Earlier this year, in a move so barbaric the public had to first wonder if they were reading an article in The Onion, a software developer and researcher announced that no one could use his software if they lived in a country that supported immigration, especially of refugees. The open-source Treefinder software, which aids in specific kinds of research data analysis, was to no longer be used by any researchers in eight European countries, including the UK and the developer’s own country, Germany.
The announcement left many readers scratching their heads at the Nazi-esque mandate, but the developer, Gangolf Jobb, was serious. According to the announcement he posted on his website:
“Starting from 1st October 2015, I do no longer permit the usage of my TREEFINDER software in the following EU countries: Germany, Austria, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark – the countries that together host most of the non-european immigrants. For all other countries, the old license agreement remains valid. USA has already been excluded from using Treefinder in February 2015. This is all in accordance with the license agreement stated in the TREEFINDER manual since the earliest versions, which reserves me the right to change the license agreement at any time. I can do this because Treefinder is my own property.
“The reason: I am no longer willing to support with my work the political system in Europe and Germany, of which the science system is part. There is no genuine democracy, and I disagree with almost all of the policies. In particular, I disagree with immigration policy. Immigration to my country harms me, it harms my family, it harms my people. Whoever invites or welcomes immigrants to Europe and Germany is my enemy. Immigration is the huge corporations’ interest, not peoples’ interest. I am not against helping refugees, but they would have to be kept strictly separated from us Europeans, for some limited time only until they return home, and not being integrated here as cheap workers and additional consumers. Immigration unnecessarily defers the collapse of capitalism, its final crisis. The earlier the system crashes, the more damage can be avoided. Possibly a civil war in Europe. Not to mention the loss of our European genetic and cultural heritage.”
Yes, if you wish to develop the phylogenetic tree from your molecular sequences, you’re going to do it without Jobb’s help. His European “heritage” is at stake.
Now, the first of (hopefully) many actions has been taken. BMC Evolutionary Biology has pulled a 2004 paper authored by Jobb and two fellow researchers on the software due to the journal’s policy on software availability. Since the developer does not see fit to let others use the software anymore, the publication doesn’t see the need to basically advertise it for him since it violates their policies on availability. The other two authors of the 2004 paper had no part in the decision to change its license and therefore support its removal from the journal.