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Open Source Code And War

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the four-star-specific dept.

United States 923

"Should Open Source developers help the U.S. prepare for war with Iraq?" Roblimo has a piece on NewsForge which addresses that question by showing a specific way that the U.S. military is using Free and Open Source software (in simulator-based training for Blackhawk helicopters), and letting one of the developers involved speak for himself. If software is Free, doesn't that already answer the question of who can use it?

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muslims are all evil! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388265)

do not trust them!

Re:muslims are all evil! (1, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388273)

...and you wonder why Islamic fundamentalists say the same of Americans.

Re:muslims are all evil! (2, Insightful)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388347)

and you wonder why Islamic fundamentalists say the same of Americans.

Actually, they say the same of Americans because they are highly intolerant of other cultures and religons.

I would know, I've been to Saudi Arabia and seen this intolerance first hand. Ever been to a shopping mall in SA? They typically have a government kiosk in the center which speaks of the US, Capitalism, and Christians in a most poisonous manner. Quite ironic considering their malls are populated with American brand stores (e.g. The Gap, Nike, etc.)

Re:muslims are all evil! (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388426)

Yes, but US opinion is largely in favour of attacking Iraq since some americans have the unfounded belief that every muslim is a terrorist. Not very tollerant is it?

I take your point about US goods, when they found alqueda's computers they were running Windows on Intel/AMD processors. Hmm maybe that's why they hate the US, for producing Windows? :)

Re:muslims are all evil! (3, Insightful)

1000101 (584896) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388451)

"Yes, but US opinion is largely in favour of attacking Iraq since some americans have the unfounded belief that every muslim is a terrorist. Not very tollerant is it?"

I think you have it all wrong. It's not that Americans believe every muslim is a terroist, rather it's Americans believe that every terrorist is a muslim. HUGE difference there and I still can't figure out why I don't see muslim leaders around the world standing up against terrorism.

Re:muslims are all evil! (4, Funny)

st0rmcold (614019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388479)

In Canada we have the same sort of kiosk's to talk about the US.

It's called a hockey game

yah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388271)

frist post

Re:yah (-1, Troll)

invader_allan (583758) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388288)

no fair i saw it first }8^)>

Ender's game (5, Funny)

SnowDeath (157414) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388276)

Now, if only they would distribute the software for the simulators or even run "Arcades" with networks of these thing setup, we could have 8 year old fighter veterans!

Yup! Not good at all... (4, Funny)

Greger47 (516305) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388281)

Now the Iraqi pilots get get up to snuff in their large fleet of Blackhawk choppers using US simulators!

Re:Yup! Not good at all... (5, Funny)

knightinshiningarmor (653332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388317)

"Mr. Hussein! We're running out of quarters for our helicopters!"

Re:Yup! Not good at all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388461)

In the modern world...
Leaders settle their differences...
with words...
words like...

(cue metal music)


Not with my source codes! (-1, Interesting)

cronostitan (573676) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388285)

Fortunately even if a source code is free i can add to the free license that the code mustnt be used in any military projects or projects related to non-civil actions at all. And i will do that from this point in time!

Re:Not with my source codes! (3, Informative)

brejc8 (223089) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388306)

I was under the impression that GPL and a few other licences do not allow the imposition of other rules.

open source doesn't mean gpl (4, Insightful)

Purificator (462832) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388406)

he can design his own open source license, if he so chooses.

i'd be vaguely disturbed if something i wrote went toward killing people, but how you deal with that as a developer would be your choice. ultimately you can't control how people use your code once you release it. after all, the government could choose to ignore his "CUL (civil use license)" and who could stop them? who's to say that windows xp doesn't contain half the linux kernel in it? theft is one advantage of having the closed end of a closed source program.

Re:Not with my source codes! (4, Interesting)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388321)

Fortunately even if a source code is free i can add to the free license that the code mustnt be used in any military projects or projects related to non-civil actions at all. And i will do that from this point in time!

Now you taint the ability for Governments to switch to linux and escape the Microsoft licenses propogating less freedom in the world.

Congratulations on helping destroy the goal of Free software. I only hope no one uses your projects anyway. Open your eyes to the big picture.

Re:Not with my source codes! (0, Flamebait)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388433)

Yea, its worth it if my software helps kill people so long as it hurts Microsoft. You realy need to figure out whos side your on, its us VS Microsoft, everything else is just collateral damage.

Re:Not with my source codes! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388340)

And the next guy who comes along doesn't like the military or governement, so restricts the usage from both of them.

Next guy doesn't like the military, the government, corporations or any incorporated businesses. So he restricts usage to all of them.

The next person doesn't like homosexuals or mexicans and restricts the usage from them.

Lets not start a vicious cycle, keep free software free for everyone. Period.

"Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right"

Re:Not with my source codes! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388374)

Lets not start a vicious cycle, keep free software free for everyone. Period.

Exactly. A license that restricts what can be done with software does no good for anyone. This is why the GPL is a useless license.

Re:Not with my source codes! (2, Insightful)

geeber (520231) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388345)

That is all very well and good. You can probably add whatever clauses you want to a licence. But how well would that actually hold water once the lawyers got involved?

If you really want to retain that sort of control over the source, then you probably have to close the source.

