15 August 2006

History Repeats Itself

One of the pleasures of blogging is the fact that no day is the same: the stories are always different, and the mix changes constantly. Well, usually, anyway. Yesterday I wrote a couple of stories that seemed to have repeated themselves slightly later.

The first, about Microsoft's "half-open" Windows Live Writer was echoed by news that it will be making a development kit for the Xbox 360 available to everyone, in what it claims

will democratize game development by delivering the necessary tools to hobbyists, students, indie developers and studios alike to help them bring their creative game ideas to life while nurturing game development talent, collaboration and sharing that will benefit the entire industry.

Of course, another big beneficiary is Microsoft, which gets more games, plus the commitment of end-users. But it's still interesting as a recognition of user-generated production as an important part of the equation.

The second story concerned the Honest Public Licence (HPL). And now here we have somebody who wants to modify the GNU GPL to forbid military use.

Again, however laudable the intentions here, I think it's misguided - even more than the HPL. First, it will be even harder to police: how are you going to find out if some top-secret army organisation is modifying the code but not releasing it? Worse, though, is the fact that it will simply discourage people from using open source at a time when the US military, for example, is increasingly adopting it.

Let's get the world using free software first, and address the niceties afterwards.

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