Non-discrimination is the core value of open source.

Original author: Eric Raymond
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Today I learned that the Lerna project added a note to the MIT license in its project that prohibits the use of this product for a long list of organizations, due to disagreement with the political choice these organizations made.

Speaking as one of the co-authors of the Open Source Definition , I state the fact: after this addition, the Lerna license is no longer compatible with this definition. In particular, compatibility with the fifth paragraph is violated ("No discrimination against individuals or groups").

Accordingly, Lerna departed from the open-source community and should be avoided by everyone who appreciates the health of this community. I will not contribute to this project and encourage others not to do so until this change is canceled.

We wrote the fifth paragraph in Open Source Definitions with good intentions. If exceptions and cuts, as in Lerna, become common practice, this will create greater uncertainty about the ethics and even the legality of reusing the code. Suppose I was going to take a snippet of the Lerna code and reuse it in a project that (perhaps without my knowledge) would be installed in one of the prohibited organizations; What will my ethical and legal role be in this?

It could get worse. Suppose I wrote code that turned out to be identical or very similar to some parts of Lerna. Will anyone be able to press charges that I violated their license? It is definitely unsafe when this situation depends on the knowledge and intentions in the head of a hypothetical violator that no one outside can know for certain.

Moreover, the choice of the Lerna project is destructive for one of the basic norms that keep the open-source community functioning - to keep politics away from our work. If we do not support this rule, we risk falling apart into a group of squabble tribes arguing about particulars and incapable of truly large-scale cooperation.

I would consider such a disintegration not only unpleasant, but also dangerous for a civilization that relies on us for a growing part of its critical infrastructure. Accordingly, we must cooperate even more, but not less.

This in turn means that even if we can hold strong personal opinions on certain issues, such as those that motivated the Lerna restrictive list, we should be even more neutral and non-discriminatory in our general behavior in such situations, but no less.

Update : Less than 24 hours after I posted this, the license change was canceled and its author was excluded from the project. This is how sanity wins - one fight at a time.

Translator's note: despite the fact that the license in Lerna was restored, the developer left the license with exceptions in his personal react-loadable and unstated personal projects , which also had several thousand users.

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