11 January 2014, 01:03

For quite some time, a particular person is having a problem with the logo of the Hiawatha webserver, and the one of the Cherokee webserver. Both have a happy little Indian kid for a logo, but for some reason this person sees it as an insult to the Indian people. I've always withhold myself from interfering with this nonsense discussion, but for once I had to respond. Hope this humbug ends soon.

11 January 2014, 02:23
Good written response.

I wonder why isn't marked offensive because there are plenty references to American Natives as well. The world is weird.

Personally I'd recommend to not invest more time and effort into this nonsense; that's just what the whiners want.

Just happily continue with the development with Hiawatha.

P.S: Is it allowed to use Hiawatha's Logo in to footer of webpages as reference? I find a text-only reference 'too tiny' ;-)
Hugo Leisink
11 January 2014, 02:31
Of course, but perhaps you want to use these.
Chris Wadge
11 January 2014, 04:59
Hiawatha was a legendary figure of the Iroquois, sort of like George Washington and Jesus rolled into one. According to legend, he unified the warring tribes essentially by showing them their petty squabbles sounded like little children. Instead of fighting each-other, they should grow up and work together. Knowing that, the name Hiawatha is part what drew me to the project in the first place. The rest has more to do with the tech behind it, obviously.

That said, there are always going to be people that are hyper-sensitive about random issues. My grandmother grew up on a Cherokee reservation. I can't imagine she would have been *ever* offended by the Hiawatha logo, the Cherokee logo, etc. None of the tribal folks I've ever known have been what you'd call politically correct.
Pascal Ernster
11 January 2014, 12:06
Hugo: Full ack. If people are offended by the logo, they should just fork Hiawatha and ship it with a logo they like, or they should build their own package without the "official" logo or with their own one.

In the end, this is just a dispute about the default configuration of hiawatha. For example, I don't like hiawatha leaking its name and its version with every HTTP response (or with every error page or directory listing), so I just fix that in my package by modifying hiawatha.conf and index.xslt. If somebody is offended by the logo or the name Hiawatha, she/he should just run sed of the source directory prior to compiling. That's the beauty of free software, that you are free to change whatever you don't like, without having to bitch around and piss off people who have a different opinion on the matter.
Leif Westerlind
27 January 2014, 05:41
Hmm I wrote a long response here, but it was seen as spam and rejected.
Hugo Leisink
27 January 2014, 12:01
I'm sorry to hear that. Please, send your comment to me by e-mail.

The Hiawatha website is targeted by many spammers. My filter stops several thousand spam messages per month. Once or twice per year, I receive an e-mail from somebody who wanted to post a valid message, but was blocked by the filter. I think this is a very good false-positive score.
27 January 2014, 19:32
1) Thanks for sharing the cool web server software.

2) Generally in favor of not changing anything because one person claims to be offended.

3) Open to the idea of changing something if given solid reasoning, evidence that it is harmful.

4) Request should come from the affected people, or sanctioned representatives, not from random people speaking on their behalf based on flimsy assumptions about how 3rd party feels, and taking it upon themselves to speak with authority.

5) Affected people should be given their own voice, and show some proof like unbiased poll questions, proving they are offended and that it is harmful.

6) Certain procedure should be developed which delineates clear objective criteria about what is offensive, including requirements like the request must come from affected party, with evidence in the form of unbiased polls of their own population.

7) Currently, that Fedora project policy forbids offensive material, but does not define what is to be considered offensive, nor place any constraints, nor require any procedure for systematic, unbiased, objective way to arrive at determination if material is offensive or otherwise harmful.

8) Studies may be cited, but should be open to debate about how the studies are conducted. All too often, people desire justification for a predetermined outcome, and conduct a very biased study in order to manufacture their own evidence. Studies, to me, are therefore almost entirely worthless.

9) Same problem with poll makers. They can word questions with such heavy bias, that regardless of answer, the response can be used to justify the same end result of fabricating evidence in support of something opposite to what the poll taker feels.

