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Open Source Funding Options

Hemos posted more than 15 years ago | from the mo-money-mo-software dept.

The Almighty Buck 127

There has been some discussion lately about obtaining money for Open Source Projects and such. Tom Holyrod sent in a list of US governmental sources to turn to for help. Click below to read more.Recent discussions on obtaining support (and in particular, funding) for open source projects have prompted me to mention that the government, through various agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the CISE, can serve as a source for such funding.

There are many program areas available (see below) including Advanced Computational Research, Next Generation Software, Human Computer Interaction, Advanced Networking Infrastructure, Digital Government, Information and Data Management, Knowledge and Cognitive Systems, Operating Systems and Compilers, Numeric, Symbolic and Geometric Computation, Robotics and Human Augmentation, and Signal Processing Systems.

All you have to do is write a grant proposal, and get it through a peer review process.

The CISE provides support for individual developers and/or small teams, has special programs for women, and programs that are designed for student researchers (including undergraduates) to obtain funding while continuing to get an education.

The Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering has three goals:

* To enable the U.S. to uphold a position of world leadership in computing, communications, and information science and engineering;

* To promote understanding of the principles and uses of advanced computing, communications and information systems in service to society; and

* To contribute to universal, transparent and affordable participation in an information-based society.

To achieve these, CISE supports investigator initiated research in all areas of computer and information science and engineering, helps develop and maintain cutting-edge national computing and information infrastructure for research and education generally, and contributes to the education and training of the next generation of computer scientists and engineers. CISE is organized in five divisions, three of which focus principally on research, and two which combine both infrastructure and research functions.

Dr. Tom Holroyd

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Taxpayer money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046144)

Not a good idea imo, at least with commercialware
you are not forced to pay for it.


Please Don't Do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046145)

Software, whether it is free or not, should stand on its own. Using taxpayer's money to fund your pet project is just plain wrong! If it is good enough for the market and you need to eat then sell it as commercial software (or some hybrid that keeps your karma in balance). Or if you want to give it away, write it and give it away on your own time.

But please, please don't make me and every other taxpayer pay for your program by accepting government (read Taxpayer) grants to support your hobby.

Yes, I use the word hobby on purpose. If it isn't making enough money to put food on your table and a roof over your head then its a hobby, and it is immoral of you to force the rest of us to support you - through government grants which come from the taxpayers, who have the taxes removed from their posession by threat of force.

Its wrong, resist the temptation!

Please Don't Do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046146)

Well, you can feel free to use the money I freely give to the common good through taxes to create free software!

And cut the Libertarian BS. You're just greedy

Please Don't Do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046147)

Lots of great ideas have started being developed
using Government funding because people didn't
initially believe there would be commerical value
to it. Sometimes they are too expensive for a
private company to fund. Think of stuff like the
Apranet, GPS, the Web browser (I believe the CERN
is some government entity isn't it?)

Hang on a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046148)

Point 1. This agency, like most government agencies, operates on a fixed budget. If the money doesn't get used for open-source development grants, it goes elsewhere. I'd rather see my tax money go toward growing and supporting a community I'm involved in rather than some other project I've never heard of.

Point 2. Saying that open-source software that is monetarily supported isn't "pure" or "right" is just silly. Is Enlightenment now lessened because Rasterman is "supported" by Red Hat Labs, hmmmm?

Just my two cents

Moronathon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046149)

I swear, sometimes reading Slashdot (and no fault
of Malda and the maintainers) is like watching
a Beavis & Butthead Moronathon.


These government funded projects have been around
for a long time. If any of you went through university
for PhD (or other serious work) would know about
it. This is serious work, not your typical hobby
or pet project.

And it just so happens that the majority of this
type of work is Open Source even though it's rarely
referred as that.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046150)

have we learn't nothing from the last 100 years.
hell, half of this is happening because we got arpa out of the government's hands. not to mention the thousands of other techie people who dumped them favoring the private sector. anyone can see how they've stagnated places like nasa, and that's nothing compaired to those poor suckers who rely on foodstamps, social security, and other dead end socialist programs.

GOVT $$$ = GOVT WEIGHT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046151)

Just notice something... wherever the US Govt. has put its money, it has put its weight. Undoubtedly, it will try something in the future to throw around its weight. I can't give specific examples. If I did, I'd have to be an anonymous coward... :) In any case, I'd suggest that be the absolute last resort. Then again, I don't have any money in Open Source. So, I don't have any weight??

Exactly Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046152)

I agree with your sentiments. I want to further it though. I love the idea of having the source code available for me to use. I think "free" software would benefit greatly from developing further from where it is.

I see it somewhat like architecture. You pay for someone to design and build your structure, then you use it how you see fit.

You want an application to do X task? Hire a programmer to do it. Pay him, and pay him damn well. Then it's yours to do with as you please. The source, the binary, etc.

So you're not a programmer? You don't want the source? yes you do.. you can pay someone else to modify it etc...

Where's the MEEPT!! when you need him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046153)

I do *not* want my tax money going to support you freaks hacking up a bunch of kewl gnu apps. If I want a piece of software that isn't written already, I'll either pay for it myself, download it for free off the net, or write it myself.

I sincerely doubt that the government would pay for most of the projects that free software people like to code anyway. The government doesn't just throw money at any project that sounds cool, and 'free software' is *not* considered a worthwhile cause in and of itself by most people (probably including the government).

Besides, just because you write software for the government doesn't mean you can go and release your software under any license you want. Most government computer-related projects are started
for military reasons (the inter/arpanet, lots of encryption software). I'm sure that the Department of Defense would love to have their high-tech projects available for anyone to download from

Get real people.

US based LUG starter kit/legal advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046154)

It would be nice if there was an orginization that donated the legal services needed to formulate non-forprofit status for *LUGs. Some companies are willing to donate equipment if they get a tax write-off on it. In several cases, if they don't get the tax write-off then the equipment hits the trash so the taxpayer really isn't out any money by *LUGs getting non-profit status. As far as "goverment assistance," non-profit status is at the top of my list of what I would like to see happen.

