Ethics provide guidelines for personal and professional conduct.

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99
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8answers
10k 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 ...
88
votes
14answers
10k views

Is it illegal 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 ...
83
votes
29answers
19k views

Can my company give IP rights away for an application I wrote off hours to another startup? [closed]

I am an intern for a health company (unpaid), let's call it Company A and I noticed that they are using a lot of paper form for things that can be done on the computer. Excel files for things that ...
67
votes
16answers
4k views

What is the/Is there a right way to tell management that our code sucks?

Our code is bad. It might not have always been considered bad, but it is bad and is only going downhill. I started fresh out of college less than a year ago, and many of the things in our code puzzle ...
60
votes
11answers
2k views

How can I find own replacement when the company wants someone far less experienced?

I told the company I work for that I want to phase myself out, but that I would stick around for a couple months before applying anywhere to help in the recruitment of my replacement. I offered this ...
54
votes
15answers
3k views

Is it common to lie in job ads regarding the technologies in use? [closed]

Wanted: Experienced Delphi programmer to maintain ginormous legacy application and assist in migration to C# Later on, as the new hire settles into his role... "Oh, that C# migration? Yeah, we'd ...
38
votes
13answers
3k views

Should I include a selfdestruct-method to my applications?

I recently had a negative experience, where client bailed from the bill, but my middle-man already uploaded our software and design to the clients server. Client turned out be a known criminal, and of ...
35
votes
12answers
3k views

Usage of Pirated software at a company

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 ...
34
votes
14answers
4k 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 ...
31
votes
14answers
2k views

Is it ethical to teach teens about software viruses?

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 ...
29
votes
8answers
900 views

Should software patents be legal? [closed]

A really big issue that a lot of people have problems with is software patents. According to Wikipedia, some of the big issues with software patents include: Where the boundary between patentable ...
28
votes
7answers
2k 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++ ...
28
votes
1answer
925 views

If the spec is flawed, should it still be followed?

I have been assigned to develop an integration to one of my employer's applications to an external system developed by our client. Our client's specification for the integration that has some blatant ...
25
votes
11answers
2k views

How to bill a client for frequently-interrupted time [closed]

I find that when I'm working on hourly-billable projects (in particular, those that are research/design/architecture-oriented as opposed to straight coding) that I'm easily distracted by any number of ...
24
votes
9answers
2k views

Should I tell the interviewer I already know the answer to the question being asked?

In a programming interview if I am asked a question I already know the answer for, such as giving an algorithm for a particular problem. Should I disclose that to the interviewer? This issue only ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

What can I do to prevent taking on an unethical development project?

Back in my self-employment days, I've once taken on a small and rather well-paid project: "A newsletter system", the spec stated. Everything was fine, invoices were paid with each milestone reached, ...
20
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

Can I legally and ethically take an open-source project with community contributions to closed-source?

Let's say I start and develop some project under open-source license, and accept some community contributions. How shaky is the ground I stand on if I decide to take the project commercial and ...
19
votes
8answers
570 views

Fixing a bug that has never caused a problem until now

I recently made a change that caused some code to be run far more often than it used to. This lead to the discovery of a bug. This bug had the potential to happen any time that code was run but ...
18
votes
11answers
2k views

Company wants thoughts about their site during interview

I have an initial phone interview coming up with a company for a Senior Web Developer position and in the email they asked to prepare by signing up on their site because they'd like to hear my ...
17
votes
11answers
2k views

If your workmate is quitting his job, would you notify your boss? [closed]

If a colleague on your team is planning to quit his job and this may cause bad feelings in your company, would you notify your boss?
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it okay to rollback code if your client refuses to pay you? [closed]

A friend of mine did some contracting work to add localization support to an existing mobile app. He was not contracted to add any other features or fix any already existing bugs. He has finished his ...
17
votes
4answers
628 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. ...
17
votes
6answers
873 views

How can I remove my fear of doing freelancing work?

