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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday January 07 2021, @01:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the shooting-yourself-in-the-foot dept.

Open-source contributors say they'll pull out of Qt as LTS release goes commercial-only:

The Qt Company has followed up on its plan to make long-term support releases commercial-only by closing the source for 5.15 today, earning protests from open-source contributors who say that the 6.0 release, which remains open, is not yet usable.

[...] Yesterday senior VP Tuukka Turunen posted: "With Qt 6.0.0 released and the first patch release (Qt 6.0.1) coming soon, it is time to enter the commercial-only LTS phase for Qt 5.15 LTS. All the existing 5.15 branches remain publicly visible, but they are closed for new commits (and cherry-picks)... closing happens tomorrow, 5th January 2021.

"After this the cherry-picks go to another repository that will be available only for the commercial license holders... first commercial-only Qt 5.15.3 LTS patch release is planned to be released in February."

[...] The problem is that these releases are in effect no longer maintained. If there is a security issue, or a fix needed to support some change in one of the target operating systems, open-source users will not get that fix other than in the not-ready version 6.0.

Open-source contributor Thiago Macieira, an Intel software architect, said of the decision: "That means I will not be participating in the development of those fixes, commenting on what's appropriate or not, reviewing backports, or bug reports."

"Tend to agree," said Konstantin Ritt, another developer. "If there is a decision to close 5.15 sources, there'll be no more work from external/unpaid contributors."

Turunen responded that: "This is well understandable and expected. The Qt Company is prepared to handle the Qt 5.15 LTS phase work."


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  • (Score: 1, Troll) by barbara hudson on Thursday January 07 2021, @02:48AM (23 children)

    by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Thursday January 07 2021, @02:48AM (#1096140) Journal
    A's of tomorrow, the 5x series is closed source. You better have a copy of the source tree from before that date.

    Oracle tried the same bs with Java. Fortunately some of us have a license for really old versions from Sun with unlimited redistribution rights. And honestly for stand-alone programs, 1.5 has everything you need.

    --
    SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by https on Thursday January 07 2021, @05:41AM (3 children)

    by https (5248) on Thursday January 07 2021, @05:41AM (#1096284)

    ...or, have downloaded binaries from them any time in the last three years.

    Apparently, nobody reads the license [gnu.org] any more.

    --
    Offended and laughing about it.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @06:55PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @06:55PM (#1096589)

      ...or, have downloaded binaries from them any time in the last three years.

      Apparently, nobody reads the license [gnu.org] any more.

      This is not only completely irrelevant, but also wrong.

      It is irrelevant because Trolltech is (presumably) the copyright holder. A copyright license is permission from the copyright holder to do things that are ordinarily prohibited by copyright. So a license like the GPL mostly says things of the form "you can do X if you also do Y". This is articulated in fairly plain language in §9 of the GPL-3. Trolltech is simply not subject to copyright restrictions on their own copyrighted works so the license as a whole is legally irrelevant to what they do.

      It is wrong because the "for 3 years" thing is only relevant when using the option to distribute binaries accompanied with a written offer for source code (because such offers would normally need to be executed at a later date). I'm not sure what version of the license Qt uses but if it is GPL-3 then this option is only permitted when distributing binaries in a physical product. So for GPL-3 it would simply never apply to "downloaded binaries".

      The other options for distributing source code, such as including it with the binaries or providing access from a network server at no cost have no timeframes. Once you stop distributing binaries with these other methods you can also stop distributing source.

      The GPL-2 had less options for source distribution but it is common practice to provide separate download links for source and binaries, and most people would agree that this counts as "accompanying" the binaries with source under §3(a). (The GPL-2 comes from a time before the world wide web and network distribution of binaries was not common).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08 2021, @12:26AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08 2021, @12:26AM (#1096765)

        Trolltech is simply not subject to copyright restrictions on their own copyrighted works so the license as a whole is legally irrelevant to what they do.

        Nonsense. If you grant a license and promise source will be available, and companies make plans based on your assertion, you absolutely have to keep up your end of the bargain. Companies using Qt and contributors who contributed code under the terms of the license agreement would all have grounds to sue to enforce the license to get the GPL source code, or else be awarded monetary damages.

