting with gems like
"shut the f*** up" and "we moderate as we see fit".

This is not good, and that kind of attitude makes the forums a bad face
for Ubuntu.

I should say, as a bare minimum, all forum moderators should sign the
Ubuntu code of conduct and abide with it at all times.

Also, all developing contributors should know enough about licensing to
know that

1) It's important in a free software community that free software
licenses like GPL and BSD-style licenses are respected

2) If some developer apparently violates a free software license, s/he
should enter the discussion and explain why this is not so or correct
the situation as a matter of course, not grudginly.

I see the forums as an important part of the Ubuntu Web presence, but
something obviously has to be done ...


Carsten Agger

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