Please Don't Do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046155)

Listen socialist, the software would then not be free, would it?

Okay, once more. Everybody, repeat after me:
Free as in free speech, not as in free beer.

Ahem. Thank you.

Please Don't Do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046156)

Nope; for the most part, University Football programs are paid for by University Football programs, if you're lucky. If you're not lucky, Football programs are paid for by tuitions and endowments that should be going towards education.

Open Source is not a socialist movement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046157)

Government funding of Open Source software is a Bad Idea. The Open Source movement is not a socialist movement, but a new form of marketplace. Ideally, an Open Source contributor will make money consulting or selling related software or documentation.

Government funding of the Interstate Highway System is a Bad Idea. The Interstate Highway System is not a socialist movement, but a new form of marketplace. Ideally, an Interstate Highway System developer will make money building state routes or selling related automobiles or driver education manuals.


Open Source vs. Free Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046158)

Except that the source code is free for all to look at and modify.

Which is the whole point.

Let's get rid of it all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046159)

Yes! Stop government funded projects!
Refuse to use any technology! Refuse to use
everything because in one way or another the
government had a role in it! Let's go back to
eating dirt and swimming in our feces! Those were
the times!

(I wish the government could fund people with clues)

apparently you don't understand competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046160)

So you're worried that all of your competitors have the same source? Well, is the application of interest to a bunch of people? Do you want to reap the rewards of tighter code, bugfixes, and new improvements that all those other competitors have added? Yes you do... That's why you paid for GPL'ed software. You can pay someone else to modify it to your spec, or find modifications that have been done for you that you like, etc...

Ok, so your competition now has the exact same software as you, and you are out many thousands of dollars since you paid for the development of the software. Now, assuming you and your competitor are equal in most other areas, which company is going to go out of business first, you or your competitor? Where is the incentive for anyone to pay for new software development projects?

Where's the MEEPT!! when you need him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046161)

If I want a piece of software that isn't written already, I'll either pay for it myself, download it for free off the net, or write it myself.

You'll download it free off the net? I thought it wasn't written already?

At least try to think when you wank off on Slashdot.

not MEEPT!

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046162)

They're the same damn thing!

Hey, Butthead! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046163)

Thanks for your insightful and factual response to my post.

You should be a microsoft lawyer...

apparently you don't understand competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046164)

The less expensive one. It's a lot cheaper to learn how a piece of software works than to write it yourself.

It has already happend... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046165)

Alot of open source stuff was created with either goverment grants or by the goverment.

The goverment was behind Beowulf, ingres/postgres, the creation of the internet (defined the protocols and funded the managment), gopher, probably helped with X and more. The web was started with goverment money (european money and goverment though).

Most projects that come out of college research centers has some form of goverment backing.

The US Govt. is bankrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046166)

The US Govt HAS NO MONEY to support things like
this. It is bankrupt, and it has been since the
Reagan years.

The US Govt. is over 5.5 TRILLION US $ in debt,
and is increasing at about 230 million US $
every DAY. Only 15% of the Federal budget goes
to paying (part of) the interest on this
outrageous debt.

The US Govt. has no business doing any frivolous
spending at this point. Its primary objective
should be to remove this problem as fast as
possible. Otherwise, the US Govt. will go the
way of other major Socialist governments before
us, and most of us will live to see it.

For more information, start with the following
URLs: /guide02.html

Programmers should receive arts funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046167)

Who says society should fund artists?


Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046168)

I'd much rather fund open source software with my tax dollars instead of watching the government shell out tons of money to single huge monopolies like Microsoft to buy THEIR products and get nothing in return but binaries. At least if the government funds these projects it benefits ALL mankind not just the greedy money hungry motherfuckers in suits.

The US Govt. is bankrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046169)

You clearly don't know economics from your ass.

Isn't RMS living off a grant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046170)

Didn't I read somewhere that RMS got a big grant a few years ago for his work in Open Source development and that he's been living off those funds for a few years?

If that's true, none of you have room to whine, as RMS is the biggest hippy around and if HE thinks it's OK...

You wanna pay for open or proprietary projects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046171)

Yes the stolen money is still there, but that does not make it right to use it. Also, don't think that such funding will be without it's drawbacks, the gov't might just want to tell the coder getting funded that it wants certian functions built in (manditory handicap support, escrowed keys, etc), just look at what happened to the shuttle. Every little piddly congress critter wanted jobs in his district, the military wanted it polar orbit capable, costs inflated, the whole thing became more of a bloated mess then windows NT.


Where's the MEEPT!! when you need him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046172)

If you have a problem with the points I was making then refute them factually.
Okay. Since you asked. Here is a point-by-point refutation of your mindless post. Ye gods, I have a lot of spare time.

I do *not* want my tax money going to support you freaks hacking up a bunch of kewl gnu apps. If I want a piece of software that isn't written already, I'll either pay for it myself, download it for free off the net, or write it myself.
I do *not* want my tax money going to fund a political witch-hunt against Clinton, but it looks like my personal wishes aren't being honored by the rest of the country. Cry me a river.

Tax money is used by the government, supposedly according to the will of the people. Your personal opinion is irrelevant to the discussion; if you convince a majority of citizens that your viewpoint is correct, or if you convince them to (God help us) elect you to the House of Representatives, then you have something to yell about.

I sincerely doubt that the government would pay for most of the projects that free software people like to code anyway. The government doesn't just throw money at any project that sounds cool, and 'free software' is *not* considered a worthwhile cause in and of itself by most people (probably including the government).
You really sincerely doubt that the government would pay for a secure and stable operating system? They pay a lot for NT now, for heaven's sake. You doubt that they would pay a lot for a distributed computing environment like Beowulf? They already have. You doubt that they would fund the development of an open File Transfer Protocol? Duh. Many Open-Source projects are (brace yourself for a shock) extremely useful.

Besides, just because you write software for the government doesn't mean you can go and release your software under any license you want. Most government computer-related projects are started for military reasons (the inter/arpanet, lots of encryption software). I'm sure that the Department of Defense would love to have their high-tech projects available for anyone to download from
Most of the projects discussed on Slashdot are not high-tech military secrets. (Encryption is treated as such, but you can argue that it shouldn't be.) They are useful programs that allow you to send email, produce graphics, write programs, use a piece of computer hardware.