Re:Not with my source codes! (3, Insightful)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388353)

Will you change your license if you happen to agree with a specific war? For example, what if a foreign country's military was actively killing your neighbors and/or family?

--sex []

Re:Not with my source codes! (4, Funny)

charon_on_acheron (519983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388487)

Better watch out there. You are coming close to mentioning a certain time in history with a certain war started by a certain leader of a certain country that did certain things to certain people in certain parts of the world. And once you do that someone gets to say "You lose." I know it's a strange rule, but that's how everyone else plays.

Re:Not with my source codes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388500)

if you are enough brain damaged to agree with a war, your code probably sucks.

Re:Not with my source codes! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388366)

I hope not. No one has enough traction to stay on that slope for long.

Re:Not with my source codes! (2, Insightful)

jgerman (106518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388369)

Then you won't be distributing Open Source software, and it won't be GPL. If that's acceptable to you, fine write your own license. I'm (mostly) against war, however, restricting the use of the code instantly invalidates it as Open Source.

Re:Not with my source codes! (3, Insightful)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388408)

You can do whatever you want with your code! But if it has such a restriction, it ain't GPL, and it fails many definitions of "open".

Re:Not with my source codes! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388424)

Is the NSA a civil or military use?

You'll have to define your terms.

If you address one, you implicitly exclude
the other. E.g., "The U.S. Army can't use
this" can be read to say "... but the Navy can."

Also, can NASA use your software?

Their flights are actually classified as
military operations according to the FAA.

Re:Not with my source codes! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388430)

What makes you think that the military would want your crappy code? I've seen your code and it SUCKS!

Re:Not with my source codes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388470)

Why don't you just put "no terrorists can use this software" to your licence? (As if they'll follow your instructions.)

If your code is so important that the military would want to use it, chances are, militant terrorists would want to use it to. They'll use it reguardless of the license, and the only group to be put at a "disadvantage" is the military.

moron trusting forged sorces (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388286)

coming out of yOUR .asp.

The United States of America saw protests from coast to coast in over 100 cities nationwide. New York City was paralyzed by over a million marchers. San Francisco was taken over by well over 200,000 protesters, and Los Angeles saw over 100,000 people take to the streets. Thousands upon thousands joined them in Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle.

This was a gathering of ordinary citizens who came together in the streets of the world in an organized event that has no precedent in all of human history. They were brought together by a global word-of-mouth activism rooted entirely in the Internet. Were it not for this planetary connection, no such coordination could have ever taken place. Once upon a time, the world wide web was a realm dominated by dreams of profit and marketing. Those dreams have soured, leaving behind a marvelous network now utilized by very average people who can, with the click of a button, bring forth from all points on the compass a roaring deluge of humanity to stand against craven injustice and ruinous war.

The weekend of February 15th saw this force ram headlong into the will of men who walk in shadow, whose hands wield lightning and steel, pestilence and famine. In their ranks stand Presidents, Prime Ministers, corporate magnates, untouchable billionaires, and the advisors who whisper to them of empire and domination. They are few in number, but life and death flows from their fingertips in freshets and gouts. These men control the armies and navies of great nations, nuclear and chemical nightmares beyond measure, unassailable technological weapons and walls, the financial cords which hold the package together, the water, the air, the oil, the law, and a global media machine by which they can obscure their designs with pleasing lies.

No mere citizen could do what these men in one moment can do with the crooking of a little finger. With a word, they can erase cities, deprive an entire populace of water and light, unleash disease and famine, annihilate the economies of dozens of nations, and imprison forever anyone who dares dissent. These men bleed, they sicken, they die, but in their time of life they can punch holes in the sky large enough to make Zeus wince with envy. Like the millions who marched, the gathering of such fearful powers into the hands of so few is also without precedent in all of human history.

There was, among the millions who stormed the planet last weekend, a misconception that masked the true reason for their presence in the streets. A great many people believe this looming war with Iraq is about old grudges and oil. There is logic in this; Iraq has the second largest proven stores of precious petroleum in the world, and there is a definite history of malice between House Bush and House Hussein. The truth of the matter is far more broad and deep, belittling all talk of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and even oil. The men who pursue their goals by way of this war have a great many desires on their minds, and once more, they have the will to attain these goals by whatever means is required.

Were the protesters fully aware of whom they faced, a good many of them may well have fled in terror to cower in their homes. One does not lightly bait a bear with such terrible claws.

Does this all sound like some paranoid fantasy? If so, allow me to introduce The Project for the New American Century.

The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is a Washington-based think tank created in 1997. Above all else, PNAC desires and demands one thing: The establishment of a global American empire to bend the will of all nations. They chafe at the idea that the United States, the last remaining superpower, does not do more by way of economic and military force to bring the rest of the world under the umbrella of a new socio-economic Pax Americana.

The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology can be found in a White Paper produced in September of 2000 entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." In it, PNAC outlines what is required of America to create the global empire they envision. According to PNAC, America must:

* Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East;

* Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft, submarine and surface fleet capabilities;

* Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a strategic dominance of space;

* Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;

* Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, up from the 3 percent currently spent.

