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New 'No Military Use' GPL For GPU 1109

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.
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New 'No Military Use' GPL For GPU

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  • by SWroclawski ( 95770 ) <> on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:54PM (#15905781) Homepage
    No, he doesn't. He actually mentiones military use as something he says that the GPL must support, since we want the best software working for our military, we'd hope they'd use GNU. He says this specificallly in a GPL3 talk.

    What he says there is that the license may be legally valid.

    The person whose saying he agrees with their goals is the OSI person, Russ Nelson, not RMS.

    Free Software must be Free Software for any use. It's a similar argument against commercial use, it's morally unacceptable to prevent anyone from using the software, commercially or militarily, or used in a classroom or by an individual.
  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:58PM (#15905809) Homepage Journal
    What do you think a phase conjugate tracking mirror is used for, Kent?

    The quote is "What do you think a secret phase conjugate tracking system is FOR? A big mirror makes a big beam." []


  • by legirons ( 809082 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:00PM (#15905833)
    "Rather naive, to believe that North Korea and Iran would abide by this "No Military Use" restriction."

    Or that the UK or USA militaries would let license agreements prevent them doing whatever they wanted: []

    e.g. remember the guy whose patented invention was used by the US Navy without being compensated for it?,1282,68894, 00.html?tw=wn_story_page_prev2 []

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:02PM (#15905861)

    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 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 []:

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

    by theStorminMormon ( 883615 ) <.theStorminMormon. .at.> on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:33PM (#15906144) Homepage Journal
    Ahh, the good old excluded middle.

    Don't make me laugh. The law of the excluded middle has nothing to do with this. Go back to your logic class.

    The proposition of pacifism is to NEVER use force. My response is "would you have used NO force in WW2?". I didn't ask "would you have firebombed Dresden". You can have a significant and interesting debate about Dresden, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima (to name a few), but none of this has to do with the question at hand - which is not "how much" violence, but "violence at all?"

  • 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 [] 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.

  • Re:Psssh. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stanistani ( 808333 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:51PM (#15906308) Homepage Journal
    >It wasn't the holocaust that finally justified us going to war, it was the intercepted memo sent to Mexico offering them Texas...

    Dude, that was World War One - google Zimmerman Telegram...
  • Re:Psssh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:53PM (#15906327)
    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), cared for the children, foraged for food that didn't try to gore you, and almost certainly did not risk their lives on a daily basis. They ran everything essentially. There is barely any evidence for wars between these ancient humans, or when homo sapiens lived alongside Neanderthal. This was the time when the female seems to have been the dominant partner.

    The only exception seems to have been when modern humans crossed into the americas over the land bridge and displaced a group of humans in south america who'd come up from australia. There is definate archeological evidence of the new arrivals killing off the previous occupants. Almost all of them, one group survived till the early 19th century, when we 'helped them' and wrecked an ancient culture before we understood its significance and real importance to understanding early human involvement in the americas. Hmm, one up for the civilised world there....

    What I'm getting at is that the ones in charge were not the ones who were doing all the fighting with meat that was inconveniently still packaged in its original owner. This whole 'men in charge' and wars thing is a relativelly new invention which likely followed the advent of farming.
  • by jcupitt65 ( 68879 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:03PM (#15906428)
    Orwell was writing about conditions in Britain during WW2: rather a specific time and place and not a comment on pacifisim in general.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:05PM (#15906445)
    What everyone completely ignores is that PGP is also supposed to have a "no military use" license. Odds are that you never heard of it, even if you're familiar with PGP.

    Don't believe me? Just go ask Kelly Goen. He's the person who paid for PGP's development, and the one who is responsible for its original release. There were two people hauled up in front of the Federal Grand Jury. Phil Z was one, Kelly was the other.

    The only way you'll find out about the original intention is by talking to Kelly directly. This was the original intent of the licensing. It has, of course, been completely ignored and subverted since then; and you'll find PGP used throughout the military.

  • Re:Psssh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Burz ( 138833 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:05PM (#15906446) Homepage Journal
    Poorer societies eat less meat because vegetables are a far more efficient use of resources. And like it or not, sustainability in agriculture points strongly to reducing meat consumption. So I am afraid you have this notion of dietary "luxury" completely backwards. ianism []

    (And please note the article is well-referenced.)
  • 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 :-).

  • Re:wankery indeed (Score:3, Informative)

    by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:48PM (#15906754) Homepage Journal

    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 he got started writing robot stories, he was most interested in writing stories that weren't about robotic terror machines going crazy. Many people were afraid of and felt threatened by robots in the 1950's.

    Developing the Three Laws of Robotics and treating them as un-breakable was a convenient way to put boundaries on things (without having to explain their implementation). It made it easier to justify his robots acting the way they did, creating new and interesting stories as a result. By the end of it, Asimov was also on record as saying something along the lines of that he thought he'd probably explored all the possibilities of how robots might react in different situations if they were constrained by these laws.

    Asimov was probably one of the earliest people to recognise that robots and machines could be beneficial to humanity, and didn't need to replace humanity. He got his message across by convincing people that they could be built with the primary intention of helping people. Trying to apply the laws to reality, however, is asking for trouble.

  • by Dlugar ( 124619 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @08:34PM (#15907339) Homepage
    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.
    I assume you're talking about Jews and the Torah?

