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File under "Stupid Idea": A Non-Military Open Source License

Posted by n_alex on August 21, 2003 at 11:59 AM PDT

I'm surprised MadJack got so bent out of shape about my idea for a Non-Military Open Source License . . . and totally missed the point of my entry yesterday. Of course non-military Open Source is a completely stupid and inane idea--which is why I abandoned it long ago. But the thought that it could be done? It was worth looking into at the time. Never mind that it betrays the spirit and letter of the Open Source definition. Never mind it's completely unenforceable. It's just stupid. *toss*

Even if there wasn't much of a chance for its survival, the implications were worth the ten minutes they took me to research all those months ago, and they were worth the answer I got from Mr. Rosen. Lying in that answer was something pretty important, and the military licensing question was just a McGuffin to get me there. In order to have good ideas one must first have ideas. That means a lot of bad ones go through the brainpan and get filed in the closet with Stupid #2114 above.

I'm not opposed to my country's military, just to its mismanagement. I think better access to timely, helpful information will help more people become more involved with self governance (those who want to become involved, that is), so that we (Stateside) don't need such a large federal government in the first place. A smaller government should be even easier to track and hold accountable to the public, but the damn thing is growing like a weed. Hell, even the President needs better access to information, from the look of things.

I think the Open Government Information Awareness project is a superb idea because it takes the spirit of Open Source and information freedom and puts it to use in a very practical way. Now they just need to keep up to date on pending legislation (and maybe write a legal/english, english/legal translator for those of us who can't figure out what "fractional reserve lending" means).

I think that IT workers, particularly those who've time to commit to Open Source work, could do a lot of good for their communities if they were to emulate or contribute to the examples set by MIT's Computing Culture Group. The idea is very practical (for you "bottom liners" out there), politically "neutral" if everyone is covered equally, and so far has gotten high marks of approval. The information's already out there--someone just needs to help put it together and make it useful.

So, we should give some thought to helping. It certainly couldn't hurt.

PS--I've certainly not cornered the market on truth, but I do what I can in my writing. If you're a "bottom liner" like Madjack, and are looking for writing that's a bit more "filling", I suggest you walk down to the library and read a book instead of a stranger's blog.

Or, better yet, you could write some code. :-)