For that matter, most government-funded university research is public domain, or at least described in detail in public peer journals. Your argument that all government-funded computing research involves military secrets is just plain factually incorrect. Wanna buy a Beowulf CD?

Get real people.
Spoken like a truly clueless moron who has never come anywhere near government. Go back to high school.

Tax money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046173)

I thought the majority of /.'ers are angry at microsoft, one of the reasons being the 'microsoft tax' that alot are forced to pay because alot of companys only sell computers with windows. Isn't this just the same crap?
Another thing, why start using taxmoney now? opensource has done fine without being funded by a government entity, plus in many eyes (mine included), the whole movement would become less credible if it uses taxpayer money.


Until recently, "free" software == public funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046174)

Most "free software" development up until now has been funded, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. federal government.

The federal government created the internet: there is no question about it. The government funded the creation of all the key software components and protocols that drive the internet, and paid for all the hardware. It funded NCSA's httpd and mosaic projects, thus creating the WWW.

And then there's BSD. Who do you think paid the salaries there?

On to the Free Software Foundation: do you think it is just a coincidence that half the people at FSF either work or worked at MIT? The majority of large free software projects were created by people working at universities supported by public funds. I'd assert that Linux would not exist if it were not for public funding. Call it grants for free software, or funding of university CS departments and infrastructure: it's all the same pot of money.

I don't think anyone could argue that the government hasn't gotten a fantastic return on its investment in these projects. It would probably be hard to find any example of government spending that has had a bigger economic payoff.

RE: Please Don't Do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046175)

You say that coding is a hobby. Just out of curiosity, who's hobby was it to create TCP/IP? Or maybe the ASCII standard. The expense to create next generation technology can be enormous! There is a project right now that I am working on that will cost several MILLIONS of dollars once it is all said and done, yet will assist all kinds of development and research in almost every field of science. I don't happen to have a million dollars in my pocket, and my project will benefit society as a whole, should I have to bear the brunt of the burden? Of course not. I could go solely commercial with this, but I'd like to keep the politics associated with that out. When someone requests one of these grants, they are not approved on the spot. There is an intense review process, and if the project is a waste of time, or doesn't benefit the *TAXPAYERS* then it probably will not get approved. Please don't assume that research is a waste, and don't insult me by calling my profession a hobby. Yes hobbies are good, but I am working to benefit several millions of people and I would appreciate having the funds to do so.

Linux is a welfare baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046176)

Wake up: the government funded the creation of the internet as we know it. They paid for the hardware, they paid for the first WWW software, they trained all those "techie people".

Essentially all Linux code was written by people sucking on the government teat in one way or another. Linus was a student at a public University... RMS worked for MIT... BSD is obviously a product of public funds... the vast majority of other Linux developers also work/worked at universities. If that offends your anti-socialist sensibilities, then stop using it.

Off hand, I can't think of any use of public funds that has had a bigger pay-off than the money that indirectly enabled the Internet and free software to get off the ground.

Things to do today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046177)

1) Write grant proposal and send to gov. agency.

2) Write gov.representatives and ask them to reduce funding of gov. agency for spending money on unconstitutional gov. activity.

Taxpayer money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046178)

Hey this is probably something new for you: you are paying obsessed freaks to find out useless stuff about prime numbers, and that's just one example.

Scientific research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046179)

Scientific research is all about getting government funding to sponsor weird people's hobbies. Without it you wouldn't be using a computer now.

Freakin' 12 year olds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046180)

This is the reason I'm giving up on slashdot. Most of the posts, like the one I'm replying to, are by 12 year old's pretending to know something.

Free software means "freedom from restrictions". Don't any of you kiddies who post here get that.

I could write an application, sell it for ungodly amounts of money, and as long as the users I sell it to aren't restricted in what they can do with it, it's free software.

I won't even get into how many of the free software applications, protocols, specifications, etc were funded by taxpayer dollars. Others have done a fine job of that.

Basically, most of these kiddie's want to create a new form of slavery. People who produce must do it for no compensation, and give it those who can't.

The free software movement is starting to look a whole lot like "Atlas Shrugged". Read Ayn Rand sometime kiddies. Oh, wait, you'd have to BUY the book.


Grow up, kiddies.

Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046181)

I couldn't agree more. It seems that people here don't realize we wouldn't have computers at all today without government funded research in the past. The money is not wasted! In the end it will improve economy and pay itself back.

Excessive masturbation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046182)

It's because we don't date much. Leaves us plenty of time to delude ourselves.

That, and excessive masturbation tends to cause delusions of grandeur.

Fair development model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046183)

The way I see it, there is nothing
wrong with using Gov't funds. Many a
project (Apache, GNU stuff etc.) started
at universities and were tax supported.

However, what bothers me is the change
the emphasis on tax funding would bring to
the development model. This would thwart
code forking, since the supported group
would be in a better financial position, and
would thus have an unfair advantage.

Furthermore, once you start a financial
dependence and cease to consider your project
a hobby, it will create a situation similar to
that of today's science, where anyone not at a
university is not considered worthy of
attention. It was remarked that if Einstein
started today, he'd get no funds and no attention,
because who'd listen to a mere patent clerk.

Lastly, would you trust a government sponsored
project with encryption? Would you want to go
thru the code seeking out a back door? Todays
OSS movement is based on trust and respect.
Government involvement will destroy the former.

I would strongly urge all the leaders of OSS
movement to take a firm stand against any
financial dependence of the hackers.

Oh, yeah, the internet is better now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046184)

Yes, comercialization of the internet has brought us waves of idiots like yourself. It's that grand!

Now any moron with Daddy's modem can dial up, download gigabytes of pirate MP3's, winnuke half the folks on IRC, and post drivel to slashdot all at the same time.

Isn't this global community grand?

I wish more sites were gopher. Gopher kicked butt.

Get Off My Road, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046185)

you're using tax-payer funded pavement, developed from tax-payer funded pavement research.