  • by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:53PM (#15907684) Homepage
    You are however allowed to make your own license that says "this code is covered as per the terms of the GPL (see below) with the following additional restrictions and following additional exception" and then list any number of modifications (either additional restrictions like "no military use" or exceptions to copyright such as "you can link this code without giving away the source", following by an attachement of the unmodified GPL. This is done all the time.
  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:28PM (#15907861) Homepage

    If pacifists had had their way, Hitler would have had a damn site more than "a small corner of the world".

    Not at all. Hitlers held Germany and Austria, a good chunk of central europe, a tiny portion of the globe. His ambition was to overrun eastern europe - Bohemia, Poland, and all the way to Moscow. And that meant he had to fight Stalin.

    Remember Stalin? At least as evil as Hitler, at least as mean, at least as ambitious. Those two were heading for a fight, no two ways about it, and pity all the poor folks stuck between them, to be sure, but no one else had to be involved. Left to their own devices, they would have ground each other to Hamburger, and whichever one 'won' would have been left too weak to be much of a threat to the rest of the world anyway.

    British fighting spirit was not enough alone to keep the Nazi's out of UK.

    Britain (and France!) should have stayed out of it in the first place. Since their politicians were far too greedy for glory to do that and insisted on jumping into a fight that was far beyond their weightclass, yes, they would have gone down eventually. Even so, the addition of a little Island in the north sea, and even the more substantial chunk of western europe that is France, to Germany and Austria would hardly have transformed Hitlers Reich into a global Empire. Europe is a small percentage of Earth's landmass.

    With Britain out of the picture and America still pacifist there's no Western front. The Soviet army managed to stop the German onslaught by a whisker. Given the complete attention of the Germany army, not to mention the finest German commanders like Rommel who would no longer be dueling the Brist in North Africa, the USSR would have fallen.

    A possible, though I would say far from assured, conclusion. And? This would be a bad thing?

    Think about it.

    Is this your idea of a "small corner of the world"? At this point Germany would have contolled everything form the UK to China to S. Africa.

    Not at all. First you're exagerating the land area considerably (the Soviets never controlled China, just Siberia, which is a totally different thing - and even if the Germans had managed to destroy the Soviet army and taken Moscow, that's still a very long, cold journey from Kamchatka) - you've gone from 'defeated the red army' to 'controls all the territory of the soviet union' in one huge, unwarranted leap.

    Had the Germans taken Moscow, what that would have bought them is not control over that vast territory - an asset, as you're conceiving it. You're making the same basic mistake, predicated it would seem on the same basic misunderstanding, Hitler did in conceiving this plan. Think about this - did the conquest of Holland make Germany stronger? How about Belgium? France? Bohemia? Poland? Were those, in the end, assets to the third Reich? Quite the contrary, they were liabilities. In each case, and if you'll study history a bit you'll see this is hardly exceptional, these conquests were at least as much liability as asset. In each case, territory was added, yes, but that territory was occupied by a hostile population. Resistance cells formed immediately. Germany had limited manpower and limited resources, and each conquest stretched her thinner, because hostile populations cannot be trusted, they must be occupied, patrolled, kept under heel firmly or they bite back. This is the weakness of Empire. Germany barely managed to keep something resembling control of France and the low countries for a few years. The Soviet Union? Russia alone is over 6.5 million square miles and the full Soviet Union was a good deal more than that! This is hundreds of thousands of people, several times the population of Germany, spread over a VASTLY larger area. Germany trying to control Russia, even if a military conquest was accomplished, would be something like a dog trying to hold a bear pinned. An exhausting

  • Re:Psssh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by ktakki ( 64573 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:29PM (#15907868) Homepage Journal
    You think Japan invaded China (1930s) because they didn't like the Chinese? They didn't care about the Chinese - they wanted oil.

    No, not oil, but other important resource: raw materials, food, and labor. The known deposits of oil in Asia were mostly in the Dutch colonies in Indonesia. Japan was largely self-sufficient until the industrialization of the late 19th Century. Industrialization led to two things: a population boom and a movement from rural to urban areas. After 1900, Japan was hard pressed to feed itself (manifested in widespread malnutrition during the Allied blockade late in WWII) and did not have adequate supplies of coal and ore.

    Japanese imperialism was apparent long before the 1930s: Japan forced China to cede Taiwan in 1895.

    Japanese contempt for the Chinese made it all to easy to commit atrocities like the Rape of Nanking and the war crimes of Unit 714.

  • by jesup ( 8690 ) * <> on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:41PM (#15907921) Homepage
    Umm... That clause doesn't fly legally. IANAL, but the GPL is a restriction on distribution, not on use. As such, adding a clause restricting use probably has no real effect. The GPL is not a EULA, and so it's hard/impossible to turn it into one. You could add a separate EULA, but that would probably require a different framework, etc.
  • Re:Psssh. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:25AM (#15908625)
    whereas all other Europeans powers of that time of course were allowed to do the same in Asia (and had been doing that for 400 years). Rember that for some Japanese the war was an attempt to free asian people from the suppression by western powers. They were actually doing a noble thing. However, was being war, it always turns out gory. Which is why i think you should never even consider such option (hint for the people who thought attacking IRAQ was a good idea: learn your history). And I also don't want to say that there were not many 1st class villians in Japan designing this war for less noble purposes (like oil, and money and power, where did we heard that before).

    History is written by the winners. And all wars are full of violence. Even Americans did there share of pillaging and murdering.

    Point being, the fact that they were doing these things had _nothing_ to do with the real reason the US wanted to attack Japan, long before Pearl Harbor. It was a damn nice excuse to give to the public for getting involved though.

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.