[opensource-dev] Third party viewer policy

Gareth Nelson gareth at garethnelson.com
Thu Feb 25 06:17:49 PST 2010

There's a warranty disclaimer in the GPL, while that doesn't protect
developers from liability for active malice on their part, it does
protect them from any harm caused by bugs.

Personally, I wouldn't dream of releasing any code if I was required
to warrant it against all possible damages, as the damages with freely
distributable software can be effectively infinite. Of course, nothing
stops anyone who wants it from contracting with a developer for a
support contract or warranty, and the warranty disclaimer doesn't
allow people to GPL a virus and disclaim criminal liability. For the
record, anyone who wants to buy a support contract for any code I
might release should feel free to contact me so we can talk.

On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 1:55 AM, Darmath <darmath at tpg.com.au> wrote:
> Marine Kelley wrote:
>> Besides I don't see why on Earth any RL info should be disclosed to
>> everyone in the open, it is nobody's business except LL's who is
>> making and publishing third party viewers to connect to their grid. To
>> me the average developer of a third party viewer should be allowed to
>> remain anonymous, since the real griefers are never going to publish
>> their data anyway. And since a viewer developer cannot be held
>> responsible for the use of their viewer (despite what the policy
>> implies), this is a moot point.
> I disagree. It's actually the business of the user of the client who the
> relevant developer is. However that said I agree a developer should be
> able to remain anonymous should they choose. The reality is it's in the
> users hands whether he, she or it, will use a client from an unknown
> source or not. If they choose that they don't want to run a program on
> their computer from an unknown source then that is a choice for them to
> make.
> Additionally I  seem to be reading a lot seeking to suggest that
> developers in open source projects cannot be held liable with respect to
> the damage that the software developed may do to a user of that
> software. Whilst you can't judge each and every case in a vacuum I
> believe that notion is somewhat misguided. In my opinion the only thing
> that protects such persons from actually being sued is their ability to
> remain anonymous. After all it is kind of hard to sue people that are
> hiding in the shadows ;-). That doesn't mean that unknown individuals
> aren't actually liable. Liability and the practical ability to sue
> people are two different things.
> Kind regards
> Darren
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