      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Friday January 08 2021, @09:37AM

        by driverless (4770) on Friday January 08 2021, @09:37AM (#1096940)

        There's also a good reason to make the older Long-term Support releases paid ones, because Support isn't free. Developing Qt as a community service is one thing, but being expected to provide Support for the rest of eternity at no cost is a very different thing. I can see why they'd be taking steps to recover costs on this.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Grishnakh on Thursday January 07 2021, @06:13AM (17 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday January 07 2021, @06:13AM (#1096304)

    Um, no. The cannot simply close the source. For new releases, sure, you can change the license, and all the new code will fall under that license; the XFree86 project did this many years ago, causing the fork to X.org. But they cannot arbitrarily change the license on anything that's already been released under GPL. Yes, they can take down any public download servers, but I'm sure many, many people have full source trees already.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @08:16AM (13 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @08:16AM (#1096363)

      >Um, no. The cannot simply close the source.

      Yes they can, if they own the copyright to the code.
      https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/creating-written-contract-transfer-or-license-rights-under-copyright [dmlp.org]
      >Nonexclusive licenses also do not require consideration in order to be valid. However, nonexclusive licenses are revocable (meaning the copyright owner can revoke the license at any time) in the absence of consideration. This means that, whether or not you set a fixed time limit for the duration of the non-exclusive license in the licensing agreement, you (as the copyright owner) can revoke the license at any point if you do not receive consideration for it. Conversely, if you (as the copyright owner) receive consideration in return for the grant of the license, then you cannot revoke the license unless you provide for revocation in the license agreement

      How much did you pay for your GPL license grant? Nothing? It can be unilaterally revoked by the Copyright holder.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PiMuNu on Thursday January 07 2021, @12:33PM

        by PiMuNu (3823) on Thursday January 07 2021, @12:33PM (#1096424)

        > Copyright holder.

        Does Qt own the copyright, even to community-contributed bug fixes etc?

      • (Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:10PM (4 children)

        by Fnord666 (652) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:10PM (#1096494) Homepage

        >Um, no. The cannot simply close the source.

        Yes they can, if they own the copyright to the code.
        https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/creating-written-contract-transfer-or-license-rights-under-copyright [dmlp.org]
        >Nonexclusive licenses also do not require consideration in order to be valid. However, nonexclusive licenses are revocable (meaning the copyright owner can revoke the license at any time) in the absence of consideration. This means that, whether or not you set a fixed time limit for the duration of the non-exclusive license in the licensing agreement, you (as the copyright owner) can revoke the license at any point if you do not receive consideration for it. Conversely, if you (as the copyright owner) receive consideration in return for the grant of the license, then you cannot revoke the license unless you provide for revocation in the license agreement

        How much did you pay for your GPL license grant? Nothing? It can be unilaterally revoked by the Copyright holder.

        Any chance you can provide a citation to case law that confirms this interpretation? Has a court ruled that this can be done?

        IANAL so please forgive my ignorance in the correct terms and I don't have access to legal sites. Thanks.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:19PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:19PM (#1096501)

          He's making things up. He has no clue what he is talking about.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:52AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:52AM (#1104963)

            I'm not "making things up"
            >Lawrence Rosen - Open Source Licensing - Sofware Freedom and
            >Intellectual property Law
            >https://www.amazon.com/Open-Source-Licensing-Software-Intellectual/dp/0131487876
            >
            >p46 "There is one important caveat: Even a perpetual license can be revoked.
            >See the discussion of bare licenses and contracts in Chapter 4"
            >--Lawrence Rosen
            >
            >p56 "A third problem with bare licenses is that they may be revocable by
            >the licensor. Specifically, /a license not coupled with an interest may
            >be revoked./ The term /interest/ in this context usually means the
            >payment of some royalty or license fee, but there are other more
            >complicated ways to satisfy the interest requirement. For example, a
            >licensee can demonstrate that he or she has paid some consideration-a
            >contract law term not found in copyright or patent law-in order to avoid
            >revocation. Or a licensee may claim that he or she relied on the
            >software licensed under an open source license and now is dependent upon
            >that software, but this contract law concept, called promissory
            >estoppel, is both difficult to prove and unreliable in court tests. (The
            >concepts of /consideration/ and /promissory estoppel/ are explained more
            >fully in the next section.) Unless the courts allow us to apply these
            >contract law principles to a license, we are faced with a bare license
            >that is revocable.
            >--Lawrence Rosen
            >
            >p278 "Notice that in a copyright dispute over a bare license, the
            >plaintiff will almost certainly be the copyright owner. If a licensee
            >were foolish enough to sue to enforce the terms and conditions of the
            >license, the licensor can simply revoke the bare license, thus ending
            >the dispute. Remeber that a bare license in the absence of an interest
            >is revocable."
            >--Lawrence Rosen

            --

            > David McGowan, Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School:

            > "Termination of rights

            > [...] The most plausible assumption is that a developer who releases
            > code under the GPL may terminate GPL rights, probably at will.

