[clug] Your Best arguments please

Pearl Louis pearl.louis at anu.edu.au
Fri Aug 8 12:01:56 EST 2003

On Fri, 8 Aug 2003 12:52 am, Burn Alting wrote:

> He next argues, that there is no-one to "sue" if you get it wrong. That
> the developers don't listen or see market pressures ... perhaps he's
> never heard of mailing lists or newgroups!

I think the best way to counter this is to print out Microsoft's standard EULA 
for Windows or Office and point out the part where it says that they are not 
responsible for any damages etc.  The point being most of the time, you can't 
sue if something goes wrong with closed-source commercial software either.   
The ability to sue the developers if something goes wrong is a moot point - a 
red herring that tries to leads you astray, because closed source or open 
source, developers try to absolve themselves of as much legal responsiblity 
as possible.  Otherwise, ask  when the ACT government is going to start 
sueing MS for loss in productivity due to crashes, poor security leading to 
viruses etc..  Surely if you can sue close-source developers, it is the 
responsibility of the ACT government to save taxpayers' money by sueing MS!

What commercial closed-source software often gives you is a support contract 
(which you have to pay extra for).  However with OSS like Linux you can also 
sign support contracts with say Red Hat or IBM to give you they same level of 
support that commercial software can.  I think that when people think of 
"responsibility" they really mean support contracts, not "sueing".

As for the open standards issue.  Why not bring up the good old railway gauge 
history?  Everyone is familiar with that.


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