Mozilla::FOIA : DoA Site Reports::Source Comments

So we recently agreed on some sort of FOIA here in Ireland. Actually, the referendum for the required constitutional changes was a joke; the turnout was low and the spoiled vote percentage the highest ever at about 10%. This reflected, quote, people's confusion over what they were voting on, unquote. There was also some hubbub about this FOIA reducing the freedom of possible future FOIAs. In Ireland, pulling the wool over folks' eyes in a political matter like this is commonly referred to as "a stroke" and is generally a fairly respected practice as long as you're not caught.

My dad works for the government. The Department of Agriculture & Food, specifically. He's an agricultural officer, which basically means he drives something like 60,000 miles a year, visiting farms and checking permits and ear tags and such like. Occasionally he gets to hang around a cattle boat checking similar stuff at odd hours of the morning in a town (actually a city by its charter) about an hour's drive away from his home.

So he's talking to me on the phone and mentions the FOIA and how it affects him.

He and his colleagues write up the farm visits; if the farmer being visited is, shall we say, under-cooperative, the writeup reflects this, often colourfully. Sure, it's not Joyce or Behan, but heck, it might have a good run at John B. Keane. However, now that the FOIA is in place, they have to be very careful what they write as a farmer may request the writeup under the FOIA.

So I explained Netscape's Mozilla project to him, and why they had to clean all the fun comments from the source code.

We get on well, my dad and I.

(Even if I have to explain "source code" in non-computer terms.)