GPU Is Retarded

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So this Gnutella client GPU has a license which states: "the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed." They call this the "no military use clause."

There is so much wrong with this it's hard to know where to begin.

Sure, it completely denies the point of free software/open source, which should not restrict the freedom of the person using it. But there's so much more that's wrong.

It doesn't actually prevent military use, for starters. It only prevents military use that harms another person. So if I am downloading an MP3 of "America, F**k Yeah!" while dropping bombs on Iraq, that is OK: I am not executing the program to harm anyone. The only prohibited use is if I use it to download, say, maps to help me find out where to drop my bombs.

Worse, the final phrase makes no sense whatsoever. First, how can you execute GPU in such a way that through inaaction you permit someone to be harmed? The most obvious way is that while you're downloading warez, you could get off your butt and actually go out to help make people's lives better, so using the program in the first place, for any reason, can violate the license.

But that's also giving the license too much credit, because that clause makes no grammatical sense. It's unbalanced. It is, as some of you will instantly realize, a derivation of Asimov's First Law of Robotics, which states, "A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." One way to restate the inaction clause is, "A robot may not ... through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." Simple. Makes sense.

So let's try that with GPU's license. "[T]he program and its derivative work will [not] be modified or executed ... through inaction permit any human being to be harmed."


And who decides what is a human being? Can Planned Parenthood use it to distribute flyers?

And what is "harm"? Does that include a nice good Slashdotting that costs a web site operator some money with which he could have fed his family?

And further, what about the fact that militaries in the last 100 years (in the West, anyway) have done more to preserve freedom in the face of tyrannical regimes, than to take it away?

The subject says it all. GPU is retarded.

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