            > [...] My point is not that termination is a great risk, it is that it
            > is not recognized as a risk even though it is probably relevant to
            > commercial end-users, accustomed to having contractual rights they can
            > enforce themselves.

            --
            https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/creating-written-contract-transfer-or-license-rights-under-copyright [dmlp.org]
            >Nonexclusive licenses also do not require consideration in order to be valid. However, nonexclusive licenses are revocable (meaning the copyright owner can revoke the license at any time) in the absence of consideration. This means that, whether or not you set a fixed time limit for the duration of the non-exclusive license in the licensing agreement, you (as the copyright owner) can revoke the license at any point if you do not receive consideration for it. Conversely, if you (as the copyright owner) receive consideration in return for the grant of the license, then you cannot revoke the license unless you provide for revocation in the license agreement

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @05:45PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @05:45PM (#1096542)

          "American copyright law, as presently written, does not recognize moral rights or provide a cause of action for their violation, since the law seeks to vindicate the economic, rather than the personal rights of authors."

          https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17776182574171214893&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr [google.com]

          So in certain countries, where the purpose is to vindicate the personal 'rights' of authors, such licenses may be revocable. In the U.S. where the purpose should be to promote the progress of the sciences and useful arts it makes less sense to allow them to be revocable since so much public good comes from the GPL being irrevocable.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:55AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:55AM (#1104964)

            It doesn't matter what you think the duty of copyright is, what matters is how the law developed. In the US, these free licenses are revocable from the free-takers.

            >Lawrence Rosen - Open Source Licensing - Sofware Freedom and
            >Intellectual property Law
            >https://www.amazon.com/Open-Source-Licensing-Software-Intellectual/dp/0131487876
            >
            >p46 "There is one important caveat: Even a perpetual license can be revoked.
            >See the discussion of bare licenses and contracts in Chapter 4"
            >--Lawrence Rosen
            >
            >p56 "A third problem with bare licenses is that they may be revocable by
            >the licensor. Specifically, /a license not coupled with an interest may
            >be revoked./ The term /interest/ in this context usually means the
            >payment of some royalty or license fee, but there are other more
            >complicated ways to satisfy the interest requirement. For example, a
            >licensee can demonstrate that he or she has paid some consideration-a
            >contract law term not found in copyright or patent law-in order to avoid
            >revocation. Or a licensee may claim that he or she relied on the
            >software licensed under an open source license and now is dependent upon
            >that software, but this contract law concept, called promissory
            >estoppel, is both difficult to prove and unreliable in court tests. (The
            >concepts of /consideration/ and /promissory estoppel/ are explained more
            >fully in the next section.) Unless the courts allow us to apply these
            >contract law principles to a license, we are faced with a bare license
            >that is revocable.
            >--Lawrence Rosen
            >
            >p278 "Notice that in a copyright dispute over a bare license, the
            >plaintiff will almost certainly be the copyright owner. If a licensee
            >were foolish enough to sue to enforce the terms and conditions of the
            >license, the licensor can simply revoke the bare license, thus ending
            >the dispute. Remeber that a bare license in the absence of an interest
            >is revocable."
            >--Lawrence Rosen

            --

            > David McGowan, Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School:

            > "Termination of rights

            > [...] The most plausible assumption is that a developer who releases
            > code under the GPL may terminate GPL rights, probably at will.

            > [...] My point is not that termination is a great risk, it is that it
            > is not recognized as a risk even though it is probably relevant to
            > commercial end-users, accustomed to having contractual rights they can
            > enforce themselves.

            --
            https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/creating-written-contract-transfer-or-license-rights-under-copyright [dmlp.org] [dmlp.org]
            >Nonexclusive licenses also do not require consideration in order to be valid. However, nonexclusive licenses are revocable (meaning the copyright owner can revoke the license at any time) in the absence of consideration. This means that, whether or not you set a fixed time limit for the duration of the non-exclusive license in the licensing agreement, you (as the copyright owner) can revoke the license at any point if you do not receive consideration for it. Conversely, if you (as the copyright owner) receive consideration in return for the grant of the license, then you cannot revoke the license unless you provide for revocation in the license agreement

      • (Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:33PM

        by Fnord666 (652) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:33PM (#1096512) Homepage

        >Um, no. The cannot simply close the source.

