Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

New 'No Military Use' GPL For GPU 1109

Posted by Zonk
from the damn-the-man dept.
Tina Gasperson writes "GPU is a Gnutella client that creates ad-hoc supercomputers by allowing individual PCs on the network to share CPU resources with each other. That's intriguing enough, but the really interesting thing about GPU is the license its developers have given it. They call it a 'no military use' modified version of the GNU General Public License (GPL). The developers told Newsforge why they did it, with commentary from OSI and FSF." Newsforge is also owned by OSTG, Slashdot's parent company.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New 'No Military Use' GPL For GPU

Comments Filter:
  • Psssh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:43PM (#15905659) Journal
    I don't want to scream "WANKING!" but I find I can't help it. Pure pacifism pisses me off...It's like Veganism [wikipedia.org]...Sounds good on paper, but is unworkable in reality.

    Conflict is a fact of existence. Not even human existence. Just being alive, you're in competition for limited resources, whether it's two elephants fighting over a waterhole, or two countries fighting over an oil field. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it'll always be, until we find a magic way of creating unlimited resources.

    Being a Vegan is nice and sweet, but if it came down to starvation for you and your child vs eating Bambi, Bambi'd be on a stick. Same with pacifism. If you want to die, or be a slave, by all means, refuse to fight. That's Darwin at his finest. We're an agressive species. We evolved to where we are by being agressive. You think you're just going to decide it's time for everyone to be all nice and happy?

    Fine. But don't act all surprised when someone disagrees.
    • Re:Psssh. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bunions (970377) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:56PM (#15905798)
      "Conflict is a fact of existence"

      well, sure, with that attitude.

      For serious though. Simply because humans are predisposed to violence (which is still under debate by our brainy science dudes) does not imply that we should not strive for a world without war.
      • Re:Psssh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Have Blue (616) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:20PM (#15906019) Homepage
        You can strive for it, sure, but it's unrealistic to expect that you'll ever get there.
        • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bunions (970377) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:22PM (#15906039)
          yeah, ok, sure. So?

          You can say that about every ideal. I strive every day to make bug-free code, but I realize it's unrealistic to expect I'll ever get there. It doesn't make the ideal any less important or valuable.
          • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormon@NosPam.gmail.com> on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:18PM (#15906540) Homepage Journal
            The difference is that embracing pacifism not only won't get you a violence-free world, it's guaranteed to fail. If no one opposes the violent, the violent win. Period.

            Pacifism may seem anti-violent in the short-run, but in the long run it's guaranteed to permit violence to thrive.

            -stormin
            • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:59PM (#15906829) Homepage
              Pacifism does NOT equate to doing NOTHING in the face of a violent threat. It only rules out a VIOLENT response.

              All manner of creative, non-violent responses are possible. Civil disobedience, monkeywrenching, culture jamming, etc.

              While you may want to debate the efficacy of a pacifist response to violence, you at least need to understand that pacifism is not equivalent to surrender. Lots of thought-provoking info at:

              http://www.nonviolence.org/ [nonviolence.org]
              • by J Story (30227)
                All manner of creative, non-violent responses are possible. Civil disobedience, monkeywrenching, culture jamming, etc.


                This is true, but it seems to me that these responses require a civil society. Israel, for example, is surrounded by groups that would cheerfully slaughter everyone down to the last new-born baby. The savage truth is that for them holy writ condones this slaughter. In this environment, civil disobedience is a meaningless gesture.

              • Do you think "creative, non-violent responses" would have been sufficient to end the Holocaust faster than the Holocaust ended all Jews? That's really all this boils down to.

                I'm not saying that non-violent alternatives shouldn't be considered. They should. And they should be considered first. But if the other party is intent on violence and has the means to carry out that threat than no amount of creative non-violent response will stop them from carrying out their objective. Case in point: two men with shotguns break into your house to kill you and rape your wife. Short of Hollywood fantasy if they really aim to do those things, no non-violent response is going to have a genuine chance of saving your lives.

                I'm NOT saying this is likely to happen to you ever. But violent acts are perpetrated every day, and they can not all be stopped through non-violent resistance. Within a framework of civil decency, non-violent protests work. But if the British had really wanted to use violence Ghandi would have been dead with all his followers. His non-violent protests worked in large part because it appealed to the better nature of his fellow and Indians and also the the British. Civil disobedience and other forms of non-violent resistance require framework and leverage that simply does not always exist, and in the end they put you in the mercy of the person you're trying to resist. If that person really wants you dead, then these tactics will fail miserably.

                If you want to risk your life appealing to the men who've broken into your house to try and reach their better nature, I have genuine respect for you. If you really do have a wife and kids my respect goes down, however, since you've got an obligation to defend them. In any case, just don't try to prevent me from defending my life and my family's if it ever came to that. That's all I'm saying. If you don't want to personally use violence yourself, you don't have the right to get in the way of those who would use it to defend themselves or the innocent. The same holds true on a macro level. Sometimes the only two alternatives are to repond to violence with violence, or to be eradicated.

                -stormin
                • by Arker (91948)

                  Do you think "creative, non-violent responses" would have been sufficient to end the Holocaust faster than the Holocaust ended all Jews? That's really all this boils down to.

                  There can be no question of this, for the simple reason that Jews were (and still are) spread throughout the entire world, and Hitler never controlled, nor had any realistic prospect of controlling, more than a small corner of the world.

                  He was a mass murderer, and I certainly wouldn't want to minimise that - but he never had any cha

                  • There can be no question of this, for the simple reason that Jews were (and still are) spread throughout the entire world, and Hitler never controlled, nor had any realistic prospect of controlling, more than a small corner of the world.

