[hackerspaces] will the fruits of our labors be used for, good or for evil?

Volatile Compound volatilecompound at gmail.com
Wed Nov 30 06:35:55 CET 2011

On 11/29/11 8:13 PM, Al Jigen Billings wrote:
> On 11/29/11 8:11 PM, ellrabin wrote:
>> I don't get the luxury of choosing which customer my company decides
>> to sell its components too.
> We're not talking about that. Quit changing the subject. We're talking
> about going to the DoD and asking for a grant from them (taking money
> from them directly) for projects for your hackerspace.
> Not the same thing at all.

Nor does it matter: the hackerspace has no control over any funded 
project once it's out the door.  Notice the amount of code developed 
under the GPL, BSD, and other licences that governments (including their 
defence agencies) use?  It's quite a lot, and whether or not the person 
who wrote that code under its respective licence wished for it to be 
used in those applications or not doesn't matter.

Further to that: if, as you assert, it's wrong to solicit donations from 
the DoD (to use your example), then who else is it wrong to accept money 
from?  General Electric does a ton of defence development, as do 
Chrysler, Disney, Kellogg's, and others - and each of those companies in 
one form or another has philanthropic interests.

Besides, who's to say that there aren't hostile organisations providing 
funding to hackerspaces through shell companies?  Or intelligence 
agencies, or any number of other could-bes?  Use your best judgement 
when approaching or being approached for funding, and if it doesn't seem 
right then don't take the offer.  At least with approaching the DoD you 
know exactly who you're dealing with up front.

> Again with the conflation. Quit setting up this bullshit strawman. No
> one is buying it.

Speaking of bullshit, quit grinding your personal political axes on the 
hackerspace stone wheel.  Seriously, your point seems to have little to 
do with an actual problem and more to do with you having found an 
opportunity to air your grievances with the military.

Don't want DoD funding in your hackerspace?  Fine.  Adopt a resolution, 
by-law, or other aphorism to that effect and move on.  But cram the 
friggin' proselytising about how evil it is do this with walnuts.

> This is about you, personally, and your hackerspace going to the DoD and
> asking them for money to fund projects. Nothing more, nothing less. Stay
> focused on THAT discussion.

Okay.  If a hackerspace can receive donations from the DoD, great.  The 
DoD can remain as impartial in the goings-on of that hackerspace as any 
other financial donor, but I'd probably give them a really bitchin' 
banner in the space for when visitors are over because, quite frankly, I 
like jet noise and things that go bang and they're pretty good at coming 
up with them.

- skroo.

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