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Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately

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Sometime on Tuesday night, my time, mouser had a telephone conversation with his server administrator regarding the availability of Circle Dock's executable files hosted by DonationCoder and he instructed his administrator to remove those files. At the same time, he amened my pinned message informing people of the latest version and providing the download links to read "All downloads suspended until further notice". However, his server administrator obviously couldn't be bothered to check which of the various files stored on the dcmembers site were publicly available or were related to the current release of Circle Dock and which files were not. He simply scrubbed my entire space clean, removing ALL files in the process.

Not only did he remove the current (1.5.6) 32-bit and 64-bit executables, he also removed the only backup copy of the source code, some private files pertinent only to "Team Circle Dock", but also two programs that I had recently written and made freely available - "CleanDesktop" and "WallpaperChanger". He also deleted the "live help" section which contains the very latest help and is automatically loaded by a constituent of Circle Dock. These, like almost all the files deleted, were my original work and my sole copyright.

Needless to say I was only informed AFTER THE EVENT. It is fortunate that both gentlemen concerned are not UK-based for if they were, I would be filing a complaint with the Police under the Computer Misuse Act, 1998.

To add insult to injury, he concludes his message to me with the following words "it's not such a horrible thing if the downloads are down for a week."

There is no excuse for way mouser or his server administrator have behaved. Had they requested me to remove those files, I would have done so immediately. Instead they have acted in a rude and overbearing manner and, I believe, it was a thinly veiled attempt to get me to continue hemorrhaging financially by simply making all future versions open source - but so long as they're not hosted by DonationCoder (they wanted the downloads off their servers, remember) - in his words "if you do decide to release the source code for all of your additions and modifications to circle dock, it would be a joyous cause for celebration and would be a happy outcome for dc users." Yes, at my expense.

I've resigned as a moderator of this site as I wish to have no further part in an operation that encourages you one minute and then pulls the rug from beneath you. I can not and will not remain a member of a site such as this which arbitrarily and without warning deletes many months of work. I've also asked/told mouser to return all $192.79 which has been donated to me since September of last year to those who so kindly donated. If you are one of those, please don't think I'm ungrateful but I don't think it is at all appropriate for me to receive those credits under the circumstances. And please, do make sure he returns the money to you - as far as I am concerned neither he nor this site should benefit from unrepaid donations.

There are some good people on this site and many of them have made themselves known in this corner of DonationCoder only quite recently and I wish to thank all of you for your input into recent threads regarding the GPL and the future of the Circle Dock program. Thank you one and all and goodbye.



Stoic Joker:
Wow-Eóin (August 11, 2010, 11:10 AM)
--- End quote ---
Yeah - Damn - Did not see that one coming.

Not only did he remove the current (1.5.6) 32-bit and 64-bit executables, he also removed the only backup copy of the source code, some private files pertinent only to "Team Circle Dock", but also two programs that I had recently written and made freely available - "CleanDesktop" and "WallpaperChanger". He also deleted the "live help" section which contains the very latest help and is automatically loaded by a constituent of Circle Dock. These, like almost all the files deleted, were my original work and my sole copyright.
--- End quote ---

if this happened it was not on purpose -- and there should be backups of all the files which will be made available to you if they weren't just moved someplace.

the intention was not to hurt anyone.. when i talked to john (aka gothic, the dc server admin) he was extremely troubled that we had been hosting this circledock executable that had been in violation of the gpl for such a long time.  the point he made to me, which is what ultimately convinced me that i should give him the go ahead to remove that one exectuable from downloading, was simply that: eric wong went to the trouble of releasing his program as GPL, and that if dc was to be true to eric's wishes and doesn't want to be seen as hostile to open source movement, we shouldn't be hosting the executable that wasn't released with source code.

i told him to remove the exe and contacted markham and sgtevmckay immediately to let them know that the exe was now offline.

i feel horrible that this circle dock thing has become such a giant ordeal for everyone involved.  i don't assign any bad motivations to anyone.

and i blame myself for not spotting early on when markham just started submitting improved versions of CD that to comply with eric's CircleDock GPL license, the source code for the new versions should have been posted all along the way.  by the time the issue came to a head, i think markham had done so much coding and invested so much time and made so many plans that it was just out of control.

i don't know what else to do though -- circle dock is not the property of DC in any way -- and we've not charged for it, sold it, asked anyone to pay for any hosting costs, or put any ads on the circle dock pages that are hosted on dc.  it was released as open source by eric wong as part of a dc contest, and then hosted on sourceforge and wikidot as well as other pages.  dc has tried to be a good friend to everyone involved in the program.

furthermore -- dc has always tried to be supportive of the idea of authors making some money off their work, and i've tried hard to help sgtevmckay and markham find a way to recoup some money for all of the time and effort they have put into improving circle dock -- and the userbase clearly shows how much they have improved the program, and made it into something that is much loved.  but the bottom line has to be that eric wong released his code as GPL because he wanted it to be that way, and we are just trying to comply with that when we made the decision that the binary shouldn't be hosted on dc without the commensurate source code, as required by the GPL.  none of their other files should have been touched -- like i said if they were, gothi[c] will pt them back.  i don't hold any ill feelings for anyone.  there are some hard lessons here and i'm not sure yet what they all are.

markham, i am sorry you feel wronged.  my only intention in this matter is to provide a home for the programmers and users here. and i believe in my heart i have tried hard to help you and sgtevmckay.  my only desire was to help you guys succeed in your efforts to build a better program, and to remain true to eric's original intentions.  i have always viewed CircleDock as a living example of the fun things that was nurtured and encouraged by the dc community.  i felt like it was a great example of the things that our members create.  and i feel terrible that it has now ended up causing you so much pain.  if i can do something to help make things better i will try.

just to reiterate a few quick points:

your files hosted on the dc member server belong to you.  the only file that should have been deleted was the exe, and that was "deleted" only so that we would stop serving the download that everyone seems to agree is in violation of the GPL license eric chose.  if other files were deleted they shouldn't be and gothic will restore them.

i never intended to "add insult to injury" -- my note to you guys immediately sent as gothic was removing the files was intended to keep you from feeling like you had to panic and rush to make a decision about whether you wanted to open source the source code to comply with the license; i think i elaborated on that, and you are welcome to post the text of any and all messages i sent you guys.  the first time the dc website went down temporarily i went through a near heart-attack panic attack from it -- since then i have learned to not stress so much about it, and i tend to remind everyone who hasn't been through such things that it's not the end of the world to have files offline temporarily -- the world doesn't come to an end.  maybe it just didn't come across right.. because look i realize this does not help things, but honestly i think this whole circle dock episode has been blown up way beyond the circumstances and that you guys may be working yourselves up to make this a bigger deal than it has to be.  i keep saying that you guys should step back a bit and just try to get some perspective on all of this and figure out how you want to move forward.  dc has always, and will continue to be here to support you guys in what you decide to do -- just don't ask us to host files that violate the legal terms of the GPL that eric licensed his code under.

i don't impart any ill will towards markham and sgtevmckay -- i think most of this is just a frustration and unfamiliarity with open source and the moral/ethical/legal entailments.  part of the painfulness of this episode has to do with the fact that DC believes very much that authors should be able to ask for and get money to support their coding efforts.  the tragedy here is that we failed so far to figure out a way for that to happen and instead ended up with hurt feelings and people feeling we have treated them wrongly.  For that failure i take my share of the blame.  :(


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