Most ominously, this PNAC document described four "Core Missions" for the American military. The two central requirements are for American forces to "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars," and to "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions." Note well that PNAC does not want America to be prepared to fight simultaneous major wars. That is old school. In order to bring this plan to fruition, the military must fight these wars one way or the other to establish American dominance for all to see.

Why is this important? After all, wacky think tanks are a cottage industry in Washington, DC. They are a dime a dozen. In what way does PNAC stand above the other groups that would set American foreign policy if they could?

Two events brought PNAC into the mainstream of American government: the disputed election of George W. Bush, and the attacks of September 11th. When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men saw, at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into substantive policy.

Vice President Dick Cheney is a founding member of PNAC, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the ideological father of the group. Bruce Jackson, a PNAC director, served as a Pentagon official for Ronald Reagan before leaving government service to take a leading position with the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

PNAC is staffed by men who previously served with groups like Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America, which supported America's bloody gamesmanship in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and with groups like The Committee for the Present Danger, which spent years advocating that a nuclear war with the Soviet Union was "winnable."

PNAC has recently given birth to a new group, The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which met with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in order to formulate a plan to "educate" the American populace about the need for war in Iraq. CLI has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to support the Iraqi National Congress and the Iraqi heir presumptive, Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court in 1992 to 22 years in prison for bank fraud after the collapse of Petra Bank, which he founded in 1977. Chalabi has not set foot in Iraq since 1956, but his Enron-like business credentials apparently make him a good match for the Bush administration's plans.

PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report is the institutionalization of plans and ideologies that have been formulated for decades by the men currently running American government. The PNAC Statement of Principles is signed by Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as well as by Eliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, and many others. William Kristol, famed conservative writer for the Weekly Standard, is also a co-founder of the group. The Weekly Standard is owned by Ruppert Murdoch, who also owns international media giant Fox News

The desire for these freshly empowered PNAC men to extend American hegemony by force of arms across the globe has been there since day one of the Bush administration, and is in no small part a central reason for the Florida electoral battle in 2000. Note that while many have said that Gore and Bush are ideologically identical, Mr. Gore had no ties whatsoever to the fellows at PNAC. George W. Bush had to win that election by any means necessary, and PNAC signatory Jeb Bush was in the perfect position to ensure the rise to prominence of his fellow imperialists. Desire for such action, however, is by no means translatable into workable policy. Americans enjoy their comforts, but don't cotton to the idea of being some sort of Neo-Rome.

On September 11th, the fellows from PNAC saw a door of opportunity open wide before them, and stormed right through it.

Bush released on September 20th 2002 the "National Security Strategy of the United States of America." It is an ideological match to PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report issued a year earlier. In many places, it uses exactly the same language to describe America's new place in the world. Recall that PNAC demanded an increase in defense spending to at least 3.8% of GDP. Bush's proposed budget for next year asks for $379 billion in defense spending, almost exactly 3.8% of GDP.

In August of 2002, Defense Policy Board chairman and PNAC member Richard Perle heard a policy briefing from a think tank associated with the Rand Corporation. According to the Washington Post and The Nation, the final slide of this presentation described "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot, and Egypt as the prize" in a war that would purportedly be about ridding the world of Saddam Hussein's weapons. Bush has deployed massive forces into the Mideast region, while simultaneously engaging American forces in the Philippines and playing nuclear chicken with North Korea. Somewhere in all this lurks at least one of the "major theater wars" desired by the September 2002 PNAC report.

Iraq is but the beginning, a pretense for a wider conflict. Donald Kagan, a central member of PNAC, sees America establishing permanent military bases in Iraq after the war. This is purportedly a measure to defend the peace in the Middle East, and to make sure the oil flows. The nations in that region, however, will see this for what it is: a jump-off point for American forces to invade any nation in that region they choose to. The American people, anxiously awaiting some sort of exit plan after America defeats Iraq, will see too late that no exit is planned.

All of the horses are traveling together at speed here. The defense contractors who sup on American tax revenue will be handsomely paid for arming this new American empire. The corporations that own the news media will sell this eternal war at a profit, as viewership goes through the stratosphere when there is combat to be shown. Those within the administration who believe that the defense of Israel is contingent upon laying waste to every possible aggressor in the region will have their dreams fulfilled. The PNAC men who wish for a global Pax Americana at gunpoint will see their plans unfold. Through it all, the bankrollers from the WTO and the IMF will be able to dictate financial terms to the entire planet. This last aspect of the plan is pivotal, and is best described in the newly revised version of Greg Palast's masterpiece, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."

There will be adverse side effects. The siege mentality average Americans are suffering as they smother behind yards of plastic sheeting and duct tape will increase by orders of magnitude as our aggressions bring forth new terrorist attacks against the homeland. These attacks will require the implementation of the newly drafted Patriot Act II, an augmentation of the previous Act that has profoundly sharper teeth. The sun will set on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The American economy will be ravaged by the need for increased defense spending, and by the aforementioned "constabulary" duties in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Former allies will turn on us. Germany, France and the other nations resisting this Iraq war are fully aware of this game plan. They are not acting out of cowardice or because they love Saddam Hussein, but because they mean to resist this rising American empire, lest they face economic and military serfdom at the hands of George W. Bush. Richard Perle has already stated that France is no longer an American ally. As the eagle spreads its wings, our rhetoric and their resistance will become more agitated and dangerous.