                    This is a statement of such historical ignorance it is utterly astonishing. If pacifists had had their way, Hitler would have had a damn site more than "a small corner of the world". British fighting spirit was not enough alone to keep the Nazi's out of UK. It took Americ
              • by susano_otter (123650) on Monday August 14, 2006 @07:28PM (#15907019) Homepage
                All manner of creative, non-violent responses are possible. Civil disobedience, monkeywrenching, culture jamming, etc. While you may want to debate the efficacy of a pacifist response to violence, you at least need to understand that pacifism is not equivalent to surrender.


                So if I catch you disobeying my civics, jamming my culture, or wrenching my monkeys (whatever that means), can I safely assume that you consider me an enemy, and have declared war on me?

                And if that's the case, would you agree that, since we're at war, I'm totally justified in disobeying your civics, jamming your culture, and wrenching your monkeys?

                More than that, would you agree that I'm in fact limited in my choice of weapons and tactics to use against you, only by whatever limitations my own moral code place on me, just as you are limited only by your own moral code?

                Because frankly, if you think we're at war, then I think that defeating you is a pretty good idea.

                What do you say?
      • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iCEBaLM (34905) <icebalm AT icebalm DOT com> on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:22PM (#15906043)
        I don't believe he said war, I believe he said conflict. That being said:

        Simply because humans are predisposed to violence (which is still under debate by our brainy science dudes) does not imply that we should not strive for a world without war.

        If you believe for an instant that millions of years of predatory survival competition with other species, during which evolution has allowed the strongest genetics to survive, hasn't coded violence into our species then I have a bridge in New York for sale.

        I believe it is a fallacy to try and strive for a world without war, however we should control it better to prevent unnecessary loss of life and resources.
        • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:42PM (#15906701)
          They're controlled forms of conflict. Codified warfare where males go out and prove their fitness to breed to females. The resulting wealth, cars, planes, yachts are all simply peacock feathers shouting look at what I've got, my progeny will be successfull.

          (Yeah and btw, that's also why females are extremely unlikely to ever have full equality in the workplace. Sorry gals, you're not really competing for what you think you're competing for).

           
      • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gfxguy (98788) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:23PM (#15906051)
        Do you really believe there's any rational people out there who WANT war?

        The problem is that sometimes peace first requires war, whether you want it or not. I know a lot of poeple have misgivings about premptive policies and interventionalist practices, but there are plenty of examples of when war is not just justified (like in Afghanistan or the first Gulf war), but required (like WWI and WWII).

        Now, these people use Asimov's laws for robots, which include not allowing someone to be hurt through inaction. The problem is I can make a machine gun and sell it to the government. They might go off and invade another country. But they might also use it to actually protect my country and fellow countrymen. If I make the best available, and refuse to sell it to my government and we're attacked, then through inaction I may cause the deaths of my fellow countrymen.

        So these guys are free to do whatever they want, but I hope they don't experience first hand when war IS necessary.

        Now, take it out of the context of the current ongoing conflicts. By banning military use, you also ban the use by forces that are more often a force of good in the world than bad. In that context, U.N. peacekeepers, for example, would not be able to use this. What if an entire military force doesn't use it because they can't all work together, including the parts of the military that rebuild and bring humanitarian aid?

        It's one of those things, IMO, you've got to take the good with the bad. You start down this road, and then you get people saying "not for use by the [rebublican|democrat] party." "Not for use by people who eat meat." "Not for use by people who own handguns."

        I can see their point, it's just a bad application of their ideals. That's my opinion, they have theirs, and it's their program, so they can do what they want, but I'd be apt to not support it at all with an attitude like that. Same way I support smokers rights (I don't smoke) and gun ownership (I don't own a gun), I'd never support these guys (not that I would, but I HAVE paid for free software before... or I should say I have donated to free software projects).

        • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bunions (970377) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:36PM (#15906172)
          "Do you really believe there's any rational people out there who WANT war?"

          Yes. Lots of people make lots of money in wars. Others are simply foolish and do not fully comprehend what war is.

          I'll also ask you to reread my post and find where I advanced the idea that war is never justified. I'm not an idiot. Simply because I think that striving for a world without war is worthwhile does not mean I'm blind to current realities.
        • Re:Psssh. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ben there... (946946)

          Do you really believe there's any rational people out there who WANT war?

          Absolutely. A large portion of the "military-industrial complex" [wikipedia.org], as Eisenhower put it so well [youtube.com], wants war. As do investors in those companies. There is a lot of money to be made in times of war, as is happening right now with the current conflicts.

        • Re:Psssh. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by demachina (71715)
          "Do you really believe there's any rational people out there who WANT war?"

          I think you just proved yourself pretty naive with that whopper, or cynical for trying to get /. to believe it.

          Though I guess it depends on how you define "rational", I guess you could say anyone who likes war is not rational, but you would end up with a large percentage of the worlds political leaders in that category.

          War profiteers LOVE war and have throughout history, the Rothschild [wikipedia.org] family were famous for war profiteering on the N
        • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Arker (91948) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:43PM (#15907651) Homepage

          Do you really believe there's any rational people out there who WANT war?

          To the degree that sociopaths can be considered rational, absolutely. Every war makes some people dead, some people poorer, but also some people greatly more powerful and more wealthy. That last group of people tend to be the ones that actually get to make the decisions, and as long as they value their own wealth and power over the life, liberty, and property of the rest, war is a rational choice for them.