        Yes they can, if they own the copyright to the code.
        https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/creating-written-contract-transfer-or-license-rights-under-copyright [dmlp.org]
        >Nonexclusive licenses also do not require consideration in order to be valid. However, nonexclusive licenses are revocable (meaning the copyright owner can revoke the license at any time) in the absence of consideration. This means that, whether or not you set a fixed time limit for the duration of the non-exclusive license in the licensing agreement, you (as the copyright owner) can revoke the license at any point if you do not receive consideration for it. Conversely, if you (as the copyright owner) receive consideration in return for the grant of the license, then you cannot revoke the license unless you provide for revocation in the license agreement

        How much did you pay for your GPL license grant? Nothing? It can be unilaterally revoked by the Copyright holder.

        Wouldn't this apply though if they are invoking copyright?

        Terminating a Transfer or License

        For works created after 1978, section 203 of the Copyright Act provides that the creator (or "author" in copyright terminology) of a work may terminate a transfer, exclusive, or non-exclusive license of any or all rights under copyright for that work during the five-year period:

            - starting at the end of thirty-five years from execution of the grant;

            - for a grant that covers the right of publication of a work, the five-year period beginning at the earlier of:
                  - the end of thirty-five years from the date of publication of the work; or
                  - the end of forty years from the date of execution of the grant.

        To terminate a grant or license, you must serve notice of termination upon the grantee (the recipient of the transfer or license) or the grantee's successor in title (meaning the person or entity to whom the original grantee transfered his interest). The notice must be in writing and state the date of termination, which must fall within the five-year period outlined immediately above. You are required to serve the notice not less than two, nor more than ten, years before the termination date designated in the notice. Additionally, you need to file a copy of the notice with the Copyright Office prior to the termination date.

        To be valid, a termination notice must comply with the form, content, and manner of service set out in the Copyright Regulations. You can find these regulations at 37 C.F.R. 201.10.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:49PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:49PM (#1096521)

        Consideration is not always needed. There is a thing in law called promissory estoppel

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoppel [wikipedia.org]

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @05:26PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @05:26PM (#1096536)

          and to answer the question with case law more specifically

          Robert JACOBSEN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Matthew KATZER and Kamind Associates, Inc. (doing business as KAM Industries), Defendants-Appellees.

          "Traditionally, copyright owners sold their copyrighted material in exchange for money. The lack of money changing hands in open source licensing should not be presumed to mean that there is no economic consideration, however. There are substantial benefits, including economic benefits, to the creation and distribution of copyrighted works under public licenses that range far beyond traditional license royalties. For example, program creators may generate market share for their programs by providing certain components free of charge. Similarly, a programmer or company may increase its national or international reputation by incubating open source projects. Improvement to a product can come rapidly and free of charge from an expert not even known to the copyright holder. The Eleventh Circuit has recognized the economic motives inherent in public licenses, even where profit is not immediate. See Planetary Motion, Inc. v. Techsplosion, Inc., 261 F.3d 1188, 1200 (11th Cir.2001) (Program creator "derived value from the distribution [under a public license] because he was able to improve his Software based on suggestions sent by end-users.... It is logical that as the Software improved, more end-users used his Software, thereby increasing [the programmer's] recognition in his profession and the likelihood that the Software would be improved even further.")."

          https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17776182574171214893&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr [google.com]

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:46AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:46AM (#1104958)

            >Jacobsen v. Katzer
            Have you read Jacobsen v. Katzer? The 9th circuit appellate court ruled that the Artistic License was /not/ a contract, and was instead a simple copyright license. It found that the lower court erred in construing the Artistic License as a contract, and reversed the lower courts finding: telling the lower court that the Artistic License is not a contract.

            That is, if anything, supportive of the "revokists" position.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:48AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:48AM (#1104959)

          Sorry, dipshit, promissory estoppel is for when someone relies on your words, performs an action on your behalf, or benefits a third party for you, and then you stiff them in payment claiming "there was no contract". That is not applicable here.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08 2021, @12:28AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08 2021, @12:28AM (#1096768)

        Um, no. The cannot simply close the source.

