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02.11.14

DARPA Fuels Debate Over Whether Freedom and Militarism Can Co-exist

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Freedom

Summary: DARPA says it breeds Free/Open Source software, but its goals serve to contradict altruism

DARPA is funding many projects, even in academia, having acquired its budget from taxpayers through war/black budget. DARPA basically returns to the public money that it took away, but it makes the returns selective and conditional, benefiting those who help the military industrial complex. DARPA has fuelled a debate that’s seen in some parts of the Web because some suggst a GPL clause that would limit distribution or use based on the purpose (e.g. surveillance and assassination). That would conflict with the spirit of the GPL, where free means freedom (the BSD camp would permit similar uses, including making the code proprietary). DARPA recently made some headlines [1-7] because it published a catalogue of Free/Open Source projects. The value of this remains to be debated.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. DARPA Publishes Open Source Catalog Containing Code and Publications from I2O Research

    Following requests from the R&D community, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has now published an open source catalog containing all the code and publications related to its research. The endeavor, the government agency states, is to provide government investments with a flexible technology base.

  2. DARPA Opens Software, Data To Public

    DARPA’s Open Catalog aims to encourage the research and software development community to build on the agency’s large volume of data.

  3. DARPA seeks the Holy Grail of search engines
  4. DARPA government research agency publishes catalog of open source projects

    Some have described the culture of the agency as one that celebrates ‘mad scientists’ going around building and creating technologies to bring the future about. With an annual budget of $2.8 billion, DARPA drives a good portion of the advanced research that happens at universities and corporations in the US.

  5. DARPA shows off clearinghouse site for open-source code and information
  6. Eureka! DARPA Posts Its Vast Collections of Open Source Tools
  7. DARPA publishes all its open source code in one place

    “Making our open source catalog available increases the number of experts who can help quickly develop relevant software for the government,” Chris White, the DARPA program manager behind the effort, said in a statement. “Our hope is that the computer science community will test and evaluate elements of our software and afterward adopt them as either standalone offerings or as components of their products.”

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