Many people, of course, will die. They will die from war and from want, from famine and disease. At home, the social fabric will be torn in ways that make the Reagan nightmares of crack addiction, homelessness and AIDS seem tame by comparison.

This is the price to be paid for empire, and the men of PNAC who now control the fate and future of America are more than willing to pay it. For them, the benefits far outweigh the liabilities.

The plan was running smoothly until those two icebergs collided. Millions and millions of ordinary people are making it very difficult for Bush's international allies to keep to the script. PNAC may have designs for the control of the "International Commons" of the internet, but for now it is the staging ground for a movement that would see empire take a back seat to a wise peace, human rights, equal protection under the law, and the preponderance of a justice that will, if properly applied, do away forever with the anger and hatred that gives birth to terrorism in the first place.

Tommaso Palladini of Milan perhaps said it best as he marched with his countrymen in Rome. "You fight terrorism," he said, "by creating more justice in the world."

The People versus the Powerful is the oldest story in human history. At no point in history have the Powerful wielded so much control. At no point in history has the active and informed involvement of the People, all of them, been more absolutely required. The tide can be stopped, and the men who desire empire by the sword can be thwarted. It has already begun, but it must not cease. These are men of will, and they do not intend to fail.


William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.

Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.

Re:moron trusting forged sorces (1)

husker_man (473297) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388404)

Sounds like the author of this long diatribe has as much in common with these people as those who subscribe to the John Birch Society or who see the Trilateralist Commission as running the U.S.

open (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388289)

What part of OPEN do you not understand?

Galactic War (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388291)

I'd rather wage way in Master of Orion [] . Pre-ordered already! w00t!

probably not (0, Troll)

sstory (538486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388292)

I mean, if they need to cut and paste from one app to another, or easily manage printers, or add and remove hardware frequently, or do things without having to spend large amounts of time learning arcane info, they should use Windows.

I see. (2, Funny)

JWyner (653364) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388402)

And then have the blackhawk control software crash, like the new 7-series BMW control software?

That could be interesting... a "possessed" Blackhawk bombing random targets and crashing into buildings...

Re:probably not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388409)

Unfortunately I have no modpoints, troll.

Article slashdotted (-1, Informative)

Mdog (25508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388294)

Looks like it's slashdotted. Here's the text:

Free Software and GPL supporters (and many coders) are virulently anti-war, and many are specifically against the U.S. invading Iraq. One well-regarded project, Bluefish, has a link on its site to an anti-war page. Could the use of popular GPL and Free Software packages in what many people overseas view as the "U.S. War Machine" cause strife and dissension among Free Software developers?

In another interesting question to the free source movement, one has to wonder whether using or participating in slashdot is a reasonable thing to do, given slashdot's editors history of censorship and secrecy.

Awtrey: I think the debate has caused strife and dissension in groups with less cohesion than Free Software / Open Source groups have. The chance of us avoiding some level of public debate on the issue seems unavoidable.

The war issue has an amazing ability to polarize opinion. There are people with good hearts and good intentions on both sides. My wife was born in Iraq and her family moved here to escape Saddam and the Baath party 30 years ago.

This makes the issue especially touchy around here.

She and her family hate Saddam. They have stories that would curl your toes about him and his psychopathic offspring Uday. It is not uncommon for people who make a quiet joke at a party on Friday to disappear with all their family, including cousins, before the weekend is over. They have no due process, they have no court to appeal to, the people are simply gone and never come back.

NewsForge: I take it, then, that you and your wife have no problem with the U.S. invading Iraq?

Awtrey: When people tell me that civilians will die in a war, I tell them that Saddam has already spilled more Iraqi blood than any aggressor. He is not a polite, reasonable man. He kills without thought. His son Uday rapes little girls and chops off the heads of prostitutes on the street.

War or no war, this man needs killing like a rabid dog. And Iraq needs to be free.

My wife, Hala, doesn't like George Bush Sr. or Jr. She remembers a time when George Bush Sr. was at the CIA and paid Saddam during the war with Iran. That war would be like a war between Florida and Georgia. Most of the actual people of the countries are related in some way. Politics aside, if there were a button she could push and kill just Saddam, she or any member of her family would push it. It's a hard decision when you know "the Iraqi people" as cousins, aunts, uncles, and have to risk them to save the country in the long term. She doesn't want her family hurt any more by anyone. Saddam is a little hurt every day, the war is a larger hurt, but likely a shorter period of time. The devil you know? The devil you don't? It's a hard choice.

NewsForge:The problem -- to some -- with GPL-licensed software is the fact that anyone can use it. How would you feel seeing some of your code used by Saddam Hussein's people. Or Osama bin Laden's? Or by the Chinese government to help prevent full Internet access?

Awtrey: No clear opinions yet.

I know there have been reports of them using PGP / GPG to encrypt messages. That has to give Phil Zimmermann the shivers sometimes. One of the things life in America has taught me is that the words spoken by a racist skinhead are just as important as the words I speak. It doesn't mean I agree with them, it means that the right to speak is important, not what is said. If Free Software is about Free Speech, then we have to suck up the fact that people will use our code for things we don't agree with. I don't agree with drug use, but that doesn't stop drug dealers from using Apache or Mozilla or GPG. I can only state what I am for; peace, goodness, truth.