10) I'd give a brief history of the First Nation people here. Calling them Indians is offensive, as they are not in India, or from India. Some ignorant European explorers, looking to make money trading, hit this continent and assumed it was India. They did not have Google Maps or Wikipedia back then to get better information. But even when they discovered their mistake, they refused to change. American Indians is doubly offensive, as they are not allowed to be American (US) citizens if they choose to maintain their tribal identity and live on a reservation. Native Americans was also an unacceptable term, as they are not Americans, and Native (by itself or with Americans) can imply primitive at worst, or in general, is just plain ambiguous. I learned about the term First Nations from the website of these people, who had created a music CD of their own tribal music that I enjoyed listening to. Why the people claiming that the logo is offensive, refer to them in such offensive terms, I find puzzling and revealing, perhaps they are less interested in whether these people are harmed or offended, and more interested in forcing others to do something against their will. Years of nothing less than brutal genocide, worse than Hitler, and far more successful, were committed against First Nations during and after Colonial times. These included murder, torture, sexual assault, rape, degradation, public humiliation, disfigurement and dismemberment, biological warfare (during cold winter months, after some big battles, First Nations were going west to escape the conflict, some Americans claimed to want to help, so they knowingly and willfully provided blankets contaminated Smallpox virus, to which the First Nations were known to be vulnerable/nearly 100% fatal, in the hopes to infect not only the non-combatant women and children going west, but all the able-bodied male warriors they would meet along the way). After they were nearly wiped from existence and the wars ended, they were rounded up and forced to stay on the lowest quality lands, after the Europeans took the better lands for agriculture and livestock and natural resources and cities. Like very large concentration camps. For over a hundred years, if they left the reservations, they were subjected to murder without investigations, extreme harassment and abuse, and so on.

11) There is an American expression, "Gone off the reservation", often used in Hollywood FBI (Federal law enforcement), CIA (spy) and Military themed movies, indicating that an agent, operative or soldier has refused direct orders, violated established procedures, acted in an unacceptable manner, and should expect no protection from their organization or any other, only severe punishment, to be treated like a criminal. That comes from this older time which was far worse than your Apartheid in South Africa. And it continues today in a less extreme form. They are not citizens, have much fewer rights, like right to vote in state or federal elections or the right to have representation in federal or state governments. Most of my ancestry is northern European, from UK and France to Eastern Europe, Germany/Poland north towards Sweden. However, although I have no evidence, as records were destroyed long before I was born, there is an oral history that we had at least one First Nation ancestor on my mother's side of the family. My father's side didn't arrive here in the states from Sweden and Poland, until long after all of this happened. Regardless of my family history, that none of these atrocities were committed by anyone I knew in my lifetime, nor anyone that those people (i.e. grandparents) knew in their lifetime (their grandparents), I still keep in mind the events that happened, and how it was specifically not taught to us in schools.

12) If some complaint is officially made by authorized representatives, showing that an overwhelming preponderance of evidence can be presented in the forms of (but not limited to) unbiased studies including scientifically taken polls, personal testimony of the supposedly injured party, academic analysis, including both personal psychology and group sociology dynamics, demonstrate that they meet a clearly defined metric of harm (attempting to hide or falsely portray First Nation history with intent to do harm), that such a logo, along with all others in society, foster an intolerant environment of ignorance, which specifically prevents a large group of people from contributing or even feeling comfortable, then I would with great respect to the people, be willing and eager to make a change. Not because of some other white person who spends their life trying to find things to be offended by, and derives meaning for life by forcing people to bend their will over trivialities. One logo by itself may be harmless, but if together with others, we are creating an environment that offends people to the point that it severely affects their education or career choices, by denying them their history, by dismissing their concerns, by being unfriendly and insensitive to them, to the point of being hostile towards them, then and only then would a change be rightfully justified.

