[permaculture] Re: Holmgren Collected Writings (Thilo Pfennig)

Toby Hemenway hemenway at jeffnet.org
Thu Mar 28 11:05:09 EST 2002

I do want to acknowledge Thilo's contributions to websites, newsgroups, and
getting out the Pc word in general, for which I'm grateful, and I understand
that he has no intent to harm or defraud anyone; I hope my remarks haven't
sounded too personal, as it's more an issue I have with a part of the
computer community. I think the heart of my unhappiness lies with

> I put this thing online to show everybody in the list, that this is
> possible.

There's a view that is held by some in the computer world that any system
that is not secure should be breached, and that this is somehow doing the
owner--or somebody--a favor. But we long ago outlawed this view in the
physical world, for by it we should all be picking the locks on houses and
cars just to show that it can be done, and claiming we're helping. Or more
destructively, we'd be smashing windows, slashing tires, poisoning food and
water supplies, and blowing up buildings to show the weak points in all
these unsecure systems. Instead, somewhere around the Magna Carta or earlier
we decided that living in barred-window fortresses is barbaric, and that we
would prefer instead to trust in the good-heartedness and civility of
others. As a civil society we agree not to smash windows and pick locks, and
we have created laws to stop those who disagree. This means we can now live
in a world deficient in totally secure systems, but a more open and
enjoyable one.

I hope that the inhabitants of cyberspace mature to the point where someone
like David Holmgren can post his writings, signal his wishes with the
equivalent of a flimsy padlock, and not see the lock cut off just because
it's possible. The alternative is to live in darkened cells where all our
glass windows have been replaced by armor plate.


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