I am with a crowd of people making statements. I hope that the sounds we make together are mostly peace, goodness, truth when heard by others, but all I can control is my own voice.

Article NOT slashdotted (0)

missing000 (602285) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388386)

I call bullshit. It works fine for me.

Re:Article slashdotted (1)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388412)

The article is not slashdotted, and your text is not from any of the linked articles.

Mod parent DOWN -- It's NOT slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388419)

The article is NOT slashdotted -- it works fine. Besides, if you are going to cut-and-paste the story to help others, you should do it ANONYMOUSLY! This is the most blatant attempt at karma whoring I've seen in quite awhile. Mods, please cut him down to teach him and others a lesson!

Re:Mod parent DOWN -- It's NOT slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388447)

hahaha - you fag, you fell victim to one of the oldest tricks in the book! Of course it's not slashdotted - it's on NewForge's server which is part of the OSDN network! you fucking retard.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388472)

There is a link in this post. Please mod it down so other /. readers aren't tricked into viewing it.

A double-edged sword... (5, Insightful)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388295)

Obviously, you have no claim as to what your software can and cannot be used for if you release it out into the world. Whether or not you believe the upcoming war with Iraq is justified or not, it doesn't stop the software they use from being used.

This is a completely moot issue, but it is good for discussion I suppose. The thing that should not be seen is exclusion clauses from the GPL and other open source licenses. I would hate to see "This software may not be used for military purposes" because that will lead down a path that is more counter-productive. Would you rather have the military and government using open source software or Microsoft?

Code audits are important when using software for military purposes, to ensure that everything is accurate. Whether it's personnel tracking, mission tracking, or simulation software, accuracy is important. Maybe my view is just tainted because I'm finding myself leaning more toward the pro-War campaign...

Re:A double-edged sword... (1)

namespan (225296) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388418)

Maybe my view is just tainted because I'm finding myself leaning more toward the pro-War campaign...

I'm against the Iraq war as it looks like it would be currently conducted and justified, but I agree. Not letting your code be licensed for that use would do little good -- it would simply increase defense budgets and decrease auditability as closed source code was used.

I'm not saying you have to begin work on device drivers for a tank right now, or release IraqSim to the world. I'm saying that the idea that not releasing code to the world will make a difference is probably not particularly sound.

The only exception I can thinkg of is if you've come up with something truly unique. And if it's that unique and dangerous, you shouldn't release the idea at all, because one way or another, someone powerful will get their hands on/mind around it and use it with or without your permission.

Re:A double-edged sword... (1)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388493)

The only exception I can thinkg of is if you've come up with something truly unique. And if it's that unique and dangerous, you shouldn't release the idea at all, because one way or another, someone powerful will get their hands on/mind around it and use it with or without your permission.

This goes into the "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should" philosophies. The important thing to realize is that even though you have thought of it, someone else may have as well. The permissions of it are exactly right, even if you release something and say "Iraq, Al Qaeda, etc. can't use it," what makes them keep their word? I think that would fall low on the list of things to go after.

Re:A double-edged sword... (-1, Offtopic)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388444)

Can't the government still just use any civilian software/patents/etc however they want? Have you guys seen the movie Armageddon? In Armageddon, the military steals Bruce Willis' drill designs, and they claim they did it legally.

--sex []

Re:A double-edged sword... (1)

privacyt (632473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388482)

Would you rather have the military and government using open source software or Microsoft?

I'd rather see them use buggy Microsoft software, of course. In the case of IRS, that means they'll forget I owe taxes. If military used M$ software, that means some bombs might miss the Iraqi cities and instead land harmlessly in the desert, thus saving civilian lives.

This is a bunch of crap. (5, Insightful)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388300)

Give me a break. Developers aren't helping the "U.S. go to war with Iraq" they're developing software. I'm sure terrorists somewhere have an apache webserver running, it's not like the "developers helped them become terrorists by giving them a tool to create a membership database."

Software is software, open source software shouldn't try to control who uses it (other than stopping someone else for breaking the GPL) or for what purpose.

Re:This is a bunch of crap. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388460)

Bah. Real terrorists use IIS and you know it.

[posted anonymously for fear of anti-anti-M$ backlash] ;)

Is there anything to discuss. (5, Insightful)

bmongar (230600) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388301)

I don't want to write open source code becasue somebody may use it for evil.

I won't want to work for a corporation because they may exploit someone.

I don't want to sell hammers because someone could hit someone else with it.

Let's face it. If you are doing anything at all productive in society somebody can use that to their benifit in a way that you may not agree with.

Re:Is there anything to discuss. (1)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388499)

I agree... it kind of goes down a path like this:
I will only buy vegetarian products that are grown, distributed, and sold by vegetarians.
As much as I'd like to do the above, it simply cannot be done. However! This doesn't mean I have to like it! Sometimes complaining does work.

--sex []

BlackHawk crashes (1)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388304)

Tongue in cheek, but is this a good thing for OS when blackhawks have been crashing a lot recently?

Re:BlackHawk crashes (1)

aborchers (471342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388443)

Equally tongue-in-cheek: The real question is whether the simulators have been crashing, isn't it?

