Talkback for article: 381, June2005

Faulty Software

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From: Jesse Weinstein <jessw(at)netwood.net> [ date: 2006-06-02 ]
You said: "because customers may take them to court if essential functions are not working. In the case of Open Source Software the pressure is not so high. The GPL excludes any warranties and responsibilities."

This is not actually correct. Nearly all software, open source and closed, disclaims all warranties and responsibilities. If you read the EULAs for nearly all the commcercial software you have they all claim you cannot sue them for any reason whatsoever - if the software eats your dog and gets you in trouble with the NSA, you still can't sue them, according to their EULAs. So Open Source software is not different in that respect.

The difference comes from market pressure; commercial software is sold, so if it has too many faults, and this becomes known, possible customers will be less inclined to purchase it, and this will harm the company making the product. With Open Source software produced by volunteers, scratching their own itches, this need to applese the customer is not there. However, the need to have a program that works, if only for their own use, remains, so the effect on the number of faults may be insignificant.

I just wanted to correct your mis-statement that commercial software typically makes any warranties and responsibilities; this is not true.

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