Without a PhD, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046186)

and a position at a research university, you can forget about NSF, and probably most of the others. That rules out most of /. since everyone here knows you need dont no steenkin college degree to be a 1337 haX0r.

But what do I know? (other than people that actually review NSF proposals...)

Not from the USA. (Isn't RMS living off a grant?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046187)

RMS, a programming whiz (I don't like using the word 'genius' (which would probably apply here)), quit his job at the MIT AI Lab to found the Free Software Foundation and pen the GNU Manifesto.

Briefly, he quit, because had he stayed, software he would develop under MIT's wing, like under a corporation, would not be available to the public, or at best available with heavy restrictions.

In 1971, when Richard Stallman started his career at MIT, he worked in a group which used free software exclusively. Even computer companies often distributed free software. Programmers were
free to cooperate with each other, and often did.

By the 1980s, almost all software was proprietary, which means that it had owners who forbid and prevent cooperation by users. This made the GNU project necessary.

Yeah! That money's for bombs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046188)

and corporate subsidies.

what is wrong with you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046189)

Nobody's raising your taxes to fund OS software you ninny!

Silly Ayn-archists, use it for good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046190)

Some one already posted it, but here goes again:

Do not equate Free Software with software available free of charge!!!!
I think RMS has said this often enough.
MS IE 4.0 is available to download free of charge but none here would argue that it is Free Software. Conversely, Red Hat SELLS a GNU/Linux System which is available with FULL SOURCE CODE.

The fact that one can download much of this software at no cost has nothing to do with it being FREE SOFTWARE.

Maybe someday we will all reach a higher level of enlightenment.


The US Govt. is bankrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046191)

You have no idea how the world economy works. The fact that we remain in debt while we continue to pay stuff off means that other countries are loaning the US money. Countries only loan money to countries that they think will pay them back. If the US is capable of racking up a debt this mind blowingly large, obviously the other countries think we're good for it.

Please Don't Do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046192)

I'm afraid you're rather ignorant of where all this came from.
If you don't approve of government funded software, then get off the Internet.
You may not use the World Wide Web.
You may not use TCP/IP
You may not fly from airports using FAA flight controlled software.
You may not use nuclear weapons.

I'm serious. If you are against it then you shouldn't be using it.
Or, are you one of those fools that thinks that Microsoft had something to do with the creation of Internet?

Get off.Now.

Taxation Fallacies - I love this type of argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046193)

I love the argument where the person starts out with "well this isnt so bad because look WHAT ELSE the government is doing to waste your money".

Is that supposed to make government spending taxpayers money on subsidizing open source ok?

The federal government HAS NO RIGHT to do any of this: tax individuals, create public roads, subsidize corporations/individuals and many of the other things it does routinely.

Guess what? The govt granted itself the right to tax individuals by AMENDING the constition. Its now giving itself more rights to do things as we speak.


I'M a libertarian, pal, and you're an idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046194)

But, when I succeed, I should have no right to my invention, because YOU need it more than I?

Go home commie.

down, boy! down! he's not a communist, okay? he's not a marxist. do you know what marxism is? can you spell "dialectical materialism"? of course you can't! you're just throwing around words that you don't understand, because you aren't capable of presenting your views in a coherent and rational way. in fact, it's not clear from your post that you have any coherent or rational views at all. now let's relax and take a deep breath, and then let it out slowly: uummmmmmm . . . aaaahhhhhhh . . . .

do we feel better now? i knew we would!

okay. this guy is a libertarian who's honest enough (read: not blindly dogmatic) to take a long cold look at an apparent contradiction in libertarian thought: that if we equate freedom with the ownership of property, some form of central government may very well be needed to enforce property rights. i'm sure that in the absence of a government, microsoft (for example) would be able to afford the military capability to enforce their intellectual property rights, but what about individuals and smaller companies? for them it would be tough and they'd lose their shirts, if they had any shirts worth taking (that includes you, by the way). in the words of william f. buckley, "as idealism approaches reality, the cost becomes prohibitive". libertarianism is nothing if not an ideal.

personally, i don't feel that this is really a contradiction at all; it seems to me that the best way to implement a society is to do what must be done to maximize personal freedoms. if that requires a government of some sort, well then i can live with that. if there's a better way, i'll be all over it. i'm not so fond of government and i'd love to find a less dangerous solution to the same problem, but nature abhors a power vacuum and history has shown (in general) that when nobody's in charge, somebody will take charge. if it's a choice between washington and lenin (who was able to seize power precisely because there was no central authority), then i'll take washington. hell, over lenin i'd prefer clinton.

oh, yeah -- there's also the point raised by another poster, who was a bit obnoxious about libertarians but who also noted that without government funding for basic research, we'd still be in the bronze age. he's exaggerating unreasonably, but we'd certainly still be in the 19th century. or have you spent your "20 years" building a nuclear reactor in your basement out of old vacuum cleaner parts and cordwood? heh.

Open Source is not a socialist movement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046195)

Not entirely true. Since /. ppl seem to have some sort of liking of the Linux community, let's use that as an example. Linus created Linux. Red Hat (et al) provides support, manuals, etc. at a charge. Linus does not get the money that Red Hat makes.
The open-source model has one distinct advantage, and that is all work that is done is done for if I write program X, you don't also have to write program X (this is contrary to the closed-source model), but rather you can improve upon it. So there is little wasted work. However I think it's pretty silly to assume that all the programmers also have to provide commercial support for their programs (that's what an economy is for -- different people do different things). So if the programmers aren't getting any money, then in order to keep this open-source system going, they have to be subsidised (or else starve/steal/sell drugs/whatever).
One could argue that it's the programmer's responsibility to make any money off what they do, but it puts a real damper on the whole idea behind the open-source movement, and it would go against the idea of a modern economy for someone to be -forced- to do two jobs.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046196)


Hey now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046197)

That "useless" information about prime numbers makes up some of our more important encryption algorithms. The research of mathematics must continue. Just because somebody doesn't know of a use for something currently does not mean that somebody will not find a good and practical use for it. Boolean Algebra wasn't very useful until the dawn of (electronic) computers.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046198)


Silly Boy (or Girl, which would be scary) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046199)

Quit your whining. The government was created by us, and has every right to nearly of the things it does (well, we gotta consider that the Supreme Court can declare any act of congress). Whether it should is another matter.