13) Personally, I feel a logo can be interpreted in many different ways, depending primarily on the goal you set in your own mind before you are even aware of the existence of any specific logo. In some cases, such as Swastika and the American South's Confederate Flag, these symbols were used to depict support for racism, and should generally be discouraged except for use in proper historical contexts. I am fully aware of how badly First Nations were treated. This logo did not erase or diminish that from my mind, or cause any sort of offense. It was a bit odd, goofy, it stuck in my mind, and helped me remember the name of the software project and to find my way back to the site when I forgot the URL. To me, that is the sole purpose and intention of any logo in general. My own interpretation was that this goofy logo was some happy kid, as he existed long before Europeans ever stepped foot on this continent and screwed up the world with their incessant greed and lust for power and domination of people, animal, and natural resources. However, I am sensitive to the wrongs of the past, and understand that some may have a tendency to fear that those wrongs are forgotten, or made pretend like they never existed. I do not know if, as a European, you were fully aware of the history, like most American students are not taught about the story of the Kinderdijk and the Deltawerken, nor how only 3 old buildings remained in downtown Rotterdam after WW2, everything else was rebuilt, which is why it all looks new, and specifically innovative architects were chosen to create visually diverse and appealing buildings. (I was a tourist in your country and visited these on a tour boat and also the Nederlands Architecture Institute, stayed at hostel across the street on Rochussenstraat, R'dam. So I do not get the sense that you intentionally want to cause any harm, which is one of the requirements to consider in determining whether something offensive is actually harmful. However, perhaps to reduce the assumptions made by others, and alleviate their fears, maybe acknowledge on site or in documentation, an awareness of the history, links to sites they can read more, the original intent to just show a happy child (maybe framed in the context, before any Europeans arrived and caused any problems for his people) to help people remember the site and the project.

14) To counter the complainers, I would question their motivations and their methods. First, their methods: the people who complain, do so on behalf of someone else, without personally consulting the 3rd party and without receiving permission or support to speak on their behalf. To me, I find this to be the most egregious and flagrant forms of offensive behavior. In a single move, they steal the voice from the supposedly offended (harmed) people, they steal their choice by not even allowing them to make up their own mind on the issue, and they also steal any power they have in determining what needs to be changed and why. Second, their motivations: These people are so busy looking for things to be offended by, they try to force their will upon others, to compensate for their own inferiority complex. They do not contribute software of their own, they do nothing productive, and this feeds their inferiority. Their entire goal is to demoralize and destabilize people who have by merit of their own initiative, produced things of value for others. That they would choose to target people who volunteered the efforts of all that hard work to deliver free software to all, I find extremely offensive.

15) If you wonder, why are there are no First Nations chiming in on this issue? Consider that they are often either on a reservation with a very highly profitable casino or other forms of tourism, or the majority are on very poor reservations in the middle of nowhere. As such, the wealthy ones feel no need to complain about anything, because they get all they want in life. Likewise, the poor ones have no voice, because they are stuck in a cycle of poverty, without access to higher education like programming or information technology, and may not even have internet access or computers available to them. The complainers conveniently ignore any of this, and strive to do absolutely nothing in life to address in real and practical terms the needs of these people who are supposedly offended and harmed by things such as logos. Which further solidifies in my mind the impression that they are neither technically competent to contribute code of any value, nor interested in volunteering their time and energy to teach college level classes to First Nations for free. They are solely interested in winning battles of will power, by political and legal means, by coercion and subversion, to manufacture evidence, manufacture desired public outrage with inflammatory commentary in highly visible public media campaigns, conduct research and interviews with heavy bias, threaten people with law suits and otherwise abuse and pervert the criminal justice system, and manufacture consent by establishing an educational criteria to be met in public schools, reinforcing with presence in children's TV shows, teen movies, and young adult college education, and growing an army of supporters over a decades long war of attrition. These sort of people have no interest in helping individuals in need, only helping themselves gain power and influence.

16) Or, maybe I am entirely wrong, maybe there are plenty of First Nations in the computer industry, and they just don't even care about silly logo issues. U don't know either way, because I have not heard from them. A blanket dismissal on your part (or others in similar situation) to refuse to acknowledge their concerns might be smothering the voice of First Nation people and as such could be harmful, but definitely empowers and enrages these random complainers. An openness to actually hear how it makes these First Nation people feel, and a willingness to even consider a change of logo, or I think more appropriate and valuable, an addition of a brief mention of their history as a sign of respect and good will, to raise awareness, I think would go a long way into taking the power away from complainers. Then we could determine if this actually IS a problem, and if it is, a practical solution like interpreting this as an opportunity to raise social awareness of history and current challenges faced by a people as a result. If the complainers are so concerned with the welfare of people, maybe they should go volunteer time to speak with them, gather authorized support to voice the concerns of the people in a public forum, and make efforts to build a bridge of technological education by founding an organization that offers classes for free or very low cost, and raises funds for equipment, all for the benefit of First Nations.

