non-military use license

Andrew C. Oliver acoliver at
Thu Jan 11 18:38:44 UTC 2007

Out of curiosity what if someone were to phrase a license that it the 
software could not be
used to "physically cause harm or injury to others" rather than 
expressly prohibiting military use.  This might mean that it gets some 
military use but probably would achieve much of what the authors 
intend.  I understand the key concern (although I don't share the same 
general political philosophy), and the OSI concerns, but it seems like 
there ought to be some middle ground that allows a non-discriminatory 
usage clause.   Broadly speaking "not harming or injuring others" seems 
like the kind of usage restriction that might be allowable...

Granted I agree if the idea is out there and its that good then the 
reimplementation is a trivial matter for a motivated large organization.


Matthew Garrett wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 12, 2007 at 12:32:03AM +0800, gilemon wrote:
>> That’s the reason why I’d like to discuss the option on using a license that
>> could protect the source code from being used by the military industry.
> Depending on how it's phrased, that would be a breach of either clause 5 
> or 6 of the open source definition. While some people may have moral 
> qualms about the military using their work, other people may have qualms 
> about homosexuals, scientists, people of a specific ethnicity and so on 
> using their work. Rather than get into a debate over which groups of 
> people can be discriminated against, we just forbid all discrimination.
> Practically speaking, bear in mind that most military groups probably 
> have sufficient resources to "borrow" your ideas and reimplement your 
> work regardless of what license you put it under.

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