The Government has always had the power to tax individuals, just it never could enact an income tax, with out an amendment to our constition.

Oh yeah, you're in high school (or lower) and haven't had government yet, so why am I wasting this time?


brainless gibbering jackass? human cockroach? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046200)

it would be slavery if people FORCED programmers to write software and give it away for free

nobody is suggesting that, you brainless gibbering jackass.

you are a moron. your brain is a bottlecap. you stay upright on the bus by running the strap through your skull by way of your ears. your chin is nine inches wide and your forehead comes to a point sharp enough to cut glass. the hair in your apish armpits is long enough for children to swing by, like tarzan. in ten million years your descendants will develop opposable thumbs, and they will be so bitterly ashamed of their ancestry that they will immediately use those selfsame hard-won thumbs to gouge their own eyes out. they will then douse themselves in gasoline and set themselves on fire in a vain attempt to atone for your abysmal stupidity. they will posthumously be awarded medals by a benign government for the nobility of these acts.

basically, chum, you're a cockroach in (semi-) human form, and i think we'd all feel a lot better about the whole thing if you'd be kind enough to crawl back under the sink.

thank you and goodnight.


(hey, i just realized that i missed your point and that you're actually right, but i don't like your attitude and i'm very proud of my little rant, so i'll let it stand anyway)

no, no, it must go on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046201)

what's really being discussed is the anatomy of computer people, which (ironically?) is the subject that they themselves understand least of all -- and so it's the one that's most fun to talk about! hey, this is the best thread in the whole discussion.

true, but not the final word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046202)

Oh, but AT wouldn't allow a non-microkernel based project that wouldn't even support stuff below 386 to get funded...

you're right, but nobody's suggesting that gov't funding should be the only way to run projects; just one more way.

certainly if this funding thing subjected free software projects to cancellation by beaurocrats, i'd say to hell with it, eat rice and beans and stay free -- but i don't think the two paths conflict with each other at all.

yep! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046203)

uh, dooood, don't bogart that joint . . .

Freakin' 12 year olds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046204)

:No, you drooling simpleton, it would be slavery if people FORCED programmers to write software and give it away for free.

You ever manage a really popular free software project? These kiddies yell, demand, whine, and otherwise make life hell if a version isn't released as often as they think it should be, or if feature XYZ isn't implemented.

So, you're right, we aren't forced to give our software away, but when we do, the entitlement mentality crowd takes much of the joy out of it.

ignore this guy, he's rational. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2046205)

he's right, but that's only because he has a brain and knows what he's talking about, which gives him an unfair advantage. ignore him.

ballocks! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046219)

god, i love sed. (but was it developed at AT&T by private funds, or at vast and ruinous expence at a federally funded university research program?!?! :)

Actually you most likely run a version that has no AT&T code -- either GNU or BSD sed. The original development of sed was AT&T, however don't forget that it's done in the area where AT&T's own business is heavily restricted.

Open Source vs. Free Software (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046220)

Well, if we're going to have Open Source software supported by taxpayer money, it's not any better than Commercial Software. At least with Commercial Software you have a choice of whether you want to pay for it or not, while with taxpayer-supported Open Source software, you *have* to pay for it. This leads to less, not more, freedom, and a socialist-style economic system.

Free Software, on the other hand, is supposed to be something the author created because he *wanted* to share with other people, not because all those other people already paid him for it. If I'm gonna pay some guy to develop software, I might as well have a choice of who to pay, rather than the government deciding for me.

You wanna pay for open or proprietary projects? (1)

Loki (625) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046221)

: The shuttle seems to be working great to me.

At millions per launch? Thousands of $ per pound? I would rather have the private sector make it's own launch vehicle, it would cost alot less IMHO, and would lead to more industry and people in space.

: PS: the NASA budget is less than 1% of the national budget

Things add up.

Please Don't Do it! (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046222)

Posted by Stephen "The Carp" Carpenter:

iN principal I agree with you....
All the government is is a great big protection
racket "You give us money and we will prrotect
you. You don't pay and well...we can't
gaurantee you wont have an accident"
(notice that if you don't pay for the protection
they come and send you to jail...)

however...they do it.
I do not believe there is anything wrong with
using the system that already exists...even
if the system itself is wrong. If it is there...
then use it. (while fighting to abolish it)

At the very least maybe you will break even
between the money you get back and the taxes
you send them.

If you don't take it...they will use it for something stupid.

I thought I would never.... (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046223)

Posted by Stephen "The Carp" Carpenter:

However...grants aren;t that bad.

Think about it... you want to dedicate your
free time for the love of computers and the
advancment of free software. That is noble
however.... it wont keep you alive.

It wont pay for the server you want to
advertise the program to potential helpers and

This allows you to spend more time codeing and
less time worring about money. It is still
done for the love of computing. It is quite
differnt from working for a company where they
come to you and say "Write this with this"

Money is the root of all evil, you don't
have to look far to see that...however...
it has its place and it is a need.

I thought I would never.... (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046224)

Posted by Stephen "The Carp" Carpenter:

Hmm well I guess that depends who you are quoting
doesn't it.

I happen to have a book whcich has a chapter
called "Money is the root of all evil"
(Ending the Drug War: A Solution for America;
Dirk Chase Eldrich)

Thats the one I was thinking of (of course...
I have heard the quote MANY times before and since)

please get your facts straight (1)

wayne (1579) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046229)

Wow. What a troll. I'm impressed. almost everthing is wrong. Here is a zinger: in a communist system, you don't pay taxes! Whee!

Free software funding (1)

raph (3148) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046232)

I personally am not that happy with the idea of taxpayer funding. No matter what the source of funding, there's the danger that the priorities of the funders will distort the work.

So, in an ideal world, funding would operate in a manner analogous to free software itself - totally decentralized, with funding coming from individuals, and with an absolute minimum of extra layers of management and administration.

