Questions tagged [ethics]

Ethics provide guidelines for personal and professional conduct.

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126
votes
7answers
14k views

How to avoid being forked into oblivion by a more powerful contributor?

As recently reported here: Xamarin has forked Cocos2D-XNA, a 2D/3D game development framework, creating a cross-platform library that can be included in PCL projects. However the founder of ...
19
votes
6answers
6k views

How could we rewrite the 'No Evil' license to make it 'free'?

I did not find the lawyers' SE site, so I thought it best to post here. /* * ...subject to the following conditions: * * The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in ...
1
vote
2answers
693 views

Directly copying third-party API

I'm currently planning on implementing API for HgLab and the obvious role model for me here is GitHub. My API obviously won't be an exact copy due to inherent differences between Mercurial and Git ...
24
votes
2answers
14k views

Confusion about dual license (MIT/GPL) javascript for use on my website

I've read all of the posts I can find on this and I'm still not sure of the answer. I'd like to use a jQuery plugin on my website that is dual licensed under MIT and GPL. Does the dual license mean ...
1
vote
0answers
85 views

Can one copy their own code from a different company? [duplicate]

Lets say someone has written code for multiple companies that have then copyrighted you work. Another company gives them a similar project to one they have worked on previously. Would it be legal for ...
19
votes
3answers
585 views

What is correct course of action when finding free software projects whose executables are spreading a virus

Today I found a GPLed project on SourceForge whose executables are spreading a virus. This fact has been pointed out several times in reviews of the project and the infected executable is still ...
18
votes
5answers
39k views

How do I safely write code in my own 'words' and not plagiarize?

I understand plagiarism and paraphrasing fairly well when it comes to writing a research paper, but those equivalent areas in programming seem foreign to me. I've looked up the topics online, and ...
44
votes
8answers
6k views

Software License which discriminates on 'ethical' grounds

I've spent some time reading the common copyleft and permissive software licenses. Is there a license which allows the creator of an application or algorithm to broadly specify who may use/distribute ...
4
votes
4answers
573 views

Is it ethical for an android application to check if its rival application is also installed by the user?

I was just going through a food delivery application's preferences file where I found that it had a boolean to check if the user has one of its rival's app installed or not. Is it ethical to do so on ...
2
votes
1answer
170 views

Is using Microsoft Hooks an ethical process for getting non sensitive Information

So we have an application that I am not ready to describe in full before we take it to the market, but I will give the details necessary. We currently have an application that takes a snapshot of an ...
13
votes
8answers
1k views

Should you promise to deliver a feature that you aren't sure if its implementable?

In an article from HN, I came across the following advice: Always tell your customer/user "yes", even if you're not sure. 90% of the time, you'll find a way to do it. 10% of the time, you'll go ...
7
votes
2answers
291 views

Do you apply a code of conduct on accepting jobs, projects or requirements?

When writing software for yourself, your company or third parties, do you always consider certain principles, values, standards, or rules of behavior that guide the decisions, procedures and systems ...
3
votes
9answers
416 views

Is it better to blindly match the project requirements or to match the spirit of the project requirements

You know what they're asking for. You know what they really want. However, technically the way they wrote it is with a litmus test of requirements that don't match what they want because they don't ...
33
votes
12answers
6k views

Usage of Pirated software at a company [closed]

I started to work at a company as an engineer a couple of months ago. It's a small company and what they basically do is answering service on phones. Now they are switching from normal phones to IP ...
-2
votes
1answer
105 views

Can I copy a project from CodePlex to GitHub [closed]

Edit : moved the question to Open Source SE : https://opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/5669/can-i-copy-a-project-from-codeplex-to-github Asking about personal ethics from a personal perspective,...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it acceptable to decompile someone else's code for the purpose of learning what they did, and how they did it? [closed]

I am not talking about stealing code, or reusing someone's for profit. But I am assuming that if a program or plugin is distributed in a format where I can't readily view the source, that is a ...
3
votes
1answer
210 views

Zero Day Exploit Ethics/Etiquette [duplicate]

What are my responsibilities, as a developer, if I stumble upon a zero day exploit in a widely used third party piece of software? Should the developer only tell the third party to limit the affect? ...
6
votes
3answers
765 views

Is it ethical to adopt other programmer's algorithms?

Imagine I find a completely new algorithm to compute the square root of a binary number (simplification of real scenario) on an internet forum that was an original creation. Is it ethical for me to ...
0
votes
1answer
184 views

Is it unethical to figure out how much to charge by asking for a quote from another company? [closed]

I've been asked to write a mobile app for a business I have connections with, and I've been trying to decide what I should charge. One thing I came up with was to research what other companies would ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Do people who get paid to write code but score low on the “programmer competency matrix” have an ethical duty to find a different kind of job? [closed]

People advise me to "find a job doing something that you are good at", but the truth is that I don't believe I am good with anything other than just writing code. I don't think that I can design or ...
7
votes
4answers
610 views

Is there a difference between “self-plagiarizing” in programming vs doing so as a writer? [closed]

I read this Gawker article about how a writer reused some of his older material for new assignments for different magazines. Is there any similar ethical (societal?) dilemma when doing the same ...
22
votes
19answers
31k views

Use of pirated/cracked software for development [closed]

Disclaimer: I by no means condone the use of pirated software. Have you ever witnessed the use of pirated software for development purposes? May be a company didn't have enough money to buy a piece ...
0
votes
2answers
180 views

Tips for working with badly designed software [closed]

Currently in my job im working with a lot of older php systems which don't follow normalised design patterns and are frankly, a mess. As an ethical developer and someone who always strives to better ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

Is it safe to use old code in a new project? [duplicate]

Here is the situation: While working by company A on project A you developed a very fast and perfect search algorithm. Then you switched to company B to work on project B which is totally different ...
13
votes
3answers
587 views

How to deal with non-licensed software

I work for a very large fortune 500 company who is subcontracted to another fortune 500 company on a DoD contract. As you can guess the red tape is tremendous to do anything. We have simply shared a ...
31
votes
14answers
2k views

Is it ethical to teach teens about software viruses? [closed]

I volunteered to instruct an after school computer club at my son's middle school. There has been a lot of interest in computer viruses. I was thinking about showing them how to create a simple batch ...
7
votes
10answers
870 views

Can I market an application I wrote at work?

