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Thread: Automatix -- ethical question

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    Automatix -- ethical question

    I find it very surprising that Ubuntu CE (a "Christian" distro) has included the Automatix script as part of their package. As I'm sure you are aware, the script downloads and installs codecs and drivers that (for US citizens at least) are not in the public domain -- your screenshots even show the line that merely requires a simple tick in order to install "NON FREE Audio and DVD codecs".

    To my knowledge, all the other Ubuntu and Debian distros have very correctly, and probably on the sound advice of copyright lawyers, supplied only software that has been rigorously vetted as legal to own and operate worldwide.

    Given the ethical "gray area" of the Automatix script, would you consider removing it from the disto?

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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    1. Automatix doesn't make it compulsory to do something illegal.
    2. Not all Christians live in the US.
    3. I'm sure the ethics of including it have already been considered.

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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    On the subject of a possible conflict between Christian ethics and the law of the land, would you consider hiding a runaway slave to be a Christian thing to do, even in a land where slavery was still legal?

    This is, I admit, an exagerated case, but it is to make the point that the law of the land and a person's view of what is ethical or moral do not necessarily coincide.

    And of course, what Meng stated is very true. As I often have to explain to my six-year old son: "just because you can, doesn't mean that you should".


    K.

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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    Quote Originally Posted by meng View Post
    1. Automatix doesn't make it compulsory to do something illegal.
    2. Not all Christians live in the US.
    3. I'm sure the ethics of including it have already been considered.
    1. It makes it easy, and doesn't make it clear that it's illegal.
    2. Many Christians do.
    3. Maybe not.
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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    Quote Originally Posted by skymt View Post
    1. It makes it easy, and doesn't make it clear that it's illegal.
    2. Many Christians do.
    1. It's only a grey-are in the US
    2. And people who live in the rest of the world should suffer because many christians live in the US?

    This is certainly a non-issue. Including Automatix is wrong (imo) for many other reasons, but not this.

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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    Quote Originally Posted by redadept View Post
    I find it very surprising that Ubuntu CE (a "Christian" distro) has included the Automatix script as part of their package. As I'm sure you are aware, the script downloads and installs codecs and drivers that (for US citizens at least) are not in the public domain -- your screenshots even show the line that merely requires a simple tick in order to install "NON FREE Audio and DVD codecs".

    To my knowledge, all the other Ubuntu and Debian distros have very correctly, and probably on the sound advice of copyright lawyers, supplied only software that has been rigorously vetted as legal to own and operate worldwide.

    Given the ethical "gray area" of the Automatix script, would you consider removing it from the disto?
    Well, I have thought a lot about this. I even discussed this quite a bit on the Ubuntu CE Development forum. I found that it was about 50/50 with those who responded. I obviously do not want to encourage doing anything illegal. However, to me the Automatix script is an excellent tool especially for those new to linux. One of the things that pushes people away from linux is the initial configuration issues. Automatix helps solve that problem.

    I feel that Automatix makes it very clear what is and isn't legal. If it did something that was illegal everywhere in the entire world then I would not include it. However, there are places in the world that it is not illegal and they should not be penalized because it is illegal somewhere else.

    I mean, it is illegal to make copies of movies, but they still sell DVD recorders. My point is that the Automatix script does not encourage or force you to install something that is illegal. It also warns you about it before hand.

    I appreciate your concern, and I knew that this would come up. I just hope we can all see the benefits of it and the fact that this is a worldwide project.

    Thanks, Jereme

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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    There is nothing illegal and/or unethical about Automatix. I don't understand why this thread's been started in the first place as Automatix makes it all very clear?
    Is it maybe the "temptation aspect" that bothers? Just wondering...
    Out of curiosity, why not just use Ubuntu? Why the need for a Christian Edition? Please don't take me wrong; these are only questions as I'd like to understand...if I can.
    Are we going to have a FootballPlayer or a Jewish Edition?...so to speak.
    Why be apart?
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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    Quote Originally Posted by xyz View Post
    There is nothing illegal and/or unethical about Automatix. I don't understand why this thread's been started in the first place as Automatix makes it all very clear?
    Is it maybe the "temptation aspect" that bothers? Just wondering...
    Out of curiosity, why not just use Ubuntu? Why the need for a Christian Edition? Please don't take me wrong; these are only questions as I'd like to understand...if I can.
    Are we going to have a FootballPlayer or a Jewish Edition?...so to speak.
    Why be apart?
    This is from the projects site FAQ page:

    Q: Why should I use the Ubuntu Christian Edition if I can install the same software to the default Ubuntu?

    A: The concept behind the Ubuntu Christian Edition is not to deviate from the Ubuntu community. It is intended to draw a larger Christian base to the already thriving community of Ubuntu users. The Ubuntu Christian Edition simply makes it easier for Christians who are new to Linux to see the power of Ubuntu combined with the added benefit of having the best available Linux Christian software pre-installed.

    Jereme

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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    Aren't the only illegal-in-the-US packages w32codecs and libdvdcss2?

    Does Automatix force you to install these? If the answer is "no," then I don't see what sort of ethical issues are at stake.
    Last edited by aysiu; September 5th, 2006 at 07:02 AM.

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    Re: Automatix -- ethical question

    If automatix makes it clear, which I believe it does, what is and isn't possibly illigal, then leave it in, otherwise you'd also have to leave out the Sword Bible software as that has a facility to download books, bibles etc that are illigal in some countries... And then there's SCO's claim that large chuncks of Linux was 'stolen' and shouldnt be used... which would mean that Ubuntu would be illigal so should we stop using Ubuntu on the grounds that its possibly illigal... just how far is this gonna go...

    I wish this project God's blessing
    James B

    "For God so loved the world the he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16 (ESV)

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