Open source hippies (1)

shish (588640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388305)

Isn't open source, GPL, et al supposed to be a digital hippie movement? Peace dudes!

Interesting licensing idea.... (2, Interesting)

jhouserizer (616566) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388307)

This leads to an interesting idea of Open Source licensing...

Does anyone know of an OSS license that includes some statement to the effect of: "This software is free for use, redistribution, and modification by any entity for any purpose, as long as any form of it is never used for military purposes." ???

Re:Interesting licensing idea.... (2, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388414)

RMS has fought this issue many times, and pleaded people not to do this.
It will become a mess if people start adding lines that match their own agendas. "People who kill cannot use this" "People who are gay.." "People who voted bush.." and so on.

Re:Interesting licensing idea.... (1)

donutello (88309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388437)

How about we change that to what you really mean?

This software is free for use, redistribution and modification by any entity for any purpose as long as any form of it is never used to do something we don't like

First you exclude military purposes, then you exclude people who indulge in kiddie-porn or hate speech, then anti-abortionists, and so on...

Freedom is freedom. Freedom with restrictions is not freedom.

Re:Interesting licensing idea.... (4, Insightful)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388466)

Does anyone know of an OSS license that includes some statement to the effect of: "This software is free for use, redistribution, and modification by any entity for any purpose, as long as any form of it is never used for military purposes."

No, and that's probably because such a clause would be impossible to define. For example, let's say such a clause was added to Apache.

Would that mean that the Army couldn't host their website on Apache? Probably. Would that mean that Boeing couldn't host their website on Apache? They make both civilian and military products. What about steel importers, who don't know where their product goes? It is reasonable to consider that their product would be used in the war machine, but has significant peacetime uses as well.

Bottom line: if you want to keep control of your code, and be able to dictate what is done with it, you need to keep it closed source. When you Open a door, you don't get to decide who walks in; that's the very reason that doors were invented in the first place.

Re:Interesting licensing idea.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388468)

Not really open source as 'officially' defined,
but warftp has a license like that.
Free for everyone in the general public. Not
available for governments.
Last version is GPL but it's not really
usable for now...

Oh come on (4, Insightful)

JSkills (69686) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388316)

That's like saying you support Free Speech - except when you say something I don't agree with.

Non-issue ...

Re:Oh come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388416)

No, it's like saying I support Free Speech - except when you use it to murder thousands of people for dubious, at best, reasons.

Re:Oh come on (1)

JSkills (69686) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388457)

Yes but the very fact that your opinion is subjective (rather than objective) negates your argument. Free speech is either free or it isn't. Same goes for Open Source.

Yes, yes it does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388318)

If it's under the standard sorts of open source licenses, then, yes, it's already answered. If some hippies and/or Frenchies want to make a peaceful purposes only license, well, then they can, and they can release software under it.

Anyone means anyone. (5, Insightful)

shokk (187512) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388320)

Although we can't perceive the use that code might have 100 years in the future (if any), developers should at least think about who might use their code when they make it open. Are there any licenses that restrict the military from using the code the way commercial entities are sometimes limited by certain licenses? Is it the place of the developer to show that bias? Does anyone really have the illusion that a government in North Korea or anywhere else is going to give a rat's ass about how a developer in Kansas wants his code used?

I don't think this faults the developers at all. This is like making knives; you can eat with it or you can butcher with it. The responsibility is up to the user.

Freedom (5, Insightful)

Apro+im (241275) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388333)

The problem with freedom - be it of speech or of software - is that you don't get to choose who you grant it to - otherwise it is no longer freedom.

You can choose not to give it to your enemies, but what's to stop you from arbitrarily dciding that your enemies are everyone except a select few.

There is always a responsibility that goes along with any project you work on - but it will get done with or without you. Ask Oppenheimer or Feynman or Einstein.

Kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388335)


obvious response (1)

lfourrier (209630) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388336)

<i>Should Open Source developers help the U.S. prepare for war with Iraq?</i>
Open source developper develop according to a licence. If certain uses are not ok with them, they can a licence like java, preventing usage where human life could be endangered (nuclear facilities, medical...).
If they release free software, anybody is free to use and modify it.
Now, placing restriction again use of software by some 'evil' organization, those organisations being, depending of the point of view, Osama bin Laden's crew, or Irak, or the US Army, is no longuer doing free software.

You bet! (1)

grep_a_life (234527) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388343)

Being open source, who could even restrict it's usage? Well, we can bitch all we want if open-source is used for "controversial" issues, but that just says that open source is not that open at all. So do we start putting in "fine print (tm)" with the GPL licensing?

Worse case scenario in history. What do you think Einstein went through when other people expounded on his work and eventually created the nuclear bomb? He didn't like it one bit but there you go...

Re:You bet! (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388459)

Ok number one, expounded... not the word you're looking for. Number two, Einstein was barely even marginally responsible for the development of the bomb. He just happened to be the one pesuaded to write the letter to Roosevelt.

And three, you are absolutely right, even if you communicated it badly ;)

Software licenses (2, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388346)

In terms of software licenses, which doesn't fully cover the question, but..:

RMS is very clear on this, and for those who don't agree with him (which seems to be the latest fad) many others have to.

