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LWN: Alan Cox Resigns from ALS Committee, "Maddog" Hall Disagrees

Jul 20, 2001, 20:39 (100 Talkback[s])

Alan Cox writes:

"I hereby tender my resignation to the Usenix ALS committee.

With the arrest of Dimitry Sklyarov it has become apparent that it is not safe for non US software engineers to visit the United States. While he was undoubtedly chosen for political reasons as a Russian is a good example for the US public the risk extends arbitarily further.

Usenix by its choice of a US location is encouraging other programmers, many from eastern european states hated by the US government to take the same risks. That is something I cannot morally be part of. Who will be the next conference speaker slammed into a US jail for years for committing no crime? Are usenix prepared to take the chance it will be their speakers?"

Jon "Maddog" Hall responds:
"...Your decision to boycott the ALS event is certainly yours to make, and I deeply regret the situation that caused you to make it.

However, to chose ALS as the focus of your first message on this I feel is a little unfair, particularly with the recent steps that USENIX has taken to working with the EFF to defend the rights of University professors to publish their research works around DCMA. These professors were threatened with suit by various large companies, and through the efforts of EFF and USENIX, these companies are now backing down from their suits.

...As I said, your right to leave the ALS program committee, or even to urge others to boycott US events is yours to make, and I support your right to make it. Your points about other developers (foreign or otherwise) who have violated US laws in their coding is probably more than valid.

I do, however, ask that you direct your venom to those who deserve it."

[ We have excerpted the quotes and you should click on the links immediately after each author's name to read the full story. -ed. ]

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