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

Volatile Compound volatilecompound at gmail.com
Wed Nov 30 07:45:29 CET 2011

On 11/29/11 10:32 PM, Justis Peters wrote:
> On 11/30/2011 12:35 AM, 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.
> As long as you retain the copyright, you have many options in how you
> license it. You can even issue different licenses to different parties:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-licensing

True, and that's a good point.  I should have mentioned that that would 
be something that may need to be negotiated in the terms of acceptance 
of the financial assistance - in general, though, when you're accepting 
what basically amounts to free money, you don't really get to call the 

> You also can modify most licenses, including the "copyleft" ones, to
> prohibit specific uses. I don't think it can be enforced, but it might
> be enough to stop a bureaucracy from using it for a while. Also, some
> consider this option to no longer be "free software" (the free as in
> speech part). See discussion here:
> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/hessla.html

Also true, but again it all comes back to terms of acceptance.  It's 
just as easy for the person writing the cheque to say, "nope, not going 
to agree to that" and withhold the funds until the clause in question is 
modified to their liking or removed.

> While I'm still curious about the options here, I am definitely leaning
> toward the sentiment that Matt Joyce expressed earlier tonight:
>     "At some point you need to make a choice to believe in the
>     fundamental decency of mankind or to give up on ever believing the
>     world can be a better place without destroying itself in the process.
>     I say we bet it all on us being awesome. Cause hell... we are."

There's a line I'll paraphrase from the film 'Colossus: The Forbin 
Project' that may be relevant here: 'peace can be the peace of plenty, 
or the peace of eternal rest'.  Neither one was ever achieved without - 
at some point in history - force of arms.  That's not to say that force 
of arms is always the answer (obviously, it's not), but that doesn't 
mean that the problems they address are going to evapourate by 
themselves either.  Just something to consider.

- skroo.

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