          The problem is that sometimes peace first requires war, whether you want it or not. I know a lot of poeple have misgivings about premptive policies and interventionalist practices, but there are plenty of examples of when war is not just justified (like in Afghanistan or the first Gulf war), but required (like WWI and WWII).

          In fact your examples work against you.

          I'm not a pacifist, and I'm not going to argue that violence is never necessary, but certainly in your cases, from a US-centric viewpoint, war was neither justified nor necessary in any of those cases. Afghanistan? Come on. A stupid move, stepping up and hitting the same tarbaby we used against the Soviets not so long ago, completely unecessary, accomplishing nothing whatsoever. There were some legitimate goals that were used to justify it (notably, arresting OBL) but note that OBL was never captured? Note further that there were much cheaper (in terms of money and blood) options to pursue him, which all evidence suggests would have been more effective, and at any rate could certainly not have been less effective, as he's still out there podcasting today.

          WWI and WWII were closer, but look at them closely and you'll see that, at least for most of the participants, they were unecessary unjustified and avoidable. WWI was sparked by the assassination of the Archduke of Austria, you'll recall. Austria declared war on Serbia. Unjustified, unnecessary, and monstrously immoral - a handful of criminals killed a man, and the response is to attack an entire nation in retaliation. Lest we feel too smug in our moral superiority over those nasty Austrians, though, recall that this is very similar to the current conflict, however - a violent, criminal act answered by more violent, criminal acts, against entire nations, and not even the nations the attackers came from, in the current version!

          At any rate, Austria could have chosen not to go to war in WWI. And, in fact, they didn't immediately go to war - first they delivered an Ultimatum. It was one any sovereign nation would have difficulty accepting, but given the vast superiority of the Austrian armed forces, Serbia had to consider it. And they probably would have accepted it, and avoided war, but for the 'great game.' The Russians, always looking for a chance to best their Austrian rivals in the game, encouraged the Serbs to reject it, promising protection. Thus encouraged, the Serbs refused, and Austria declared war.

          Now at that point, the Serbs, of course, had to defend themselves. But no one else had to be involved. But the Russian government wanted in. They mobilised their troops. The German government, also, wante in. They called up their troops, and sent the Russians an ultimatum to stand down. The Russians continued mobilising. The Germans declared war. The Germans, of course, were allied with Austria. The Russians were allied with France. These alliances were not necessary - they were chosen by the governments involved. They were part of that same game. Any of these added participants could have avoided the great war, by avoiding that game. The people of these countries would certainly, in the main, have been vastly better off had they done so - but small, influential groups of people saw vast riches and enourmous power to be gained from playing the game, and those people made the decisions.

          The Germans, anticipating that France would strike in support of Russia and Serbia, decided to take the initiative and hi

      • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:27PM (#15906077)
        Simply because humans are predisposed to violence (which is still under debate by our brainy science dudes) does not imply that we should not strive for a world without war.

        Which, as history has shown, is best accomplished when the two largest tribes create the biggest, baddest, most honkin' armaments their weaponsmiths can conceive of and point them, point blank, at each other. All the smaller tribes choose up sides, and if you do it right you get a really neat space-race as a dividend.

        A world without war is not possible in a world without weapons.
      • ... and I speak as a generally anti-war progressive, though by no means a pacifist. The problem is that the solution to conflict lies in political and not military institutions. Handicapping the military technologically will not prevent us from getting into wars, nor will it make them less bloody or violent. Arguably one might make the case on a technology-by-technology basis that there are certain technologies that should not be in military hands. But in general terms, keeping toys away from the genera
      • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CHESTER COPPERPOT (864371) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:53PM (#15906326)
        Simply because humans are predisposed to violence (which is still under debate by our brainy science dudes)

        He said conflict, not violence. A life without conflict is impossible and a naive dream of pacifists. Witness Gandhi's "Quit India Movement" where bombings and arson were used by supposed pacifists.

        does not imply that we should not strive for a world without war.

        I suggest that would-be pacifists read the book Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Munzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals by Stephen Koch [amazon.com]. It tells the story of Soviet controlled German propagandist Willi Münzenberg [wikipedia.org] during the periods of World War one leading up to WW2. One of the most interesting things about the story was the directed use of propaganda against the Western Worlds intellectuals (mostly European at the time with some Americans), particularly with those who spouted the ideology of pacifism. The Soviets understood that propaganda is best used with riding the back of an existing strong zeitgeist and the intellectual current of the time was "peace not war" even to the detriment of protecting one's own people. They also understood that the best propaganda was truthful (and what could be more self-evident than peace being better than war?). So the Soviets, through Münzenberg, started a "peace movement" with the main aim of undermining the morality of Western war efforts. It had a dual purpose too. It both attacked the west and when, so the Soviets thought, they would defeat the west, they would also steamroll over the pacifists who would offer no competition. What am I getting at? Well nothing really, except that a lot of the history of pacifism isn't exactly what it seems.

    • Re:Psssh. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Threni (635302)
      > Being a Vegan is nice and sweet, but if it came down to starvation for you and your child vs eating
      > Bambi, Bambi'd be on a stick.

      What has starvation got to do with veganism? That's possibly the worst example of a strawman I've ever seen on the net.

      • Re:Psssh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:18PM (#15906010) Journal
        Oh really? You don't think choosing to ignore a whole class of high calorie food is a luxury? This is the typical problem with Veganism. It assumes you'll never be in a situation (like starvation) where you won't be able to come up with a nice big chunk of Tofu. It happens that, in some countrys, the society is rich enough to make this an option.

