An anonymous reader quotes The Register:
Late last month, open-source contributor Raymond Nicholson proposed a change to the manual for glibc, the GNU implementation of the C programming language’s standard library, to remove “the abortion joke,” which accompanied the explanation of libc’s abort() function… The joke, which has been around since the 1990s and is referred to as a censorship joke by those supporting its inclusion, reads as follows:
25.7.4 Aborting a Program… Future Change Warning: Proposed Federal censorship regulations may prohibit us from giving you information about the possibility of calling this function. We would be required to say that this is not an acceptable way of terminating a program.
On April 30, the proposed change was made, removing the passage from the documentation. That didn’t sit well with a number of people involved in the glibc project, including the joke’s author, none other than Free Software Foundation president and firebrand Richard Stallman, who argued that the removal of the joke qualified as censorship… Carlos O’Donnell, a senior software engineer at Red Hat, recommended avoiding jokes altogether, a position supported by many of those weighing in on the issue. Among those voicing opinions, a majority appears to favor removal.
But in a post to the project mailing list, Stallman wrote “Please do not remove it. GNU is not a purely technical project, so the fact that this is not strictly and grimly technical is not a reason to remove this.” He added later that “I exercise my authority over glibc very rarely — and when I have done so, I have talked with the official maintainers. So rarely that some of you thought that you are entirely autonomous. But that is not the case. On this particular question, I made a decision long ago and stated it where all of you could see it.”
The Register reports that “On Monday, the joke was restored by project contributor Alexandre Oliva, having taken Stallman’s demand as approval to do so.”
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