All the software I write is marked, for non-military use only. This would include any use by the military, not just battle. It also includes work by contractors for the military such as interrogation or torture or even managing a payroll. This obviously includes the Afghanistan or Iraq wars which are both illegal wars of aggression. The way I look at it, the military has become bloated out of all plausible motive for defense. It is a parasite on the planet. I don’t in any way want to contribute to it. The way I look at it, if a nuclear war kills all six billion of us, the 1,000,000 people who had any hand in it, however indirect, each killed 6,000 people, dwarfing Timothy McVeigh’s crime. I want absolutely no part of such criminality.
People often get very angry about this restriction. I find it odd that they have no quarrel with software that restricts its use to non-commercial purposes. I find that baffling. Why would you want to discourage commerce and encourage killing?
The angriest I have ever been in my life was when a military contractor, Rockwell, refused to stop using my RESTORE software to distribute theirs. Their representative asked for special exemption. I said "No He said, Fuck you! we are going to use it anyway.. Some years later, Rockwell apologised and said they would not use it.
People are welcome to include any of my code in their programs. But, of course, that requires that new code bear the same restriction.
A Zen master presented his student with a valuable box, with the stipulation that it must always face east. The student took the box and placed it in his room. However to place the box east, he had to place the table against the wall on the opposite side of the room. This meant he had to move the bed. This made getting in and out of the room awkward, so he had to move the doorway in the wall. This caused a structural weakness in the house which required…
You may incorporate my code into your own products so long as those products are not primarily for military use. If you used my code in your drafting program for example and the military used it, you would be ok. If you used it in a drafting program for nuclear submarines, then you would not. You are not required to enforce the non-military use-only clause, just leave it visible in the programs distributed. The onus is on the military, not you. If you distribute source, just leave the non-military clause in my software. If you don’t, just insert the phrase for non-military use only in your program documentation or licence agreement. You are not required to make the user sign off on the restriction, though that might be wise to avoid having them come back at you later.
I don’t require you to determine the military status of all your customers, though if you knowingly sold to the military, you would be breaking the spirit of the agreement.
I strongly don’t want my code used for military purposes, and I don’t want to inconvenience you. I want you to be able to use my code as freely as possible for non-military purposes. I am not about to pounce on you for some minor misinterpretation of this request. I am providing gifts that took much more labour to produce than you would ever guess and I believe I have the right to decide whom I want to give them to. I consider military use considerably more egregious than theft. To me, it is the same as if you forced me to kill a child. You put blood on my hands.
People often try to talk me out of my non-military use restriction. How would you feel if you discovered software you wrote were being used to run a child pornography ring? I feel even more revolted by the military. I simply can’t aid and abet that sort of illegal actvity which so many people, especially Americans, consider perfectly acceptable, namely maiming, killing and torturing children. I am baffled that so many people put their creations out into the world with blanket permission to use them for any imaginable or illegal purpose.
A few examples:
Many people consider me highly wicked for putting this restriction on my software. They might note that probably they too refuse to write free software for the military. We do the same thing. It is just our motivations differ.
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