        But don't for an instant, believe that, without that wealth, it would be an option.
    • I can understand your points, though I don't necessarily completely agree with them ("flamebait" mods should lay off). Personally, I know if the authors of GPU were going for "pure pacifism" or not. They just don't want their product to be used to kill other people, especially if the fighting is being done for a reason they don't agree with. But that is beside the main point of my post...

      Just out of curiosity, how would you feel if a product you produced was being used to kill others? This is of course assuming that the primary purpose of your product is not Military use, like GPU (which appears to be a distributed computing product). What if it was being used in a war you don't agree with?

      I'm just assuming you to be a reasonable human being that doesn't actually want to kill or harm others and will only do so at the last resort...

      Personally, I would not want anything I made to be used to harm others, and if I found out that this was happening, I would probably feel like the character Chris Knight in "Real Genius" when he realized what the laser was for.

      I am curious about your views of this.

    • Pacifism only works when there are non-pacifists to protect the pacifists.
    • Re:Psssh. (Score:3, Insightful)

      Ya know, its percisely this kinda of bone headed "beat them with a stick" mentality that gives credence to the theory stating that the primary reason we have not run across other intelligent life yet is that it usually self destructs somewhere in the neighborhood of our level of development.

      That's Darwin at his finest. We're an agressive species. We evolved to where we are by being agressive.

      This statement is categorically untrue. While we have all varying levels of agression in our species as a who
    • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormon@NosPam.gmail.com> on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:07PM (#15905911) Homepage Journal
      I agree, though for slightly different reasons.

      Whenever I hear about some kind of "do no harm" attitude I always want to ask "does it pass the WW2 test?" What I mean is, would you really have preferred to have sat by and watched the Holocaust happen rather than fight? If so, then I consider the concept morally bankrupt.

      Some things and some people make sense to "do no harm". Doctors, in general, are supposed to do no harm. And I appreciate that in their capacity as doctors they never should. Still, if a doctor was at home and someone broke into their house to try and rape their daughter, I'd hope the doctor would have no moral compunctions against shooting the intruder first (in their capacity as father) and then offering CPR as appropriate second (in their capacity as doctor).

      The point is that pacifism can lead to just as much evil as violence. People who don't see that annoy me to no end. I don't like people doing bad things, and I don't like people who let other people do bad things.

      'The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.' - Edmund Burke

      -stormin
    • Re:Psssh. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lawpoop (604919) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:33PM (#15906146) Homepage Journal
      You're very good at setting up strawman arguments.

      You're telling me that veganism is 'unworkable in reality'? What reality do you inhabit? You're ignoring the millions of vegans in the Indian subconinent, who have lived that way for thousands of years. Now don't start on about how they are all malnurished -- if you do, you are ignoring the fact that you were wrong in that veganism can't exist, and that there are plenty of meat eaters around the world who are starving.

      Sure, when it comes down to it, almost everyone will kill Bambi and the family will have a feast. However, especially in this day and age, it never comes down to it. You can go through your whole life and raise a whole family on nothing but veggies. It's been happening for thousands of years. And if you were lost in the woods and starving, you will definately have more success gathering edible plants than you will tracking down, killing, butchering, and safely cooking an animal.

      It is also true that conflict is a fact of existence. People will get mad at each other, and respond in a number of ways, from ignoring each other, acting passive-aggressive, sitting down and talking, arguing, yelling, fighting, perhaps murder and gang/tribal fueds, but warfare as an absolute necessity? You're telling me that Ghandi's non-violent resistance didn't successfully overthrow the British Empire in India?
    • Re:Psssh. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:34PM (#15906149) Journal
      We evolved to where we are by being agressive
      Pray tell me, what does the prehistory of the human race have to do with ethics? Are we all supposed to behave differently because Darwin discovered we have non-human ancestors? When I'm trying to decide how to treat my neighbor, or who to vote for, the antics of a bunch of apes living a few million years ago are far from my mind.

      "Oh, look at this old skull I just dug up in Africa, this showed humans used rocks to beat each other over the head, I think I'd better go and kick my neighbor's head in now."

      Or to put it another way, your views on ethics are a shade below moronic.

    • Re:Psssh. (Score:3, Informative)

      by rucs_hack (784150)
      well, actually acheological evidence suggests that for the largest portion of the evolution of our particuler ape family we've been a passive and predominantly matriarchal society.

      Basically, the women were in charge. We even have some very old aboriginal tribes (several countries) who's verbal history speaks of women being completelly in charge of their cultures a long time ago. A handy present day verification for the archeological hints.

      Prehistoric women managed the 'cave' (innacurate, but it'll do), care
    • Re:Psssh. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bahwi (43111)
      Wait, I don't get the vegan reference. Yeah, most vegans would eat meat instead of die of starvation(Where in the world does that happen currently ?!?!?!). But there's no conflict, if you eat meat you didn't score a victory of an animal anywhere, even if you went hunting, there's no conflict, no victory. Conflict has risk, hunting does not(I've been hunting for over 10 years, by the way).

      It really sounds like a cheap way to make a stike at veganism, which is about animals suffering, and has nothing to do wi
  • nice press (Score:5, Funny)

    by trybywrench (584843) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:46PM (#15905678)
    I seriously doubt the military needs Gnutella for their supercomputing needs. Nice press release and good job on making the main page of slashdot to promote your project though *golf clap*.

  • FLGPL (Score:5, Funny)

    by amightywind (691887) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:46PM (#15905679) Journal
    They call it a 'no military use' modified version of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

    I call it Copyfarleft.