I've been thinking [] about how to do this. At the core of my idea is a cryptographically sound mechanism for identifying the members of various groups, for example, legitimate free software developers. My idea is based on certification by peers, and also has the property that it's very difficult to attack, i.e. if some imposters managed to get certified, they'd be able to do only a very limited amount of damage.

The link above talks mostly about the techinical issues. However, the social ones are even more important. Christopher Browne has written a proposal [] that goes into much more detail at this level - you might have seen his letter to a couple of weeks ago.

My ideas are too rough and unfinished right now to do anything concrete. When I get the prototype running, I'll try to write up the ideas in less drafty form.

Governments are largest SW consumer (1)

smithdog (3152) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046233)

Given that the United States, China, Canada and others nations, are the largest consumers of computer software in their respective countries, it is obvious that public money pays for plenty of private/proprietary/commercial software development.

The relatively small amount of money that governments spend on research grants is money well spent, particulary when the source code that results from the research are published under the GNU General Public License.

Silly Ayn-archists, use it for good! (1)

Zippy the Pinhead (3531) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046234)

Well, dearies, I don't see y'all disdaining to use public roads, the Internet, public schools and universities, police protection, public libraries, etc. Grant money is already there. Use it for good.

US Gov't grant money commonly goes to fund the development of products that are then patented and marketed for profit by private enterprises. I'm referring to encryption, pharmeceuticals, avionics, weapons, you name it.

It is in the hightest interest of humanity to try to divert some of that grant money toward open-source and/or free software.

The Shuttle is a failure (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046235)

And I mean that in the most literal sense of the term: they had a goal, to develop a "space truck" that was fully reusable, with minimal turnaround time and support crew, that would thus lower earth-to-orbit payload costs enough to replace expendable rockets; they failed on all these counts. Instead, we have a vehicle whose ET is thrown away, whose boosters get recovered from splashdown at practically their own production cost, whose heat shielding and engines have to be practically rebuilt in the months between successive launches, which requires a small city to service it, and which costs 3-4 times more per kilo payload than even expendables. The only technical niche the shuttle is successful at is extended manned payloads; instead it fills the political niche of spreading a lot of money to a lot of districts, and it's successor program isn't looking much better yet.

Much free software ALREADY paid for by taxes (1)

morven2 (5718) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046237)

A very large proportion of free software in existence was developed wholly or partly by people whose time was being paid for by taxes. A large proportion of stuff produced by people at Universities fits into this category.

The only difference is that much of this development was done as a side project, or as tools for a main project. The only difference being discussed here is making the free software the MAIN part of a grant application rather than just a subsidiary benefit.

Who employed RMS originally and paid for much of the original GNU development? MIT, a university, and therefore at least partly, government taxation.

Voice of reason!!! (1)

David Ishee (6015) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046238)

Finally an informed opinion! It is good to see that occasionally a good comment will sneak in amongst the k33l mOus3 jockeys.

I got a Master's degree and I know the game. Research money funded by the government or industry groups buy the needed equipment and help fund grad students to work on the projects. My funding was from the department and the modest equipment purchases since this was a new area of research for the department and no external funding was available. However, they will use my work to help show competency in the subject matter and hopefully get funded more easily than if they went into an application with no previous work or experience.

I remember one professor who got a project doing some analysis of extensive weather buoy (sp?) data and he used some of the money to buy a kick a** PC to run the analysis on. (simple example of the use of the money)

I don't know what the money is used for in computer science projects, but I assume help for funding grad students and maybe hardware.

These are just examples from an academic environment, they may not apply to your situation.

The lesser of two evils (1)

gabe (6734) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046239)

Yeah, it may, in some cases, be wrong to use taxpayer money for something like this. But that's not the only way to look at it.

We pay our government, through taxes, to do their job. Their job is to govern our contry, and so far they've done a fair job at it. Sure there are problems, but when was the last time you were arrested for speaking your mind? When was the last time all of your posessions were confiscated by the government just because they felt like it? The majority of Americans live in decent housing, have jobs, and are not starving to death in the streets, and you would complain about this? I know this is a bit exaggerated in part, but I only hope you get my point. We've got it pretty good here.

Our government does their job, and we should be very thankful for it. We should also be thankful that they not only help us by governing, but that they would be willing to take a part of their funding and put it towards open source projects. They don't HAVE to do that, and you don't HAVE to live in this country if you don't want to. We all have free will, exercise it how you want.

Personally I don't think that this is such a bad idea at all. Within the last year and a half the Open Source movement has come a long way. There is growing public recognition. We're changing the way things are done out there. Within a few years, who knows? It has every potential to reshape our entire way of thinking.

So what would you rather our government do with the money that we would give to them anyways? Would you rather that they build a few more bombs, guns, etc. Or maybe you'd rather they line their own pockets with it? I'd like to see this money being put towards good use, and if it means me paying a few dollars more per year, I'm all for it.

If someone feels that a project they work on, is important enough to the general population, of the country, world, internet, or what have you... OR if they feel that their project could generate funds that could be used to fund other projects, then why not give them a chance and see if they can do it? It's becoming quite obvious that Open Source software is growing beyond the bounds of free time work for computer enthusiasts. If someone believes they can use this money to help out in some way, then give them the benefit of the doubt and let them try. To quote a Red Hot Chili Peppers song: "...but the Bunghole Surfers said, 'It was better to regret something you did, than something you didn't do.'"

Gabe Ricard

Excellent! (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046240)

Excellent idea!

Now, where can I scrape up enough money to get a new PIII-500, *and* donate...


Freakin' 12 year olds. (1)

Geoff NoNick (7623) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046241)

This is the reason I'm giving up on slashdot.

Good thing you posted this anonymously so we can't hold you to that, eh?

Most of the posts, like the one I'm replying to, are by 12 year old's pretending to know something.

Oh, sure - the guy was an idiot, but the fact that you reacted with such a spaz attack is really only a discredit to you.


Programmers should receive arts funding (1)

desslok (7863) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046242)

Programming is an art. A great program is a work of art. Arguably something like GNOME or Enlightenment should qualify for arts funding.

