TRIGGER ALERT – the contents of this post could trigger unpleasant emotions for those sensitive to descriptions of violent acts.
This is a statement from the owner and editor-in-chief of this blog, Beth Lynn Eicher.
Since mikeeusa was removed from Sourceforge a few questions. In the interest of time, I answer it here, once and for all.
My volunteer work benefits the free and open source communities out my appreciation for GNU/Linux operating system. I bring together diverse individuals which has yielded exponential good for the community. My beliefs, personality conflicts, and politics have been overlooked at in the interest of an open atmosphere. I truly want open source to be open to all.
Since 1992, I have been online therefore know the difference between an ignorable ignorant troll and a poisonous person. mikeeusa is effectively a thief of precious contribution time and overall good name of the community at large. My social capital was invested wisely in this conflict. I do not pedantically bike-shed, as I am usually the one that says enough already. Flame wars make all believers of free and open software look like interested in ideological debate more than producing and supporting high quality non-proprietary software.
My agenda is gaining significant open source market share. As part of that effort, I am a director of the Ohio LinuxFest. Immediately after the Ohio LinuxFest this year, I found out that one our speakers, Mackenzie Morgan, had been trolled. She got his attention when she exercised her American first amendment rights on internet sites she uses to participate within the open source community. Some women speakers have canceled appearances at conferences because mikeeusa had issued death threats. She said nothing to me at the event yet I felt responsible for her safety. Her bravery is of highest stature since she participated and spoke without saying a single word about it. While this is down right heroic, she looks to me for leadership.
Threatening female speakers is a pattern of violence from mikeeusa for the past 5 years. Over time, mikeeusa has become increasingly angry as several communities have told him that his content is not welcome.
Jealous of accomplished women programmers and contributors, he sought to bring his own open source contributions and imply them to be of higher merit while issuing his threats. Within this scope, he uses his own code as a weapon in which to infect a community with his own violent agendas and invoke fear. No longer is the code a string of characters charged with non-politically correct agendas. Instead the code is terrorware.
Terrorware is software that is designed to threaten physical harm or create fear to *real* people with hate themes embedded either in the executable product, documentation, the source code, comments, or other pre-compilation components. This behavior is a type of cyber terrorism, in that he seeks to use this code as a way to disrupt computing communities ability to contribute.
While mikeeusa is proud of his code product, he does not see fit to release it under his own legal name. Instead, he has built a negative reputation of offering code into communities (see references below) who do not desire it under a pseudonym. Perhaps the real life person who shares mind-space with mikeeusa knows that the code together with the threats may be incriminating?
In the information age, when something horribly violent occurs, law enforcement and mainstream media look to that person’s online activities to build the case of motive. This has led to increasing knee-jerk reactions which increase the censorship of the medium of choice of the criminal. In 1999, every geek and nerd kid with a digital diary of any sort after the Columbine shootings was treated like the next potential threat. Over the past ten years, sensationalism has evolved to pointing the finger at the content host for “not seeing the signs” of the author’s trouble. Because some murdering John allegedly went online to find prostitutes, craigslist has been forced to ban all erotic ads. Ignoring warning signs of planned illegal activities in the spirit of “weirdos will be weirdos” is no longer an option.
I am not comfortable to look the other way when people in the community I love could be hurt. A consequence of such a tragedy would be another one: government-imposed censorship of code on sourceforge.net. I would rather keep vigilant watch for dangerous behavior as a neighborhood watch than risk of losing freedoms such as anonymous contributions. This world needs adults and I am one of them. Seeing the warning signs, speaking up, and working within the system helps us all keep the freedoms we hold dear.
Sourceforge.com is a private company with legal staff and a corporate image to uphold. Out of good will, they host the open source projects as they see fit. Anyone has the freedom to redistribute or not redistribute for any reason at any time. A company, organization, or any other entity that wishes to redistribute the code is free to do so. There’s a whole web of possible torrent peers. Distributions are free to include mikeeusa’s packages, however, they are unlikely to do so since mikeeusa has declared the role of package maintainer as worthless. All I can do is politely, like I am right now, is to just ask.
Do not redistribute or accept mikeeusa’s code. Please.
Some former users of mikeeusa’s content have contacted me privately. They find the content disgusting, dangerous, and possibly illegal. If this is you, I am sorry. The views expressed are not representative of the free and open source community. If you are very concerned about ensuring the removal of the code from your personal system, I have advice:
- backup your data
- download Darik’s Boot and Nuke DBAN.
- burn the .iso on a cd
- boot with DBAN
- install your favorite open source distribution
- restore your data.
When I asked sourceforge.net to look into the mikeeusa account, I did not expect all of the copies of the removed projects to be gone. mikeeusa says he has lost about 3 years work which is a consequence that I did not anticipate. Aren’t there users who enjoy this content? I assumed wrongly that mikeeusa himself or one of his fans had a copy somewhere. Come on folks, it’s 2009 with the price per megabyte going for fractional pennies.
Nonetheless, if content I was hosting on a provider that I was not paying for suddenly disappeared, I would be disappointed. While I have no intentions of requesting removal of mikeeusa’s blog at pressword.com, I will point out that he should do backups frequently. As far as the lost code goes, I asked professional programmers as what to do to about the lost intellectual property in which mikeeusa holds dear. I would not mind if sourceforge.net provided some facility for mikeeusa to develop and host elsewhere. It is the mikeeusa’s opportunity to issue such a request and it is sourceforge.net’s prerogative to oblige.
It is impossible for me personally to send all of the code back to mikeeusa. I did not expect to have any need for the code after conducting the audit, therefore I no longer have all of the source. However, I have found a friend who has agreed to re-release as much of the removed code as possible.
A public code repository (http://code.geekfeminism.org) will be made available under these terms of service:
- IP addresses will be logged.
- We reserve the right to serve any code or no code for any amount of time we see fit.
- These terms of service are subject to change without notice.
References: communities that do not want mikeeusa, all of these links could be triggers…
Men’s activist blog where Robin Steele was threatened
Men are better than women
Countless feminist blogs
ITWire (apparently mikeeUSA’s comments are illegal in Australia)
Pressword, a wordpress-style host “suspended” his blog
Vegas Strike project of sourceforge.net according to ‘www2’ commenter
Men’s Rights Online