  • by Harry Balls (799916) * on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:46PM (#15905690)
    ...and Iran would abide by this "No Military Use" restriction.
  • by stealie72 (246899) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:47PM (#15905698)
    What do you think a phase conjugate tracking mirror is used for, Kent?

    Seriously, good for them. It's sort of DRM of a different kind (imagine is Sony made you agree that you'd never use their product to do anything to help Vivendi), but I suppose you have to draw a line somewhere.
  • by joshdick (619079) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:48PM (#15905703) Homepage
    Below is what was added to the GPL:

                              PATCH FOR NO MILITARY USE

    This patch restricts the field of endeavour of the Program in such a way that this
    license collides with paragraph 6 of the Open Source Definition. Therefore, this
    modified version of the GPL is no more OSI compliant.

    The Program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm a
    ny human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed.
    This is Asimov's first law of Robotics.

    You can find the full text of the license at: http://gpu.sourceforge.net/GPL_license_modified.tx t [sourceforge.net]
    • /silly

      Printing the progam is prohibited by this new license:

      1) total printed output posses a mass significant to harm a human when dropped, thrown or otherwise imparted with velocity relative to the human.

      2) paper reperesents a proven hazard to humans in the form of paper cuts.

      As both forms can be used to harm a humans, both represent weaponization of the progam.
  • by mark0 (750639) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:49PM (#15905716)
    The government will happily agree... and include a signing statement that says they may not obey/enforce the law if they see fit not to. Then classify the use of the software so you don't find out. Then tap the phones of those who disagree..

    Seriously, what teeth does this have considering recent history?
  • oookie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:49PM (#15905719)
    I wonder if they realize that most militaries not only attack, but they also defend.
  • wankery indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuzak (959558) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:49PM (#15905728) Journal
    Both developers do agree about one aspect of their license clause. It is based on the first of science fiction writer Isaac Asimov's Three Law of Robotics

    Have any of them actually read I, Robot? I swear to god, am I in some tiny minority who doesn't believe that this book was all about promulgating the infallible virtue of these three laws, but was instead a series of parables about the failings that result from codifying morality into inflexible dogma?

    Is it really bad form to suggest such interpretations as a question? Can you hear me now? Where's the bee*whump*. Sorry.

    • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:59PM (#15905820)
      Have any of them actually read I, Robot?

      Why read when you can watch the movie?

      - R Daniel Oliver
    • Re:wankery indeed (Score:3, Informative)

      by jesterzog (189797)

      Have any of them actually read I, Robot? I swear to god, am I in some tiny minority who doesn't believe that this book was all about promulgating the infallible virtue of these three laws, but was instead a series of parables about the failings that result from codifying morality into inflexible dogma?

      Perhaps. Whether this is true or not, I'm certain that Asimov himself is on record as saying (probably in one of his intros) that the Three Laws are primarily a story device for interesting fiction. When h

  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:51PM (#15905740)
    Politically charging you code license is just a bad and stupid idea.

    First my making open source closed to some groups because you happen to dislike them breaks the concept of open, It is open just as long as I like you idea.

    Second your making opponents where you don't have to. Your trying to get the government to use Open Source for it normal use but you get a huge blocking because the military (part of the government) is opposing this move because they cannot access the software.

    Third it won't change anything except you will have to pay more taxes. Stopping your code for a group of people will only cause more money to go to the military because they need it to code their own version.

    Forth by blocking evil use you are also blocking good use. Example all this extra features could be used to calculate the safest way to deploy food to 3rd world countries, increasing distribution and reducing risk to troops.

    Fifth you just look bad and hypocritical, you are all up for Openness freedom of speech except for when it says something you don't like.

    It is a dangerious direction, so I can make code free to use for anyone except for people who are going to use it for making Fast Food, because we all know Fast Food is bad. Making programs as a political statement is just dangerous and will lead to a class based society, where there will be one group who can have some thing, and other who can't just because of their beliefs.
  • First of all, it's not an "anti-military" clause. It's an act of sheer stupidity. It's an attempt to take one of Asimov's laws of robotics and enshrine it. "the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed" - this is sheer stupidity and folly. I think the laws of robotics have been sufficiently debased already so I won't go into that here.

    Now I'm sure there are tons of you jumping up and down and calling me a troll or a flamer for saying this. You're saying that all war is bad, that of course technology should protect people... And you're on crack. I think we can all safely agree that stopping Hitler from conquering the world was a good thing, just as stopping Bush from doing it today would be a good thing. The simple fact is that in this world there are certain questions which can only be answered with violence.

    But more importantly, what this really means is that if some of this code is used in a program, then the whole program must carry the license. If that program is involved in industrial automation, and the automation kills someone, are you in violation of the license? Arguably, the hardware allowed someone to be killed, and the program did nothing.

    Finally, governments do not give one tenth of one fuck about what these guys' license says. If either one of them actually became a problem to the US government for example, he'd be off to gitmo (or a similar, but less heavily encumbered installation) before you could say "civil liberties".

    So basically, this is pure masturbation. At its best it is designed to engender debate about the value of putting such a clause in a license. I do not think this is a best-case. I think this is more of a mainline case, in which the guys trying to do it are just fools.

    • by Stumbles (602007) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:00PM (#15905840)
      So basically, this is pure masturbation. Yeah your exactly right.

      Seems to me it dishonors the spirit of the GPL.

      In any event. So what now? Someone gets a hard on against "pick your religon" or "pick your style of government" or "I don't like x political party" and and inserts a similar clause? This whole idea is asinine. So I have to ask these guys if they're so against violating human rights and war certainly does that, why did they not add China to their "ban list"?

