3 min read

SQLite adopted Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines as its new Code of Conduct on Saturday. After being nagged by clients and businesses to implement a code of conduct, SQLite founder, D. Richard Hipp, had come out with a code of conduct based on “instruments of good works” from chapter 4 of The Rule of St. Benedict, last Monday. But, it faced major criticism as the majority of developers, across the world, did not approve of it. SQLite then adopted the Mozilla guidelines.

“The original document we put here was more of a Code of Ethics of the Project Founder. While we stand by those principles, they are not in line with the modern technical meaning of a Code of Conduct and have hence been renamed”, reads the SQLite Code of conduct page.

SQLite is one of the most used database engines across the world. It is a self-contained, high-reliability, embedded, full-featured, and a public-domain, SQL database engine.

Earlier Hipp stated that the former CoC “was created (in a slightly different format) for the purpose of filling in a box on “supplier registration” forms submitted to the SQLite developers by various minor clients. But it is not a Code of Conduct in the same sense that many communities mean a Code of Conduct. Rather, the foundational ethical principles upon which SQLite is based…a succinct description of the SQLite Founder’s idea of what it means to be virtuous”.

The former code of conduct comprised an overview, instruments of Good works, the scope of application, and “The Rule”. It has received a lot of criticism from developers. In fact, many of them were confused about whether the new CoC is a sarcastic reply to the clients asking SQLite to set up CoC, or if SQLite is serious about it.

Here’s the former Code of conduct by SQLite.

When asked by users if the CoC was legit, D. Richard Hipp, replied on the SQLite forum with, “Yes. Clients were encouraging me to have a code of conduct. (Having a CoC seems to be a trendy thing nowadays.)  So I looked around and came up with what you found, submitted the idea to the whole staff, and everybody approved”.

Public reaction regarding the former CoC varied. Some believed that the CoC was impractical and excludes people based on religion, while others loved it.

The CoC also comprised of 72 rules such as  “Do not murder”, “Do not commit adultery”, “Do not steal”, “Do not covet”,”Do not bear false witness”, “Chastise the body”, “Do not become attached to pleasures”, “Love fasting”, “Clothe the naked”, and so forth.

“No one is required to follow The Rule, to know The Rule, or even to think that The Rule is a good idea… anyone who follows The Rule will live a happier and more productive life, but individuals are free to dispute or ignore that advice if they wish”, reads the former CoC.

SQLite’s new code of conduct based on Mozilla’s community participation guideline preaches rules such as being respectful, being direct but professional, being inclusive, understanding different perspectives, appreciating differences, leading by example, and so forth. This change, however, is not the result of public criticism received as the SQLite team states, “While we are not doing so in reaction to any current or ongoing issues, we believe that this will be a helpful part of maintaining the long-term sustainability of the project”.

Here’s what people feel about SQLite’s decision to adopt Mozilla’s community participation guidelines. Some approve of it while others liked the former CoC better.

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