It was only two days ago when Jamie Kyle, a Lerna Developer decided to modify the Lerna’s license to ban companies who are the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) contractors from using the software. This decision has now been reverted by the Lerna Core team and Kyle has been removed from the development project. Now, any organization who wishes to use the Lerna software is free to use it.
Kyle stated, on Wednesday, over Github how he has been deeply disturbed by ICE’s behavior with American immigrants and the companies who have collaborated with ICE “don’t have any licensing rights” and “any use of Lerna will be considered theft”.
Daniel Stockman, a core Lerna contributor, removed Kyle from the project, yesterday morning and pointed out that the license change was a “rash decision” that was “unenforceable”. He also added that there were “several past violations of [Lerna’s] code of conduct” as there were instances when Kyle’s behavior was rude and impolite.
As reported to Motherboard, Kyle thinks his removal from the team is a result of Stockman’s discussion of the issue with Microsoft employees. But, Stockman denied the characterization to Motherboard.
“I think developers can be activists if they so choose, and I support tools and licenses designed to make this easier,” said Stockman. He also added that because he is willing to revoke the relicensing doesn’t mean that he is an ICE supporter, and described ICE as “monstrous” and “must be abolished”.
Public opinion about Lerna’s current decision is varied:
I think the main lesson from the Lerna situation is: you gotta be REAL POLITE when objecting to fascism. Any sign of rudeness will be used against you, by fascists and by your well-meaning allies.
Fight for your rights like it's a round of croquet before lunch.
— bletchley punk (@alicegoldfuss) August 30, 2018
Reading about lerna’s anti-ICE re-license, I’m genuinely gobsmacked to see people argue that it’s bad to “inject politics” into open source.
Because, like, if you think that open source as a movement isn’t political, I have some rather interesting news for you.
— Sasha Aickin (@xander76) August 29, 2018
I'm sympathetic to the goal of abolishing ICE, but from a pure execution perspective, this lerna license change is really a hot mess. Engineers need to *actually talk to a copyright lawyer* if they want to pull this sort of thing off.
— ＠c̲hris̲epps̲tein (@chriseppstein) August 29, 2018
— Ben Wiley (@benwiley4000) August 30, 2018
He's already removed from Lerna project and that disruptive change has been reverted.
Glad that happened, because Jamie has shown that he's lacking any moral principles which kinda should be involved in this.
— Denis Chikanov (@siziyman) August 30, 2018
“Open source, even in a project where there is only one active contributor, is never just about one individual. Even acquiescence from multiple core contributors is not sufficient to justify a change like this,” says Stockman.
For more coverage on the news, check out the post by Motherboard.