GPU, an open-source project that allows the formation of P2P grids, added a “no military use” clause to their GPL-based software license. The license says that
“the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed.”
Which is cute and all in that Disney-esque picture of the world that the developers apparently have. But, it’s the sort of hypocritical stance that sullies the name of open-source development. Open-source is just that, open. It’s also, frankly, highly unlikely to be enforceable as there just in no precedent for excluding a specific user community based on intent.
The developer who inserted the clause cites ham radio operators as an inspiration, stating that a rule that says the technology can’t be used commercially is “respected by almost every ham operator”. Which, I suppose, is good enough, if we ignore those few who don’t respect it. I fail to see a supporting argument in citing a closely-tied community respecting a rule to not use out-moded technology for commercial gain. Oh, and the military routinely used ham radios. Was that poof of smoke an argument?
Even Richard Stallman has his reservations, saying that even he doesn’t support restricting the use of the software. Nevermind that grid computing might be used to say, oh, I don’t know, simulate a scenario that leads to not attacking someone.
This is a self-serving addition by developers who obviously think a great deal about themselves. I hope the pats they’ve given themselves is sufficient comfort as many of us laugh at their gesture and watch a little bit of the open-source community’s credibility drift away.