  • Counter-productive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doctor Faustus (127273) <Slashdot@NospaM.WilliamCleveland.Org> on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:52PM (#15905748) Homepage
    If restriction this has any effect whatsoever, it's going to be to kill people. War has gotten steadily less destructive as technology has advanced, because fewer people are needed to fight. Lately, this has accelerated as more accurate weapons have cut down on civilian casualties.

    This sort of restriction may get you out of being a indirect participant, but it's never going to prevent any combat from occurring.
  • Nice Wording (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bryansix (761547) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:55PM (#15905786) Homepage
    Because they used the law straight from Asimov's mouth they shot themselves in the foot.
    The Program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed. This is Asimov's first law of Robotics.
    Let us focus on the second half of the sentence and you will see my point. "nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed." So in otherwords, this CAN be used by the military if the military is using it for something like the Missile Defense Agency [mda.mil].
  • by artifex2004 (766107) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:56PM (#15905794) Journal
    If I own stock in a drug company, and that stock tanks because a rival drug company used Gnutella to build a distributed computer that found a competing drug formulation, then I've been financially harmed, right? Will Gnutella's developers sue the other drug company at that point for me?

  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:56PM (#15905796)
    ...are software licenses/"EULAs" enforceable, not enforceable, or what?

    Also, the inclusion of a "no military use" provision presumes that ALL military activity activity, of any type, for any reason, is always negative or undesirable.

    I'd hope most sane people are level-headed enough to realize the foolishness of that implied presumption.

    And if we want to get into the "ethics" of miltary action, what if the killing of, say, 15,000 can be argued, very convincingly, to have most likely saved hundreds of thousands, or millions, more? How do you measure the benefits of something that has not occurred because it has been prevented? Is there ever any time when a proactive or premptive step can be accepted to have resulted in more overall good than harm, if the only thing that matters is human calculus and bodycounts?

    Over what timeframes do you measure? Is there only moral relativism, in that since anyone holding any philosophy can always be argued to be doing what they themselves believe is the "right thing", no one has any moral authority to make a decision that may end lives to save more? Do nation-states and alliances have any value in the global political system? Can free Western nations decide to initiate defensive or offensive military actions to protect their interests, from which presumably the happiness, well-being, and continued existence of many hundreds or millions of people is created? Is any system of government worth protecting? These are very real questions that seem to be ignored. The cynics among us who believe that some particular nation's government is literally already a 1984-style police state in action, bent on ensuring its own power continues to grow at all costs[1], will not be able to answer any of these questions in a reasoned fashion.

    Try not to read anything into what I'm saying or assume that I'm talking about a particular event. Just try to imagine a scenario where deadly force may need to be used to prevent more harm, i.e., there is a distinctly net positive effect.

    It's all well and good to talk about doing no harm. Just keep in mind that it's sometimes necessary to "do harm" to prevent more of the same.

    That's not a warmongering view, an American view, nor a Republican view. That's just a very simple fact of reality that would be discovered by an application of common sense. Anyone who might fall back on the refrain of "but we don't know what really would have happened otherwise, do we?" when presented with an example event is quite frankly choosing to delude themselves, and has chosen the path of willful ignorance under a very thin veil of righteousness.

    [1] Completely off-topic aside: it is stunning to me how many well-educated, supposedly intelligent people have let their own political feelings cloud their view to the point of literally believing that 9/11 was a plot hatched out of the US government itself. So many of the claims are simply outrageous:

    - The planes that hit the trade center towers were military aircraft made to look like commercial jetliners, but the trade center towers were also actually rigged with explosives; the planes hitting them was merely a diversion. It is apparently not plausible that commercial jetliners could cause the buildings to come down; steel doesn't need to get to its melting point to begin losing an incredibly significant amount of its integrity.

    - WTC 7 was also rigged with explosives: it must have been, because the damage to it was only superficial. This ignores the fact that two over-100 story buildings collapsed within ridiculously close proximity, making the entire building structurally unsound. Also, why did WTC 7 need to be destroyed? If the whole idea was to rig buildings with explosives and then fly planes into them as a "diversion", making people incorrectly think that it was planes that brought them down, why would WTC 7 be a part of that conspiracy?

    - Even though planes, either unmanned or perhaps the actual jetliners piloted by pa
  • Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halivar (535827) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <reglefb>> on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:57PM (#15905800) Homepage
    "the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed."

    That second part means that, if you don't use it, you're not allowed to use it. Such non-usage is to be considered strictly unauthorized non-usage. Dumb.
  • by MonkeyPaw (8286) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:59PM (#15905818) Homepage
    Software developer: HEY ARMY GUYS! I said you can't use this software.

    Army Guys: I have a big gun.

    Software developer: I'm going back to my cube now.
  • by Reverberant (303566) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:01PM (#15905841) Homepage

    A lot of the time the purpose of the military is to "implement policy" (i.e. "kill people and break things"), but some military branches (at least in the U.S.) do good [army.mil] works [uiuc.edu], and try to save lives [army.mil].

    As written, the "no military use" GPL extension doesn't specifically forbid this type of use, but I'm sure the military isn't going to want to keep track of licenses/usage across its fixed and mobile facilities, so stuff created under this license won't get used at all. Is that a good thing?

  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:02PM (#15905864) Homepage
    Go ahead, annoy the government. Encourage the government to mandate BSD-style unrestrictive licenses for any project that recieves government funding. Actually, that may actually be a good idea. Companies pay taxes too, at least all those I worked for. I remember some preety cool catalogs from NASA (90s) where things they funded was available to anyone, commercial or not.
  • by Distinguished Hero (618385) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:05PM (#15905887) Homepage
    Because nothing says "free" (liber, not gratis) like imposing seemingly arbitrary limits upon what one can do with the "free" software in question.

