Open source defense technology?

Open source defense technology?

Summary: To blame the Internet for Jihad because Jihadists use it is like blaming Henry Ford for car bombs.


IBM logoHidden in the background of IBM's UIMA announcement at LinuxWorld is how the search technology came to be.

It's a joint venture with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA). In the middle of what the President still calls the Global War on Terror, tools developed with Department of Defense input are being let out into the world.

The idea of UIMA is to combine what search engines do best with what people do best, which is learn and make non-obvious connections. IBM calls it a platform for unstructured search across the enterprise. And by the end of the year it will all be at Sourceforge.

The announcement comes just a day after the Washington Post ran a story claiming Al Qaeda has basically moved its base of operations to the Net.

Does anyone see something of a contradiction there?

Personally I think IBM is on the right side. To blame the Internet for Jihad because Jihadists use it is like blaming Henry Ford for car bombs. But the Post article did drop like a bomb on many Washington decision-makers, and I guarantee it will be followed by attempts to restrict the resource.

Some say that restriction has already begun. Photographer and blogger Hugh Crawford says the weekend's FCC actions represent a new effort to control exactly what technology is permitted online, turning ISPs into choke-points on innovation. Analyst Susan Crawford says he understates the case. (Ray Gifford of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, the tech-industry think tank, is not nearly so upset.)

So in the midst of this debate, IBM takes a key search technology and makes it open source, with 15 companies already committed to using the framework, as our own Elinor Mills writes.

Strange days, indeed.

Topic: IBM

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  • All the more reason

    to speed up the WiMAX specification and to get the end-point devices installed. Once the critical mass of people have WiMAX routers, its time to create the WiMESH! Free of ISPs and ANY type of controls - the WiMESH will eventually become more popular than the "real" internet. I can't wait.
    Roger Ramjet
  • government development

    It is unfortunate that there is not more government money available for research and development of non specific projects relating to the internet, os development, and other "blue sky" technologies relating to computing. Although the defense department has first dibbs, the technology usually makes its way to the public, as did the fallout of the apollo program, and other space related achievements.

    Non-commercial development of problems/solutions leads to different answers than commercial development, as exemplified by windows, and military hardware, one which comes out a little buggy, and the other that takes a decade to develop, but works 100%. Sometimes slow and steady is the better approach, but usually not embraced by corporations looking to return money on an investment or keep ahead of the competition.