Playboy, Pornography, and Eclipse

Playboy, Pornography, and Eclipse

Summary: After using free bandwidth donated by Playboy Enterprises for 5 months, the Eclipse Foundation bows to concerns from the community and removes Playboy from the list of mirrors. Although Playboy hosts many other open source projects such as Apache, apparently they were a little too controversial for the conservative Foundation.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Back in October 2005, Playboy Enterprises requested permission to host a mirror for Eclipse. At that time, Webmaster Denis Roy wrote:

"The Playboy 'tech nerds', as they call themselves, love Open Source. They're in the process of becoming an Eclipse Mirror Site. I got the request from Playboy Entreprises last week, and they got the OK to rsync with us today."

Apparently Playboy host mirrors for many other Open Source projects such as Apache, Fedora, and FreeBSD. So permission was granted and playboy.com started showing up on on the Eclipse mirror list. According to mirror records, some 32,775 downloads were made from the Playboy servers.

However, a few vocal users objected. One wrote that his corporate firewall blocked the domain, so downloads from there would always fail. Another worried about getting in trouble at work:

"Playboy is usually among web addresses whose access can get an employee fired in many organizations. And since your mirrors may get decided automatically, a person may attempt to download software from your organization and inadvertently end up in playboy."

The Apache Foundation went through a similar discussion last year but decided to leave the mirrors intact. Denis objected to removing the mirrors, writing this in his blog:

"I think it's ridiculous. Why not remove the word 'blow' from the dictionary, because we all know that blow is an offensive word, right? I'm not allowed to blow on my soup, because blowing is wrong."

After some open discussion, however, the mirror was removed from the list. The final straw was probably this post from another Eclipse user:

"My best friend from college got sucked into Internet porn. That was five years ago. This winter he was just released from jail--he had gotten so addicted that he became a pedophile. He has become someone very different from the person I knew in college.

While obviously not everyone who gets involved in porn winds up a pedophile, I am very concerned about the social implications of an organization like Eclipse becoming associated with Internet pornography."

This argument touched me personally as well because something very similar happened to a friend of mine.

Playboy was notified of the decision but declined to comment. While their site still shows Eclipse 3.2M5a, their IP address has been removed from the access list so they will be unable to keep their mirror up to date in the future. So I guess you can't tell your boss that you "only visit playboy.com for the Eclipse downloads" anymore.

What do you think, was this a reasonable decision, or another example of political correctness run amok?

Topic: Browser

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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22 comments
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  • Playboy should serve eclipse...

    I do understand that lots of corporate firewall are blocking the
    playboy site, but... you are not forced to choose that mirror, so
    if you are on your work, just pick another one.

    I think playboy should be able to host eclipse software and
    everyone that wants to make use of their servers, why not. If you
    don't want because you can get into trouble, well... don't use it!
    leeprovoost
  • Truely sad

    I'm not sure which is more disturbing - that people actually are upset by this or that their mirroring system can't handle an unavailable host.

    While I feel bad for the guy who's friend blames porn for being a pedophile that seems a thin reason to deny a helping hand from a group. Perhaps if anyone has an overweight friend we should scratch McDonalds. But that's a whole different kettle of fish.

    Time to go dig up the burka for the missus so nobody else is corrupted...
    DSeabury
  • Idiots ...

    Blaming pedophilia on internet porn is stupid in too many ways to count. Come on, at what point does internet porn of 18+y/o subjects make an otherwise normal person want to see a naked little kid?

    I can understand the problems this might cause in a corporate environment, but if Playboy is already mirroring Apache, etc, and there has been no problems yet, why change things?

    The puritanical anti-porn FUDmeisters strike again.
    NotBornYesterday
    • NO Kidding...

      [b]Blaming pedophilia on internet porn is stupid in too many ways to count. Come on, at what point does internet porn of 18+y/o subjects make an otherwise normal person want to see a naked little kid? [/b]

      Maybe at the point where you've seen TONS of (ahem) silicon sisters (literally) and grew bored with the mounds of altered flesh.

      Tho in all honesty, if modern science is to be believed, just viewing porn doesn't make you a pedophile. People have to be "wired" that way - through abuse when they were kids or brain disease or what not.

      Just watch enough episodes of Law and Order: SVU and you'll become quite educated as to what's supposed to be the state of the art.
      Wolfie2K3
    • something different

      It's like this: I love Virgil's Root Beer. It's the nectar of the gods. But if I oversaturate my life with it, it will become boring to me. I'll want something different.

