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Ethics

Big word with a huge meaning wouldn`t you say? I would! We live in a world so driven by technology and ideas that sometimes people have the same one. OK, never 100% the same but sometimes very close.

Sometimes in a community of users who have the ability to develop plugins or addins for a tool or application you get the occasional overwrap of an idea. This is OK in itself but what happens when a new person comes to the group and puts out one of these plugins that is so obviously a copy of another without giving due credit?

In this case, in my opinion you have 2 choices. First you can whine and complain about it and refuse to play anymore or two you can just go on to improving the original or try and join efforts with the new person.

I mean in most cases these days it`s not exactly like you are getting money for these things it`s just a matter of pride, you know the simply shout out that says hey `I did that!`

For example I recently came across this PHP program, excellent program but from my point of view it needed a few little tweaks here and there something to make it stand out just a bit more. I took a look at the code and realized it was a lot simpler than I had first thought and so I proceeded to make my little tweaks. Well needless to say I started to take a lot of pride in what I had done and I found my self facing a choice.

I can continue on with what I am doing and `remove` what I don`t like, slap a new name on it, ZIP, upload it, call it my own and hope the original author doesn`t catch on and come after me.

I could also contact the author and ask him or her to make the changes for me, and then wait for the new version.

Or I could contact the author with my updates and propose a new slightly modified version, release or update.

The right thing was obvious to me and therefore I did it. I contacted the author of geoBlog, emailed him with my changes and modifications. To my delight I got a very quick response from him and he was very agreeable and therefore I am now online with my modified version of geoBlog and I await to see the new modified version put out for others to download. We have since then started a joint project together for the next generation of the blog tool, BitDamged the 100% Customizable Blogger

So this is yet another positive example of how the online community can work together and honestly share ideas and thoughts. If you are one of those programmers or developers who simply find something and modified as much as you can so you can call it your own then you should be ashamed. You never know when you are going to need help with something from exactly one of those people you just ripped off.

And you definetly don`t know when it`s going to happen to you…

Please folks we all live on this planet and open source programming and developing should be treated with respect and courteousy. Didn`t your mother ever teach you to share?

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Some of you may be wondering why I choose to share these thoughts here on SDN, well the reason was simple. We all here help each other out and you see quite often the names of each of us in weblogs, articles and posts. I think that SDN is one of those few places were each and every developer here holds to their morals and ethics in this regard.

I for one just want to applaud that!

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3 Comments

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  1. Community User
    Hi Craig,

    let me tell you my story 🙂

    When I first came in contact with SAP I always had the problem that there were nearly no useful online ressources available. So when you where in trouble you had two chances 1) Contact a consultant 2) Try to find an evil workaround. I always had the impression that everyone tried to hide their information because SAP Infos == Big money especially when you are working with really new technology. That’s the reason why I was so surprised when I first visit the SDN. And to be honest I am still surprised how people like Thomas Jung are willing to share such great ideas and sources. Thanks 🙂

    Thomas

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    1. Craig Cmehil
      I’ve also been surprised at the openess here and the willingness to share, I think that SDN embodies the future of what Online Communities should and will become.
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      1. Mark Finnern
        Goosebumps on Monday morning. Thanks for the flowers. Makes the long hours all worth it.

        Happy Valentines to all of you SDNers.
        Let’s work on keeping SDN this great community.

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