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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] re: Low cost hardware option

From: Mark J. Blair
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] re: Low cost hardware option
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 22:54:40 -0800

On Jan 12, 2011, at 9:17 PM, Jamie Morken wrote:
> That sounds like a pretty good system.  I should say right off the bat that 
> if I am involved to make this I would want to add a clause in the open source 
> hardware license to not allow the hardware to be used for military 
> applications.  I think it is important to state this at the start before I 
> would get involved working on a new gnu radio board.  If people can live with 
> that requirement I am happy to do the layout work.

How would you define "military applications"? I collect surplus military gear 
as a hobby, and I'm presently working on a GNUradio-based implementation of a 
decoder for high-speed Morse code transmissions from my vintage AN/GRA-71 
code-burst keyer (for which key pieces of the original reception hardware is 
unobtainium). I'm presently working entirely in simulation, but my USRP will 
get pressed into service for this before long. Would you consider that 
application to be "military"? Or how about if I were to use the hardware to 
intercommunicate with other military radio hardware (such as any of the 
countless surplus military radios used on the ham radio bands every day)? What 
if I throw it in my HMMWV and use it on a ham band during a Veteran's Day 
parade? What if a soldier wishes to use the hardware on-base for MARS 

If any such things would be considered "military", then I'd neither use nor 
contribute towards any hardware that's shackled by such a silly restriction. 
Furthermore, I doubt very much that the restriction would be at all enforceable.

Personally, I don't think that any prior restraint placed upon end use of the 
hardware (beyond the requirement to keep derivative works open in most cases) 
is compatible with the very libertarian principles of the open software 
movement. I've released code under GPL. I thus place certain limited 
restrictions on the use of the code to keep it open, but beyond those limited 
restrictions, it's really none of my business to tell people what they can and 
can't do with it. If I wanted to control its end use to that degree, then I 
wouldn't have released it in the first place.

Mark J. Blair, NF6X <address@hidden>
Web page: http://www.nf6x.net/
GnuPG public key available from my web page.

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