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

Al Jigen Billings albill at openbuddha.com
Wed Nov 30 06:44:01 CET 2011

On 11/29/11 9:35 PM, Volatile Compound wrote:
> 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.

There is a huge difference between someone taking your code that is open 
sourced and doing something with it (whether you like it or not) and 
taking a paycheck from a part of the federal government directly 
involved in our military efforts.

  Can you not see the difference?

> 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.

  That would be for various groups to decide. I'm drawing a line with 
the military and military related projects given the ten years of war 
we've had, among other reasons.

> 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.

  And exactly why you shouldn't explicitly join the military-industrial 

  Look, if you and your buddies want to take DoD money to make shit, do 
it. Be prepared to be judged by others if you do.

>> 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.

  Well, I do run a hackerspace as president and a board member so, yeah, 
I might have a bit of an axe to grind. I have a dog in this fight as it 

  I'm also on the e-mail lists for a number of other hackerspaces and 
this is a debate, on small scale, that many of them are having on their 
own. The DoD money is being discussed quite a bit. So far, I think 
everyone has made pretty much the same observations that I've made here 
and decided it was money best left on the table. Maybe you and your 
space feel different but I know of no one who has actually applied for 
the DoD money.

> 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.

  Nah, I'll talk about it here but thanks.


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