I work at a bank and I developed an in-house web application that helps keep track of past due loans and all the interaction between the bank and the customers. I was recently told by an outside ...
15
votes
6answers
723 views

Discovered large security hole in someone elses website… What to do? [duplicate]

A chap I'm bidding to do some development for has a social network he wrote himself. Not the next facebook by any stretch. But a few thousand local users. I went to have a look at it to see what ...
19
votes
4answers
814 views

Would it be ethical to create an open source alternative to the software you've been hired to create?

Say you were hired to create education software that will be sold to students of a particular academic institution. You are the only developer working on this project and have written all of the code. ...
14
votes
12answers
14k views

Why do we keep using CSV? [closed]

Why do we keep using CSV? I recently made a shift to working the health domain and despite the wonderful work in data transfer standards, all data transfer is in CSV, both for reporting to external ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Ethicality of online license checks [closed]

Our program has a piracy problem, some people buy a personal license and install it on all the computers in a company. We want to check that only a single instance of a serial id is used at the same ...
129
votes
14answers
22k views

Is it possible to rewrite every line of an open source project in a slightly different way, and use it in a closed source project?

There is some code which is GPL or LGPL that I am considering using for an iPhone project. If I took that code (JavaScript) and rewrote it in a different language for use on the iPhone would that be ...
11
votes
8answers
790 views

Is it ethical for a programmer to promote his/her own library? [closed]

Fairly recently I started maintaining my own open source JavaScript library. I created it to solve a pretty specific need but fairly regularly see questions that can be solved (in whole/part) by using ...
2
votes
1answer
168 views

Is it fair to patent workarounds? [closed]

While developing a FAT32 driver for my bootloader, I thought to make it complete by adding the long file name support. While watching around for some specification, and I also found articles about ...
3
votes
3answers
635 views

What is ethical/unethical while seeking help on the web with programming assignments?

I have used the web and Stack Overflow extensively during the past month or so in creating my final project for my C# class. I have used so much code that I didn't write myself that I feel I am being ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

Deleting Content from Service [closed]

I'm not quite sure what the real practice is in the programming community. But when a user deletes content from your service (ie. deleting a status update, a photo of theirs, a comment they made). ...
-1
votes
1answer
151 views

Is it acceptable within the community of developers to copy open-source software and branch it? [duplicate]

Is it generally, to a reasonable developer, considered morally acceptable, to take a branch of an open-source repository, and start making changes to it and calling your own? You would be taking this ...
-1
votes
2answers
115 views

Is it normal to look back on codes when coding? [duplicate]

the title says it all. I'm still a university student studying IT. Whenever I'm doing coding, I will frequently look back on codes that I've done before or looking for codes online or on reference ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it a good idea to collect anonymous usage statistics in a free program? [closed]

I'm the main author of a multiplatform free software/open source GUI program. Although the program gets thousands of direct downloads per month, I have no idea of the number of people regularly using ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it ethical or even legal to track user data/metrics using IP [closed]

This one is a bit tough. It is publicly available information, is it not? But it's can also be used maliciously. So is it legal/ethical to store and/or gather information on users based on IP? It's ...
9
votes
6answers
621 views

Turning in code you developed in your company as homework assignments [closed]

I'm currently running a start-up with a buddy and I noticed that some of my university assignments could be finished by simply copying some code from some of the programs we've developed. Are there ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it ethical to use personal code at work?

I am working on a side project at work where I find it beneficial to use some of my code that I have developed personally (outside of work) to speed my development. My side project is developing a C++ ...
8
votes
1answer
792 views

Signing redistributed files

In order to submit a desktop application for the Windows 8 app store, you need to digitally sign any driver or .exe associated with the application. However, the application I was trying to submit ...
3
votes
2answers
163 views

Are there Any Concerns with Importing Document Files From a Competing Product?

I have a new product that serves the same purpose as my competitor's long-standing product. One thing I have considered doing is allowing my program to import document files created by their product ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to upload offensive content to GitHub? [closed]

I developed an offensive content checker for my website and want to publish it on GitHub. However, the source code contains many offensive, racist and otherwise nasty content. The source is fully ...
-1
votes
1answer
57 views

adding data gathering to a utility app and publish it to partners? [closed]

I've been working on a utility app for a while, and when we're in the final phases the boss is asking for adding user behavior and location tracking and was explicit about publishing them to 3rd party ...
37
votes
14answers
6k views

What to do if you find a vulnerability in a competitor's site?

While working on a project for my company, I needed to build functionality that allows users to import/export data to/from our competitor's site. While doing this, I discovered a very serious security ...
5
votes
0answers
110 views

What To Do If I've Found a Vulnerability In a Possible Future Employers Site? [duplicate]

I've been self employed for a long time now and have recently decided that PHP development within a company is the route I'd like to go down. I had an initial interview/meeting yesterday with a ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

How to assure users that website and passwords are secure [closed]

On reliable websites I always see claims such as "All data is encrypted" or "All passwords are encrypted using 128bit encryption" and etc. However I have never come across a claim such as "All ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Information protection when registering on web sites

Up until now it seems that when you register on a random web site you do so with blind trust. You assume that the site isn't harvesting information and passwords. You assume the site is reasonably ...