17) I know you didn't sign up to be some spokesman for the history of a people, may not have the training as such, and may not have the personal resources (historical context, psychological, cognitive, emotional sensitivity, ethnic, economic value system) to process such concerns as valid in your mind. But, I have to believe, you have a good mind and heart, and capable of learning enough to handle this in an innovative and beneficial manner. I personally see it as an opportunity to raise awareness about history, not only of the wrongs done against First Nations, but the valued contributions and leadership of people such as the name you use, Hiawatha, just to make clear, you are aware of the history, and to communicate the intent of the logo, to welcome any First Nation contributors or users to the software community you founded. All of this could probably be achieved with much fewer words than I have written in this email. Such a history blurb (on web site and in documentation) makes absolutely clear there's no ill intention, also pays respect to the people and their history, and most importantly, takes away any fuel from these complainers.

18) Maybe I am optimistic and naive to think that so much good can be achieved so simply. But the main goals are to stop complainers, and give honest and open acknowledgement, and respect and to welcome a group of people. If it would be of any help, I'd be willing to work on some research and wording, with goal of producing a few short paragraphs on the subject, (maybe full page), with references to studies, historical articles, books (I'd visit my local library too. First, mention why name was chosen. Have to mention that the first free software web server was known to have a lot of patches floating around and was referred to as Apache because it was "A Patchy" web server. Cherokee and Hiawatha just naturally picked names to identify with a popular web server, to help new users quickly identify the purpose of the software. Second, address concerns some people had over logo being offensive, explain intent (incorporate many design choices such as small and efficient code base, modular design, security, portability?), and how bringing these design objectives together makes for a stronger and more secure web server platform (like Hiawatha unifying many disparate tribes and burying hatchets as a sign of peace, another modern day American expression, "to bury the hatchet", means an act of forgiveness). Third, acknowledge there were indeed many atrocities committed against First Nations. Fourth, acknowledge that both before and during these times, First Nations had produced some prominent leaders, mention history of Hiawatha and his achievements. Fifth, welcome people of any origin to use the software, contribute to discussions or develop code. Sixth, cite some sources for history (good and bad events), current problems these people face, current projects aimed at addressing those problems, books (or other offline resources), as well as online resources.

19) Generally, I agree with you, in this case, the logo is benign (at worst slightly goofy, but hardly a crime, and serves its purpose well enough), and the situation of being offended by it originates with an active decision to be offended by it, not by an active effort to discourage a or harm a group of people.
Mark Zyborman
24 March 2014, 02:36
Hugo Leisink,

You seem like a good man to me Hugo.. you have done some beautiful work. Thank you for your contributions, and.. long live the Pirate Party!!!


Mark Zyborman
Hans-Georg Bork
9 April 2014, 00:56
All this about a simple logo ...

Why am I, a native German, am not feeling offended by an image showing me (if I remember correctly) while playing to be an indian in my childhood? Couldn't it be just a kid elsewhere in the world playing to be an Indian?

That way every kid should be offended with that, but I don't think you'll ever find a kid who would not be happy to be that Indian (except those who are always the cowboys).

Note to Hugo: Dank je wel voor de webserver, de passende naam en het logo daarvoor. Ik hoop dat wij nog lang ervan kunnen genieten.

12 April 2014, 22:33
This is just silly, "someone think of the kids" culture from Silicon Valley types with way too much time on their hands. Notice that Mairin Duffy in that Bugzilla thread is also an outspoken feminist (another form of petty activism that involves saving "victims" on their behalf by nothing more than incessant whining)
5 May 2014, 13:59
I am from the eastern half of the globe. Was searching for a light-weight web server. I didn't know. I thought Hiawatha was a Japanese name. Got curious, google'd and found about the legendary leader with that name as well as the disney character. The leader is respectable and the boy in the icon looks smart and lovable to me. In perspective of the subject, I would percieve the name and logo as a tribute to them.. Intentionally or otherwise, i would say that you are politically correct, Hugo.
Máirín Duffy
31 August 2014, 03:34
I'm not from Silicon Valley, I'm in Boston. I'm also not an outspoken feminist; I just say something when stupid things happen. I also criticize extremist feminists all the freaking time.

Making ad hominem attacks against the folks criticizing you is sort of orthogonal to the point anyway.