[LINK] Gates Misses the Mark, and the Point, on Security
rick at praxis.com.au
Sat Mar 12 14:29:02 EST 2005
Robert Hart wrote:
> The issue of a company supplier of a Linux distribution (eg Red Hat) is,
> I think, not the problem - you would have purchased something from them
> and thus product liability would apply (even if oyu are not actually
> buying the software, I would expect Red Hat to stand behind what it
> ships - after all, it already does to the extent that proprietary
> software suppliers do).
> It is the position of the individual FOSS developer that has me
If the law read that the producer/creater of a piece of software
is liable for the reliability of that software, then it matters not
whether the author is a company or an individual. What does matter
is the ability to transfer this liability to, for example, an insurance
firm, so that the cost of the liability is fixed and easily determined.
Now let's think about the implications of such law. If a piece of
software is found to be unreliable (i.e. it fails the acceptance test
defined in law), then what recourse does the customer have?
(*) a full refund for the software; customer returns packaging
and deletes all instances of the software
(This would be like returning a car and obtaining a refund
due to a defect in the car)
(*) the recall of the software; the software is replaced by a version
that meets the acceptance test defined by law
(This would be like a recall for a certain model of car: the brakes
have to be fixed for a Coroka Model IIIs)
What about the recovery of damages for defective software? This is
where liability insurance is required - to cover the cost of damages
awarded through litigation.
So, company or individual, it would appear that anyone offering software
for sale or for free has to cover themselves with some sort of liability
I don't think that the cost of the software comes into the liability
equation, does it? THere are numerous examples in law where a service
provided for free still entails some sort of responsibility, be it
public liability, duty of care, or whatever. If the law says software
must be reliable and pass certain acceptance tests, then that applies
to all software.
Rick Welykochy || Praxis Services
Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.
-- Spike Milligan
More information about the Link