Open source and the military

This article got my attention.

It says: “Earlier this month, the U.S. Navy announced it was switching from Solaris to Linux for the control systems used in its unmanned helicopters.”

I was thinking of how horrible I would feel if I found that the military was using code, that I had written, to control devices to kill people, even though I would thoroughly know that by making it open source, I could not control who uses it. Of course, I do not write code, so that point is moot for me. Still…

That’s not all they are taking from open source. They also realise they need to share information. Surprise! Apparently keeping everyone in the dark all the time isn’t as advantageous as the military once thought it was.

@oldgeek You should not be so narrow minded as to the use of military technology. There is plenty of military technology that is used for things other than killing people and has made the world a better place for everybody (EX: the internet and GPS).

I would also like to point out that even if you were a closed source developer working on Solaris, their previous system, you would also have no control over what the software is used for. This is not a problem unique to open source or even software.

Things like Solaris and Linux are just tools used to complete a job. Don’t blame the tool for what people choose to do with it.

I’m not sure how I came across as blaming Linux for the military using it to control drones. That certainly was not my intention.

My point was that, even though one would not have any control over what is done with open sourced code, I, personally, would find it very disturbing that if there were code, that I had written, was used to control devices that kill people.

I apologize if I seemed to imply anything beyond that.

The DOD open source policy may make for interesting reading:

The fault was mine for not summarizing my post well. Equating the OS to a tool was a poor way to express my point. With that comment I was trying to express that the problem is not with the tool or the creator of the tool but with the people using the tool.

You, as the creator of a product, have little to no control over the product after it has been obtained by the user, so what good comes of stressing over what the user does with it? You just end up in a futile cat and mouse game like Apple trying to keep people who have purchased iPhones from getting root access to their own phones.

Thank you for clarifying your thoughts. I guess a better term for my reaction would be disgust. For you are correct.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.