I usually work in a web design company, but my manager also has his own company. He is a designer basically and he catches the projects with clients and then I do his work during weekends or whenever ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Is Page Scraping and Data Mining Moral / Legal? [duplicate]

I have a potential offer to do some work that mines data from several websites. As I've never done this before I was wondering if this is moral and / or legal? It seems a bit of a gray area to me. ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Would adding award points or game features to workplace software be viewed poorly amongst the programming community?

So one of my responsibilities at work is to build an internal tool that helps the workers enter in all their information. It's an enterprise application that is similar to a Windows forms database ...
16
votes
15answers
955 views

Is outsourcing (offshoring) disloyal? [closed]

I ask this from everyone's perspective. If you are in America and you outsource to offshore programmers, are you disloyal to your countrymen? If you are in India and you outsource to offshore ...
16
votes
7answers
881 views

Attributes of an Ethical Programmer?

Software that we write has ramifications in the real world. If not, it wouldn't be very useful. Thus, it has the potential to sweep across the world faster than a deadly manmade virus or to affect ...
15
votes
11answers
967 views

From Slashdot: Does being a loyal developer pay? [closed]

I saw this question posted on Slashdot and thought it would make a great question here on Programmers.SE. It's not my question, nor my situation. Here goes: "As a senior developer for a small ...
15
votes
14answers
4k views

Should I ask/tell my boss before freelancing? [closed]

I am currently working as an intern at a consulting firm. I am soon to move to a full time employee once I graduate next semester, and I love working there. However, as a student, I lack money and I ...
15
votes
2answers
353 views

I found free software project whose executables are spreading a virus. What is the correct couse of action?

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 ...
14
votes
9answers
1k views

Displaying the number of registered users to a website

I am building an online game much like Mafia Wars. I was thinking of displaying the number of registered users on the home page, but then I thought: "What if a new user sees that the total number ...
14
votes
6answers
945 views

How to assure users that website and passwords are secure

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 ...
14
votes
5answers
396 views

Is anyone teaching the application of ethics to programming?

Ethical questions come up more and more in the news, and can be core to a software developers' life. On several occasions this year I was asked for advice that amounts to answering ethical questions, ...
13
votes
11answers
1k views

How loyal should I be to my present employer? [closed]

I come from a "3rd world country", moved a year ago to a "first world country", got a job doing customer support (networking/ management company) and web dev for my current employer. I started to ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

How to recover after embarrassing yourself and your company? [closed]

I work in an outsourcing company in Russia, and one of our clients is a financial company located in USA. For the last six months I have been working on several projects for this particular company, ...
13
votes
7answers
569 views

I sold my source code to a client, can I now re-build similar code and sell to someone else?

So we built a website and software for a client, charged our fee and handed over the code. The client then got a request from another company about the software. The client passed on the request but ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to upload offensive content to GitHub?

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 ...
12
votes
8answers
939 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
577 views

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

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
495 views

What to do when you find a security hole in your company's site

I have found a major security hole in one of my company's public facing site. This is our first public facing site that was converted from an intranet site. I brought this issue up to my boss and they ...
11
votes
5answers
783 views

Would copyrights drop if I re-write open source project into another language?

I have re-written an open source project from java to haxe, then from haxe compiled to javascript, with totally different UI So, the question is, is the code considered to be mine after rewriting it ...
11
votes
3answers
395 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

Legality/Ethics of crawling a site to basically copy its database? [closed]

A potential freelance client wants a copy of all the phone numbers in an entire country of several million people in CSV format for their telemarketing system. They have sent me a link to an online ...
10
votes
6answers
560 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

How do you deal with stealing? [closed]

I have been recently hacking on a project I started a couple of months ago. It was a simple idea. Allowing people to collect achievements for code they shared on Github. So I started this noble ...
9
votes
7answers
556 views

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

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 ...
9
votes
5answers
478 views

I just received a complaint from a user of the website I maintain. Should I do anything?

I was sent sent a large wall of text from a user of the website I maintain at my job. They are clearly upset for having to deal with a horribly outdated web application that has not seen any serious ...
9
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...