If society sees fit to fund artists (through the NEA) so that they can pursue their creativity for a living, why can't hackers do the same? Open Source makes a significant contribution to the betterment of society.

oh, lord, another one . . . (1)

vleo (7933) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046243)

I'm libertarian, and I believe in some resonable
taxes (about 15%) and tight control on spending
them, and one of the good things to spend on
is research.
Software is the special case. Even if you're
100% pro montaristic economy theories you still
should understand that a legal model which
encourages extreme monopolies is wrong.
Well, maybe I'm not libertarian, I just like
freedom. Patens and Copyright are used to limit
freedom. Also, how extremist libertarian live
with the fact that the only reason why Bill
Gates exists is because of copyright law enforced
by the Goverment (which should not exist). Who
would be watching for copying that floppy then?

Please Don't Do it! (1)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046244)

You forget that the government is paying billions of dollars to proprietary software manufacturers for its own needs (e.g. MS Office for every government clerk). If the government spent far less money funding free software instead, the taxpayers would save money -- lots of it.

As for your contention that free software is a "hobby" -- without government coercion the commercial software industry would not exist, so you should at least be consistent.

Silly Ayn-archists, use it for good! (1)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046245)

Government funding of free software would permit
a decrease in taxes, as the government
would no longer have to pay billions to
commercial software companies to conduct many
of its functions.

Please Don't Do it! (1)

lutter (8756) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046246)

At least in the case of Netscape, this is a very strange view: Tim Berners-Lee tested his ideas at CERN in Geneva, which is funded by several governments; then some people at the NCSA (government funded) thought it would be a good idea to implement a browser for this web-thingy. Then Andreesen met Jim Clark, convinced him that that would be a great business idea, hired all his coworkers (who had developed their crucial know-how on government money) and went to unbelievable success.

No, Netscape was not created by the government. But government funding was crucial to get it to a point where something could be shown to investors to get them interested.

BTW, how do you think Universities fund their research ? NSF, NIH, Army, Navy, Air Force.

ohhh *just* write a grant proposal... (1)

incubus (9714) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046247)

Writing grant proposals is a full time job in itself generally.. maybe they have a 'simplified form' for open source projects?

I kind of doubt that most of the open source projects would qualify anyways... I think Microsoft would cry foul if the new open source replacement for MSWord was built with government funds.. :-)

(not that they wouldn't cry foul if it was built any other way anyways.. but still.. )

Quote from Dennis Ritchie (1)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046248)

"Research workers are supposed to discover or invent new things...

The greatest danger to good computer science research today may be excessive relevance.... Another danger is that commercial pressure of one sort or another will divert the attention of the best thinkers from rel innovation to exploitation of the current fad, from prospecting to mining a known lode" --- Dennis Ritchie, CACM, August 1984.

That's what these government grants are for. Not for mining a known lode, like most open source projects are doing, but exploring new technologies, new ideas, unproven, radical concepts, without the undue pressure that funding from private sources often brings.

These grants aren't about developing some application. I keep seeing comments about "government funded applications must be open source". This is about ideas that transcend simply a single application, operating system, compiler. Ideas that revolutionize everything.

So, this isn't about Linux, or Gnu, but about those things none of us have dreamed of yet...

Joy. #!@%* idiots again... (1)

trims (10010) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046249)

I haven't seen this much idiocy in a long time.

First Off:

People, the gent was kind enough to point out that grant money is available for Open Source software. U.S. Grant money has the following characteristics (for those of you unfamiliar with the joyous process of grant-writing):

  • It has to pass peer review. In this case, peers are scientists. All the stuff you're writing the grants for is viewed through a research lens - they aren't going to be interested in funding someone's latest widget set/mail agent/browser.
  • The grants are RESEARCH. This doesn't mean you have to write something that runs instruments for the SuperColider. However, what you're writing must be exploring some new idea/concept/etc. Most Open Source projects people seem to run these days are in essence duplicating concepts that are in commertial programs, which is good, but there's no hope of them getting funded. No new ideas (from a research perspective). Things such as the CODA filesystem and the Beowulf stuff are examples of what the grant people might be interested in (notice that one was from a university, and the other from a gov't research place).
  • Once you get the money, it's yours. You have to account to gov't auditors that you didn't spend it on a new Porsche, but if you get the grant, then, hey, go to it. The Feds aren't going to say, "hey, you can't do it that way!". And, for the most part (National Security being the only real excuse), there is no reason you can't release the code under any License you want! Actually, most code can't be kept proprietary, since a general clause of a grant is that resulting work be available to the research community.

Secondly, I don't know where people get off thinking (or calling) gov't grants "tainted" or "bad" use of your money. Just who the fuck do you think funded most of the major Open-Source stuff for the last 10 years? A large chunk came from directly-gov't funded projects (x11, ), or by people who were indirectly gov't supported while they wrote the software (RMS). Universities and research organizations are heavily gov't funded, and that's where virtually all Open Source software has come from up until last year (1998).

I'm really tired of people bashing corporate and gov't as Evil. They're not. If they want to pay you to write good, Open Source code, who cares? If you don't like the restrictions they place on you, don't work for them. And gov't money goes to the common good - seems to me that's the whole idea behind Open Source - everyone working together to get things done quicker, better, and more efficiently. If you've got a beef with how the gov't is run, that's fine. But this doesn't have anything to do with that.

If you think you've got a good idea for doing something no-one else has thought of, or want to explore a new approach to a problem, write a grant. Try for the funding - most won't get it, but the few who do often produce something quite valuable. And if it's Open Source, well, then, we're all going to benefit.


Please Don't Do it!? (1)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046250)

there is a budget for that stuff that will be used up by someone or something, id rather see it go towards free software.

oh, lord, another one . . . (1)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046251)

Are you saying we should not have copyrights?!
Or patents??

How is this so different from... (1)

rnturn (11092) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046254) tax dollars going toward the subsidized "incubation centers" that help small businesses get off the ground?

It seems to me that these grants would allow someone to create an OSS product which they would have to give away. If they want to really make money off of it theiy're going to have to go the same route as the RedHats of the world who sell packaging and support.