    As for pacifism, I defer to Mr. George Orwell's thoughts on the matter: "Pacifism. Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me'. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security. Mr Savage remarks that 'according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be "objectively pro-British".' But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious 'freedom' station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U." from Pacifism and the War [orwell.ru] by George Orwell, 1942.
    • Orwell was writing about conditions in Britain during WW2: rather a specific time and place and not a comment on pacifisim in general.
    • No, no, no. Pacifism in this sense is not simple opposition to a nation's strategic interests. Was Martin Luther King pro-USSR for being a pacifist in America during the Cold War? Was Gandhi pro-Germany for being a pacifist in India during WWII? By misappropriating Orwell, you seem to think that both of these people support totalitarianism.

      Nothing in the modified GPL says that nations should not engage in war. It says that this software should not be used for that purpose. If you don't want your book to b

      • ... and by claiming that this is not the same as WWII, you seem to be suggesting that the current state of the world has no parallels and absolutely no bearing on the reasons for the software authors' actions.

        Though I'm not an American, I do live on the same continent as "Y'all" and I distinctly remember seeing something on the news about a group of people who wanted to blow up a lot of your civilians. Your President also claims that you're at war with them... which is good... since they certainly seem t

  • by proxima (165692) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:10PM (#15905942)
    I feel the Free software/open source community should vigorously discourage any restrictions on usage, rather than distribution, of the software. The authors of GPU, according to the article, admit their restriction "contradicts the original intention of the GPL". Indeed it does.

    Open source software is bound to be used in ways that the authors find unappealing to some extent. Still, there are a variety of reasons why any restriction on usage are inappropriate. First, the licenses and restrictions of open source software ought to be as clear as possible. This allows people to reasonably abide by the licenses and probably (IANAL) helps in their legal enforceability. Second, if the community begins to accept these usage restrictions, it may be a "slippery slope". Criminal usage might be prohibited, but in what jurisdiction? Then, behavior various authors find objectionable (pornography, as an example) might be prohibited. Then perhaps you'll have development tools (IDEs, etc) with restrictions that they may only be used to create open source software.

    One of the greatest benefits of open source software for end users is that you only need to be familiar with the terms of a few licenses and they are nearly impossible to violate if all you're doing is running the software. Restrictions on usage destroy this freedom for users. Thus, I believe advocates of OSS should reject any such restrictions and continue their focus on the abilities to modify and redistribute the source code.
  • by Geekenstein (199041) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:16PM (#15905986)
    "nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed."

    Wow, that basically excludes everyone on the planet. I'd say we're all guilty of this is one way or another. Didn't send all your money to Feed The Children? Your inaction allowed those children to be harmed.

    Didn't drive to New Orleans during Katrina and pull people out of the water? Your inaction allowed people to be harmed.

    Frankly, this is a lousy license. An attempt to be cutesy created an overly broad clause that excludes all use.
  • by noldrin (635339) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:19PM (#15906014)
    The GPL is only legal to use without change. If you patch it or change the terms, it's violation of the FSF copyright or most likely invalidate the licensing altogether. Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. It doesn't matter if you change the middle, end or beginning. Part of the license is the nonchanging of it. This is very important because if everyone added patches, the meaning of the GPL would become diluted. On top of this, the GPL is a freedom giving license, you can't patch away these freedoms by adding restrictions. This causes direct conflict between the license and the modified patch in the begining. This mostly likely causes the entire license to be ruled invalid These people should have written their own darn license. You didn't see Netscape put in a preample modifying it, they made their own.
  • by sammy baby (14909) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:20PM (#15906022) Journal
    "As a pacifist, I sympathize with their goals," says Russ Nelson, president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). "People who feel strongly about war will sometimes take actions which they realize are ineffectual, but make it clear that they are not willing to take action which directly supports war."


    That he sympathizes with their goals is probably why he fails to mention something blindingly obvious: that the new "modified" license doesn't qualify as open source, according to the OSI's own definition [opensource.org]:

    6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

    The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.


    Rationale: The major intention of this clause is to prohibit license traps that prevent open source from being used commercially. We want commercial users to join our community, not feel excluded from it.
    • by dwheeler (321049) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:26PM (#15906599) Homepage Journal
      Parent is correct - this license is not an open source software license, because it descriminates against use. It's also not a Free Software license, because Freedom 0 in the Free Software Definition is "The freedom to run the program, for any purpose".

      Also, I hope that they don't use TCP/IP or the Internet, because the basic idea of packet-switching, the TCP/IP protocol, and the basic Internet architecture were all funded by the military (through DARPA/ARPA). Using TCP/IP to distribute or implement this thing would be hypocritical, so I'm glad they aren't doing that :-).

  • by wsanders (114993) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:29PM (#15906101) Homepage
    And that is a bunch of amateurs writing SW licenses.

    "The Program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm a
    ny human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed."

    Doesn't even say anything about any "Military". What if one reads "RIAA" for "Military"?

    Pretty half-assed legalese if you ask me.
  • by CherniyVolk (513591) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:33PM (#15906145)

    What's funny, is that I wish most of the MIL-STD specs were freely available and open to the public. While some aren't *classified*, many are under export control. Anything other than a MIL-STD describing how soda stored in a ships magazine should be entered into a database is pretty much classified or under export control. You know, operational protocols... yes, there is a MIL-STD for everything, even the types of screws that can be used for assembling certain parts; which, for all the technology that might exist in launching an F18 off the flight deck of a carrier, to Air Force radar data streams...