You should not keep let politics like this get in the way. There was a particular project that released there code under a license that was basically GPL'ed but with a line saying that it was not to be used by terrorists and not to be used to help kill people. RMS really disliked the license, and argued that such lines are impossible to define.

Boring stuff. Dumb article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388352)

God this article is BORING.

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On Socially Responsible Programming (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388354)

I just found some remarks by Eric S. Raymond on socially responsible programming [] . Very interesting.

give me a break..... (4, Insightful)

nebenfun (530284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388358)

Closed and opensource software will both be used for good and with it.

Opensource encryption software can be used to protect liberties and the prying eyes of big government. It can also be used to hide child porn or terrorist activities...
should we abolish the encryption software just because it can be used for evil?

I'd really hate to see a new modified license that restricts use of software based on political bias.

What kind of a question is this? (1)

bee-yotch (323219) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388360)

How about:
"Should Open Source developers help the Iraq prepare for war with U.S.?"

Like come on, open source developers live in Iraq too, don't they?

Software doesn't kill people... (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388361)

People kill people, religion gives people the reason to do it. We create our own differences, hatred is a state of mind etc...

Anyway why Iraq is singled out I don't know, especially when North Korea launched a missile as a demonstration of the US visit to Japan. That's agressive behaviour, something Saddam hasn't engaged in recently anyway.

Re:Software doesn't kill people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388478)

>religion gives people the reason to do it
That's one of the most stupid marxist slogans anyone could ever say. Sometimes religion gives people EXCUSES to kill people.

Some terrorists use unique views of some religion to kill. But it could be anything else. The Colombian FARC's use the opression rethoric to "justify" terrorism. Unfortunately, the president of Brazil seems to LIKE them, because he didn't want to accept the Colombian President's request to consider the terrorist FARC's a terrorist group (!!!).

Military Censorship (2, Interesting)

secolactico (519805) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388365)

I understand that the goverment can declare something classified for defense purposes (or somesuch). Haven't they done this with books and research. Could they declare classified a pice of GPL software for "national security reasons".

I don't live in the US, so its a bit of a gray area for me.

Re:Military Censorship (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388497)

Could they declare classified a pice of GPL software for "national security reasons".

Yes, but they couldn't tell you what piece of GPL software they classified, or else they'd have to kill you. :)

Seriously, classifying software should be allowable under the GPL as far as I understand it--they're not distributing any "proprietary" copies of the software, so there's no concern regarding distribution of the source.

Humane Considerations (4, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388371)

The outcome of this war is certain. The only question is, how many Iraqis and how many Americans will die in the process? Good software is part of the key to preserving lives on both sides: the sooner the war ends, the fewer lives will be lost; and good software (along with good hardware and good training) will shorten the length of the war.

Finally, consider that the work on government programs won't be used only in Iraq. That's just where we need it at the moment. Should the US find itself fighting North Korea, the same software and hardware and training is going to save lives there as well.

I don't agree with the concept of invading Iraq. But I do believe in saving lives; and I think that contributing to government software efforts will help us toward that end.

Re:Humane Considerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388473)

I agree. The huge amounts of money that the US has spent developing precision weapons shows how technology can save lives.

And who uses Open Source is an issue now? (5, Insightful)

taliver (174409) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388376)

Ok, Apache-- open source.

How many web sites are serving child porn use this as their server?

How many IRC servers have anti-abortion protesters chatting about where to bomb or shoot next?

How many emacs clients have been used to write threatening letters?

Has email ever been used to perprate a crime of any kind?

How many people point to encryption, and state that even the bad guys should be allowed to use it, so privacy is maintained?

So, you disagree witha policy of the US, and now you're thinking about dropping the whole idea of free. How pleasant.

Hard to avoid (2, Interesting)

retostamm (91978) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388377)

I think even if there is a clause in your license agreement that prohibits use for Military purposes, if "national security" is at stake the Government can easily suspend the Copyright which it has granted to you.

If there is a top secret project that uses your Software, how are you ever going to find out about it? Like if someone would use LingoTeach to train some guys who will be dropped behind the lines and need to speak some obscure language, this operation is most likely so secret that we never even hear about it.

I hope that doesnt explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388378)

why blackhawk choppers fall out of the sky every month killing a few soldiers everytime

It's all or none .... take it or leave it.... (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388383)

It's short-sighted to say that there should be provisions regarding the use of your source code depending on what the ultimate purpose of that code will be.

Open source is open source. To me, that means that you've given your time and effort to the world. That includes both good people and bad people ... and unfortunately, I don't feel that your political agenda factors into how that code ultimately gets applied.

the twist (3, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388387)

Is that the US sent leet programmers to train Iraqi's in Open Source warfare during the 80's, and now those renegade coders our the core of Iraq's amazing hax0ring abilities.

the irony.. (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388389)

Ironic, isn't it, that the same people who are arguing against the military using open source are the same ones who are going to use it as an argument for open source?

If information wants to be free... (1)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388394)

...that begs the question: Does Iraq want to be free?

Politics and OSS software (a la Iraq war) (3, Insightful)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388396)

Ok, dudes, seriously. Come on! If you restrict the source, then it's not OPEN, and if you make something GPLed, then it's open not only now but forever: once GPL there is no returning to proprietary-land.