Again... I must be missing something cuz I can't see a big downside to this. (Unlss the software isn't going to be OSS.)

As a taxpayer, I'd rather see this sort of funding take place than a lot of the other, even more questionable, projects that are funded under Govt. grants.

*bzzzt* wrong. (1)

dallen (11400) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046255)

Hindsight is 20/20, friend. Of course the government has funded ideas that didn't pan out. So does industry. The question is whether industry is willing to fund ideas that aren't immediately profitable to them. The goverment does. Industry does not.

If an idea has commercial value, investors will support it.

That is not important, because so much government sponsored research does not have commercial value.

At least, not for the next fifteen years, then WHAM it's worth a billion dollars. Then you say, "Hey, I could have done that." But, see, the thing is, you didn't, and neither did the private sector, because they aren't omnitient either.

I believe Mosaic was a University product.

Yes, in fact it was created at NCSA, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Funded by NSF, and paid for by your tax dollars. Shocked?

Taxation Fallacies (1)

dallen (11400) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046256)

Ah, but do you know how many BILLIONS of dollars are given to major US companies via corporate welfare tax writeoffs? Over $125 billion a year, that's how much.

If you're going to be irritated at unfair government policies, don't get mad at researchers and software developers, get mad at corporations who have custom-written loopholes written into the tax codes just for them.

'S what I think.

For a bit more (scary) info, look at: []

I thought I would never.... (1)

bishop6 (12147) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046258)

read about this. Gee, isn't this why you pay for software in the first place? I mean you pay for the people to program it, R&D, production, shipping etc... Now if we pay taxes to get this software to developed, we might as well just pay for some software at Egghead. Same concept, someone is getting paid.

I thought this whole thing was a bunch of programmers all over the world dedicating their free time and effort and passion for computing.

As soon as money gets involed, that's all gone.

Please Don't Do it! (1)

mattc (12417) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046259)

Oh, and I suppose the billions wasted in Iraq last month was an example of -good- use of taxpayer's money. Sheesh!

or just require goverment progs to have source (1)

mattc (12417) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046260)

A better solution would require the Clinton to only accept software that includes the source code. Wasn't this what Ada was made for?

oh, lord, another one . . . (1)

Venomous Louse (12488) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046261)

Listen socialist, the software would then not be free, would it? . . . shut up yourself about the socialist bullshit,

leaving aside the fact the "free beer/free speech" thing, which another poster was kind enough to explain, why is it that libertarians are (almost) invariably abusive and insulting? of course, their maturity level isn't a valid reason to dismiss their ideas (that's one of niven's laws: "no cause is so just that there isn't an idiot supporting it, so don't judge a cause by its followers" words to that effect). it's just depressing, that's all.

besides, what makes them think that being able to spell "libertarian" exempts them from the responsibility of learning any basic facts about economics and policy before they shoot their mouths off?

that guy sounded like a centrist mixed-economy advocate, which is not a socialist. these are two very, very different things. you can say, "yeah, but i define 'socialist' differently!", and that's your right, but if so, you can't expect anybody to read your mind and know what you mean.

I don't think I should be forced to pay for services not rendered unto me.

thank god these characters never had any power and never will. we'd still be in the bronze age.

the vast majority of basic research that happens in this world is funded by governments. businesses rarely have the cash flow to invest in anything with no short-term return, and almost never have the vision. there are exceptions, but they are brief and rare. i have no doubt that somebody can name some significant basic research done in the private sector, but much, much more has been done in academia with government funding, and in government agencies themselves.

the problem (IMHO) with these junior high school "libertarians" is that they have a nice, simple, appealing, reductionist Grand Theory of Everything. they never waste time on the facts when they can appeal to their Theory instead. look, if the greater good is served by a mixed economy, then let's stick with it. i'd very much like to see any convincing evidence to the contrary; it's a very interesting question, and worth discussing. unsupported theories don't count as evidence, nor does vebal abuse. . . . and shouting "socialist" as if it were a dirty word is just plain silly.

there must be some sensible, grown-up libertarians out there somewhere. come to think of it, i mentioned larry niven above, didn't i? he seems pretty sensible . . .

It's not just for software... (1)

jimduchek (13246) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046262)

I'm considering applying for one to study wearables, mainly image recognition and memory, visual, and hearing enhancement. I couldn't afford the equip w/o a grant.

It's in our interest (1)

Kludge (13653) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046263)

The federal funding of Free Software may actually save tax payers money if goverment institutions start using it. Federal and local governments pour vast amounts of $$ into software every year. Having a firm foundation of free software would save us all money in the future.

The federal government buys so much software it could break Microsoft's monopoly in an instant if President Clinton forbade any government money being spent on Microsoft products. This is well within his power and would be much cheaper than spending years in court.

You'll Pay alright... (1)

Prophet (13824) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046264)

The only difference between planning an Open Source project and planning not to go Open Source is that in an Open Source project anyone has the ability to review the code, 'own' the code, use the code, and *gasp* evaluate the projects source. If you don't have an Open Source project, you can hide your code, only let those whom contractually bind you audit your product, and produce binaries that are specific to one OS and platform.

Also; just because it is Open Source it doesn't mean that it will be a Linux/GNU project (but one can hope). If it is on WinNT/Solaris/BeOS/HPUX/etc.. then you should still aspire to use Open Source.

I know I want all government funded software that has no reason not to be released, freely available and accessible by the real government - the people, you and me.

Open Source is not a socialist movement (1)

GitM (13861) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046265)

Government funding of Open Source software is a Bad Idea. The Open Source movement is not a socialist movement, but a new form of marketplace. Ideally, an Open Source contributor will make money consulting or selling related software or documentation. The money will come from willing buyers, rather than from unwitting taxpayers.

Linux isn't created by uneducated bums (1)

The Hooded One (13892) | more than 15 years ago | (#2046266)

Anyone who developes software for linux obviously has a fair amount of knowledge about computers. I't not like people that develope software for linux don't have another job. You shouldn't get payed for doing your hobby.
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