      But with sex, it's a little different because there is a natural hunger for it. And when you're bored of the same-old thing, and it's no longer feeding your hunger, you will find something new to make you feel like you once did.

      Maybe if you knew a little bit about addictions before you made ridiculous statements you wouldn't look like a complete idiot.
      glocks out
      • Playboy, Pornography and Eclipse

        [i]But with sex, it's a little different because there is a natural hunger for it. And when you're bored of the same-old thing, and it's no longer feeding your hunger, you will find something new to make you feel like you once did.[/i]

        Imagine that, a psychology researcher hanging around on a zdnet site. Figure the odds.

        Or maybe you just think you know what you are talking about.
        jon@...
    • Won't somebody PLEASE think of the CHILDREN!?!?!1!

      Oi.

      BTW, in case anyone is interested, there's an interesting article, "Pedophile loses urge after [brain] tumor removed"
      http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=4022
      shoktai@...
  • guilty by association...

    Too many people think that an innocent association with something like porn is not going to hurt anyone.

    But as a parent and one of a very tech savy 16 yr old son the less he is exposed to pornography the better and to simply have him click on a link for a download and be sent to a site such as playboy is more then he needs to consider at this time.

    I am not ignorant enough to think that those kind of thoughts don?t cross his mind now, but I am going to do the best I can to help protect him and his mind. Too many horror stories are out there of the damage that an addiction to porn can do not only to a person?s own life, but of those that surround that life as well. And for a company to take a stand and say you know what, it isn?t worth the damage to even one person to have an association with a company such as that. There are far too many sites out there that can and are willing to provide the same services that are far less damaging to a life then that one.

    I say kudos to eclipse for taking a stand and making not only a moral decision but one that is Godly as well.
    thedeuces@...
  • Are you serious?

    I read this article and laughed at the last quote from the Eclipse forum... not so much because someone posted it, but more because a hired ZDNet columnist said that, not that he agreed with it, don't get me wrong, but that it held great weight in the forum discussion. I thought, "Surely, our humble columnist must be mistaken." So I checked out the forum.

    Surely, it was the following idea that made the wise Eclipse community remove the mirror from their site: "+1 to drop it. Why not? Is the bandwidth really needed (enough to justify
    even this discussion)? plby seems so pr0n (even more tacky)."

    Why that one? Because that one makes logical sense. Sure, people go around making such claims about pornography all the time, but intelligent people surely cannot believe that a healthy young man 18-21 years old suddenly discovered porn in college and decided to rape young children.
    Can depression push someone to rape children, maybe; childhood abuse history, maybe; genetics, maybe; insanity, maybe; a combination of the previous things, maybe; but pornography, NO! Side effects of pornography: possible kinkiness in bed, role-playing, etc. haha.

    Please...
    ShauNotDeaD
    • Yes

      I said "the final straw was probably..." which means that's just a guess. But you'll note it was the last comment before the decision to pull the mirror, which was announced 4 hours later.
      Ed Burnette
  • porn addction?

    I find it laughable that people say that pornography is this big huge monster. People treat it as a big huge drug. Really, what makes porn adictive? Seeing naked people. You get that in real life, why say that pornographic websites are the cause of the addiction? Is it the sexual interaction? You can, again, get that in real life. Is it better online? No. Is watching it better than doing it? No. EVERY single person has a choice, whether it's to go out and forceably have sex with someone, or to go and politely wine and dine someone and then ask for sex. Porn sites don't in any way whatsoever FORCE some one to go out and rape people. And website servers don't in anyway FORCE you to use Playboy's site. Look at the size of playboys server, if they want to help people get good, solid open source programs, why should people stop them. If people have their panties in that much of a bunch, Eclipse should go and put a warning up that Playboy is an OPTIONAL server that you can download their product off of.
    And I LOVE that quote from the middle of the article.
    "I think it's ridiculous. Why not remove the word 'blow' from the dictionary, because we all know that blow is an offensive word, right? I'm not allowed to blow on my soup, because blowing is wrong"
    just because Blow is a bad word, does that mean we should ban everyone from using it? The sad thing is, you can use sooo many words in the same area.
    Lubrication.
    I need to use lubrication to help my car's engine run better. But what about lubrication in sex? should lube, lubricate, lubrication be removed from the dictionary?
    Bang; Be careful around the coffee table, or you may bang your knee. BUT, bang can be used as a way of saying to have sex with, jimmy banged julie good. (yeah I know horrible english...)
    If we're going to condemm someone by association, how come people haven't been writing to the dictionary companies to have words like this removed from the dictionary that most people are forced to read from time to time to find the meaning of a word...