        Yes they can, if they own the copyright to the code.

        You've misunderstood the process. They can "close the source" in the sense that new version are only available under a closed source license. The can't revoke the GPL license after the fact on existing code. They just aren't making new code available under the GPL.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:42AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2021, @01:42AM (#1104957)

          I didn't misunderstand anything. They can revoke the GPL from free-takers.

          >Lawrence Rosen - Open Source Licensing - Sofware Freedom and
          >Intellectual property Law
          >https://www.amazon.com/Open-Source-Licensing-Software-Intellectual/dp/0131487876
          >
          >p46 "There is one important caveat: Even a perpetual license can be revoked.
          >See the discussion of bare licenses and contracts in Chapter 4"
          >--Lawrence Rosen
          >
          >p56 "A third problem with bare licenses is that they may be revocable by
          >the licensor. Specifically, /a license not coupled with an interest may
          >be revoked./ The term /interest/ in this context usually means the
          >payment of some royalty or license fee, but there are other more
          >complicated ways to satisfy the interest requirement. For example, a
          >licensee can demonstrate that he or she has paid some consideration-a
          >contract law term not found in copyright or patent law-in order to avoid
          >revocation. Or a licensee may claim that he or she relied on the
          >software licensed under an open source license and now is dependent upon
          >that software, but this contract law concept, called promissory
          >estoppel, is both difficult to prove and unreliable in court tests. (The
          >concepts of /consideration/ and /promissory estoppel/ are explained more
          >fully in the next section.) Unless the courts allow us to apply these
          >contract law principles to a license, we are faced with a bare license
          >that is revocable.
          >--Lawrence Rosen
          >
          >p278 "Notice that in a copyright dispute over a bare license, the
          >plaintiff will almost certainly be the copyright owner. If a licensee
          >were foolish enough to sue to enforce the terms and conditions of the
          >license, the licensor can simply revoke the bare license, thus ending
          >the dispute. Remeber that a bare license in the absence of an interest
          >is revocable."
          >--Lawrence Rosen

          --

          > David McGowan, Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School:

          > "Termination of rights

          > [...] The most plausible assumption is that a developer who releases
          > code under the GPL may terminate GPL rights, probably at will.

          > [...] My point is not that termination is a great risk, it is that it
          > is not recognized as a risk even though it is probably relevant to
          > commercial end-users, accustomed to having contractual rights they can
          > enforce themselves.

          --

          https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/creating-written-contract-transfer-or-license-rights-under-copyright [dmlp.org]
          >Nonexclusive licenses also do not require consideration in order to be valid. However, nonexclusive licenses are revocable (meaning the copyright owner can revoke the license at any time) in the absence of consideration. This means that, whether or not you set a fixed time limit for the duration of the non-exclusive license in the licensing agreement, you (as the copyright owner) can revoke the license at any point if you do not receive consideration for it. Conversely, if you (as the copyright owner) receive consideration in return for the grant of the license, then you cannot revoke the license unless you provide for revocation in the license agreement

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 07 2021, @11:57AM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 07 2021, @11:57AM (#1096410)

      I think some of the issue here is that people were delivering patches on 5.15.2 expecting them to appear in an open 5.15.3 but the Trolls are taking 5.15.3 commercial only.

      Sounds like a simple fork to O5.15.3 is all that's needed - the Trolls can continue to feed their customers C5.15.3 and beyond while KDE and the rest of the world can take care of O5.15.3 and beyond.

      Having it sprung like this with minimal notice sucks, but as I recall the switch to LGPL by Nokia was similarly sudden.

      --
      John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].
      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:16PM (1 child)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday January 07 2021, @04:16PM (#1096499)

        Yes, exactly. I don't see what the problem is here, other than it being a big annoyance. It's not hard to fork GPLed code, and this has been done countless times in the past. Just stick it up on GitHub with a different name (how about "Ru" or "Ps"?) and take the patches there.

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @05:00PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07 2021, @05:00PM (#1096526)

          Nah, it should be called Cutie.

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 07 2021, @11:54AM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 07 2021, @11:54AM (#1096408)

    You better have a copy of the source tree from before that date.

    There are hundreds of copies of every revision of the Qt source tree hosted all over the internet, probably millions of copies around the world.

    Just about anyone who contributes patches to Qt builds it from source to test their patches.

    --
    John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].