    I think it would be most optimal, and a great benefit for any military, if much of these protocols, specifications were public. I would *love* to develop OPEN SOURCE applications for military and aviation/aerospace applications. While there is a great deal of a myriad application in the field running on top of Open Source software such as Linux, or working with Open Source Software; it is all proprietary either developed "in-house" from within the branch of the military or agency, or directly contracted out to a private enterprise defense contractor.

    I think, the only detrimental part of infrastructure that is widely known and specs available to the public is the phone system. Much of all other technologies, are kept hush hush as for specifications and standards; air traffic control, power-grid, nuclear reactors, etc.

    While I WISH I could write applications in the Open Source realm FOR the military, FOR the government, FOR the state, FOR the city... we have others that wish their applications were NOT available for military/government etc.

    The Ironic part is... apparently, either "their" ego has inflated to ridiculous height, width and depth, or they are truelly stupid as for how MUCH of technology that we enjoy and take for granted was directly FUNDED or RESEARCHED by the military. Computers were initially designed for the sole purpose of simulating nuclear explosions; or so we say, but one thing is for certain, it was military interest that is to thank for all the peaces making up this "Internet".

    Perhaps military application, inherently holds such a repulsive connotation, that we tend to forget the driving force and clout that enabled tons of money to be "wasted" on the R&D required for such projects. Who has the money for such large scale projects? Yes, the Government. What is the most useful application? Sadly, military applications... not pet shampoo or a more efficient espresso machine.

    Becuase of this. I feel, that any person wishing to lock the government/military out of technology is only really biting the hand that fed them. Kinda like turning their back on their own parents in regards to their interests. It's not the best recognition to give, nor is it a decent "Thank You". I also think that becuase of how much research and development the military and government does for new technologies... locking them out will only increase the odds to say your idea will not have longevity whenever the government makes public a new technology to capitalize and market with.

    Just my thoughts... but, to each his own.
  • CC licenses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:33PM (#15906147) Homepage

    Ca. 2003, David Wiley at Creative Commons was pushing an idea for a CC license for educational use only. I participated in the discussion on the mailing list, and tried to persuade them that it was a bad idea. AFAIK it never happened. Part of the motivation seems to have been that some people were interested in preventing use by the military.

    One of the things I think is wrong with this kind of idea is that it becomes becomes hard to define. For instance, I have some textbooks I've written that are free on the web, and I often hear from homeschoolers who are using them. Does homeschooling count as educational use, and if so, where do you draw the line between educational use and use by just about any individual who wants to learn something? The wording of the GPU license is also going to create problems, for all the same reasons that generated good plots for Asimov's stories involving the laws of robotics.

    Another problem with this type of license is that it works against reuse. It balkanizes the world of free information so that you can't use information in new and crative ways.

    Anyone can apply any license they want to their own work, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea, or that it's easy to define or enforce the conditions.

  • Tempest in a teapot (Score:4, Informative)

    by deadline (14171) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:41PM (#15906203) Homepage

    The military people will probably laugh at this (should they even encounter it). First, there are very few High Performance Computing applications that can use this type of computer (For those that need some background please see Linux Cluster Urban Legends [clustermonkey.net] pay attention to the latency part -- there is a shower scene)

    Second, if the military had some use for this type of computing, they would either build their own software, hire someone to write it for them, or just buy a cluster. The administration and security headaches of a "open network p2p computer" certainly outweigh any advantages they would gain from this software.

    But, your software - your license.

  • by AJWM (19027) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:25PM (#15906589) Homepage
    Define "military use". Okay, they sort of did with their paraphrasing of Asimov's First Law of Robotics:

    "the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed."

    What about cases where those conditions are contradictory? For example, a case where the program could be used to protect humans from harm (in which case it must be run to avoid the "through inaction" part), but doing so might cause some other group of humans to be harmed?

    To take a clearly non-military case, suppose the software is used in a weather-forecasting system that determines an area must be evacuated -- and people are injured in the evacuation process? (Recall the bus fire during the evacuation ahead of Katrina).

    I could go on, but ultimately the clause is so vague and self-contradictory as to be unenforceable. Asimov made a nice living writing stories based on the inherent contradictions of his three laws, what makes anyone think that lawyers won't?
  • by HighOrbit (631451) * on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:32PM (#15906638)
    Are they not aware of the great things that have happened with UNIX once DARPA & BBN started funding the BSD extensions in v4.1 & v4.2? If the BSD Unix folks had this kind of thing in their licenses, then computing technology would have been set back by several years (and perhaps decades). So do they object to using TCP, hypertext (NLS was the precursor of http), and other technologies developed by DARPA? What if the military demands that its contractors reciprocate a la the GPL v3 retalitory patent clause, so that any project with this anti-military clause can not benefit from future military tech?

    BTW... lots of military research is not into direct weapons technology, but into more benign management tech because they have to deal with such hugh logistics and managment issues that make Fortune 100 companies look like small business.
  • by icebike (68054) * on Monday August 14, 2006 @07:41PM (#15907098)
    The license patch actually says


    "the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed."


    That obligates the program (by some unknown mechanisim) to jump to the defense of all people everywhere and anytime. To do else would be an inaction permitting humans to be harmed.


    Since no one has managed to encode Superman, or [insert favorite action hero], this essentially says that the software can't be used at all, and I hereby call upon the authors to scrap the entire project and erase all source code.

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

Working...