    Just my tuppence
    Canadian falcon
    • Re: porn addiction

      Porn might seem innocent to you but in my opinion it weakens the social inhibitions that society impresses on its citizens. Like the ground under a levy, once that foundation is compromised then the whole thing can go at any time, especially if any of the other parts are weak.
      Ed Burnette
      • weakens the inhibitions

        That's a nice opinion, but why should anyone care about your (or my) opinion? Unless you are a researcher in this area your opinion isn't worth a dime. If you are a researcher in this area, then what are the [b]facts[/b]?

        Ok, so maybe this is the correct forum for a [b]factual[/b] discussion about pornography. Where exactly do you want to draw the line? Who is on the proscribed list?
        jon@...
    • your argument sucks

      You can use your argument for alcohol, tabacco, [i]et al[/i]. None of those force you to do anything, and plenty of people use them without abusing them and becoming addicted to them. But try telling an addict it's not addicting... honestly, tell them. I dare you. I double dog, triple dare you.
      glocks out
      • Words of the Dictionary

        Only problem with that is that blow as in 'I blow on my soup to cool it' was a "clean" definition before someone came along and "dirtied" it up by changing the definition.

        Same thing with the internet and porn. The internet was put in use for the sharing of ideas and information, that is until someone started posting porn. As some have said or suggested that porn is not a problem, but yet you find almost like around 80%-95% of virus on porn sites. Stuff that can do a great deal of damage to a "good" thing such as the internet.

        At no time has there ever been a good reason for porn. Nor will there ever be, there are too many side effects that are distructive to a family, friends, or even oneself that will ever be worth looking at porn. Problem is as with any addiction that by the time the person realizes that they do have an addiction, they can't fully go back. You will never ever ever be free from it. Ask em' they will tell you, there is always a constant reminder of it in something. It is a prison that you can never leave. Overcome it? Yes. Survive it? Yes. Be free from it? No.

        Addiction is a battle that one has to fight day in and day out and to think one can say at some point that they are free from it. That is just plain silly. Because they know one slip and they could spiral out of control all the way to the bottom and they know what the bottom looks like. Most of you don't. We don't want to go back. Trust us.
        thedeuces@...
        • virus

          [i]As some have said or suggested that porn is not a problem, but yet you find almost like around 80%-95% of virus on porn sites.[/i]

          I'm reminded of a tag line: "87.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot"

          [i]At no time has there ever been a good reason for porn.[/i]

          If you don't like it, then don't use it. I fail to see why your opinion should be binding on everyone else.
          jon@...
  • Both

    Both unfortunately
    jmills@...
  • Damaging to the community?

    Police statistics reveal that incidences of rape, sexual assault and other violent sex related crimes are higher in a 3 mile radius around sexually oriented businesses (i.e. strip clubs, adult video arcades, adult bookstores etc). That is a statistical fact. With the advent of internet porn that statistical anomaly is norming into suburban neighborhoods. The argument that correllation is not causation is a moot point to the victim of rape or sexual assault. Why do advertisers spend millions of ad dollars for 30 seconds during the Super Bowl, if images have no effect on the psyche? Think about it.
    kent@...
    • Which is the cause and which is the effect?

      [i]Police statistics reveal that incidences of rape, sexual assault and other violent sex related crimes are higher in a 3 mile radius around sexually oriented businesses (i.e. strip clubs, adult video arcades, adult bookstores etc).[/i]

      It's a long jump from this "fact" to "porn causes rape, etc.".

      If internet port causes rape, then why is the incidence of rape decreasing?
      jon@...
  • Porn and Levies

    Dear Ed,
    Blaming porn for causing pedophilia is a little like blaming video games for violence in children: it's popular and easy to do, but the actual link between the two is nonexistant.

    The fact that you said
    "Porn might seem innocent to you but in my opinion it weakens the social inhibitions that society impresses on its citizens"
    signals that the angle that you're approaching this from might be a little too moralistic or even christian for you to have a nuanced view of the matter. Being a European, it doesn't surprise me at all that you, as an American, ascribe to porn this magical ability to bring down the whole structure of society.

    As for the whole question of hosting Eclipse at Playboy, think about this: Alcohol and tobacco are, I think we can all agree, two products which claim many more lives each year than porn. Yet if Philip Morris or Budweiser wanted to host Eclipse, do you really think we would be having the same discussion as we are now? If your answer is no, then we're dealing with a pretty hypocritical double standard, and, in my view, reason and morality say that Playboy should be able to host Eclipse.
    thunderdome1