Let's keep politics out of the code. "Once you go down that dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny...." or something like that.

A line in the sand (1)

ihatewinXP (638000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388399)

As of ten years ago licenses should have thought of this.. but in my view it is imperative that where we have a constitutionally protected choice that we must exercise it and update/modify the existing licenses (or create new ones) to effectively deal with keeping the effort put into OSS from being used in a military situation (or all for it - its your rights). I would imagine there are more people than just me (read: x > #amiga zealots but # of *nix users) who would make that a new top tier criteria in evaluating a licensing scheme. Just one more way to vote and make your voice heard, but sadly in this world there aren't many left.

Where to draw the line? (1)

microTodd (240390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388422)

Don't companies use Open Source software to make money?

Couldn't pro-choice and anti- abortion groups both use Apache web servers?

Don't many governments (federal, state, and local) use Open Source software to do many things?

If you try to put in a license saying "Don't use for war" then what about "Well, technically we're not at war. Its just a peacekeeping mission."

What if the developer is pro-life and the government is pro-choice? What about the National Rifle Association? Gay and/or Lesbian rights groups? NAACP? etc etc etc

Is it really right for Open Source developers to only allow people they want to use their tools? That kind of defeats the purpose of Open Source, no?

Because if the US military... (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388429) willing to break international law to wage a unilateral war, they sure are going to obey some stupid provision in a modified GPL. Yeah.

I have no problems... (4, Funny)

Cyno (85911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388439)

with my government using open source software to fight terrorists...

as long as they...

don't call me a terrorist.

Closed Source (1, Interesting)

st0rmcold (614019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388450)

Iraqis are allowed to buy Microsoft Flight Simulator to enhance their techniques, as well as Microsoft Excel to keep track of their renegade bombing missions. I don't see any difference with them having access to opensource, except that m$ dosen't make money from them.

Premises? (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388453)

This article starts out by claiming that Free Software and GPL supporters are both "anti-war." (A very nebulous term in itself; anti-war can mean a lot of different things.) Last I checked, your opinions on software licensing didn't dictate or even hold particular relevance to your opinions on war. I'm sure that you can find people who consider themselves to be FS or OS supporters who have all sorts of differing opinions on war.

When somebody tries to start their argument by stating something like that as fact, it really reduces their credibility.

Re:Premises? (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388489)

Huh. That'll teach me to read the /. karma whore's version rather than the real thing. To anyone who read the article above, the poster didn't include the word "Some" that starts the first sentence. (Or read the original; it's not actually slashdotted.)

Since when is open source a "we"? (1)

Alea (122080) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388456)

The question itself is flawed. Why should participants in the open source movement as a whole take any particular position? Surely that's up to each individuals?

This "we should" or "we shouldn't" is the kind of factionalism that starts wars in the first place.

The problem of evil (1)

FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388458)

Software is a tool. It can be used for good or evil. The freedom to use the tool is always a good thing. How the tool is used is the responsibility of the user, not the tool-maker. This is the fundamental problem we are facing with DRM, EULAs, Palladium, etc. -- it is trying to restrict and control freedom which is inherent to the tool.

Any free/open source software developer should be aware of the ramifications of allowing freedom of use of their software. I think people look at OSS in a very pollyana fashion, thinking it will only be used for helping children find lost puppies or curing cancer or something like that. If you give power to someone, including through software, the temptation is there to use it for evil. It's sad because most OSS types are genuinely interested in the betterment of others, not themselves. But the reality is that you have to make the choice whether to release it.

Should Open Source developers help the U.S .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5388463)

no, we'd loose.
open sores sucks.

Personal Choice (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388471)

This of course is as simple and as complex as you want it to be.

For the pure Open Source Developer I would suppose the answer is "Its the code I do it all for the code" and so it is truely free software/libraries ect.(free as in beer)

For the Hawks its "For Freedom, God, Country and GNU/BSD" not nesc. in that order

For Doves its probably something like "No Software/War for oil"

Others it may well be: "What does my software have to do with anything related to terrorism/war? Who cares"

and then finally for the rest it is a balance of all of the above and more.

I personally think that everything we do has an effect one way or another. We should be aware of it and be aware of the consequenses.

Open Source and Nations (3, Insightful)

borkus (179118) | more than 11 years ago | (#5388502)

One of the things that struck me is how much Open Source is dependent on international development. Just off of the top of my head, Linux and Python were started outside of the US. Now, both are supported by developers around the world. Historically, nations have viewed techological advances as national resources, both out of national pride as well as national security. However, Open Source software is inherently borderless.

This would appear to some to make Open Source a security risk, but it isn't necessarily so. To play in the open source game, you have to be a contributor. So you need to be a nation that develops people with strong technical skills and keeps them. You also have to allow those people access to other people around the world in order to share ideas.

Saddam Hussein may get some benefit from Open Source, in that it gives him software that is free distributable. However, I would imagine it's rather difficult attracting and retaining technical talent in a regime as oppressive as his. In short, despots may be able to use Open Source software, but they'd have a hard time leveraging it fully without free and open communication with the rest of the world.

It's also further proof of the interdependence of developed countries upon each other.
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