John Cowan jcowan at
Fri Jan 26 18:28:38 UTC 2001

SamBC wrote:

> It is a problem in many nations, UK being the easiest example, where
> there are several 'implied warranties' that cannot be denied, succintly:
> merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and damages
> liability.

All this, however, is not merely a problem for the GPL or OSS software
in general.  All software is essentially sold without warranty
protection of any sort, insofar as the jurisdiction permits.

If you expect that Microsoft Word (to choose an example at random) has
to have any more function than an old leaky boot, you don't have a leg
to stand on.

> via PROMINENT NOTICES that CANNOT BE MISSED (excuse caps, easiest way to
> enforce point).

Exactly while almost all software licenses SCREAM their disclaimers.

> It is
> taken that software is the same as any other product, covered by these
> warranties. However, one of the assumptions the GPL works under (and is
> not a very safe one) is that people will read the disclaimer, and be
> sensible, or believe it to be true.

In addition, recovering the purchase price is rather pointless.

> A defending lawyer would make a good
> case that the failure of the software was at best a semi-deliberate
> ploy, as they new that it was not full-scale commercial stuff.

Probably won't work, because the commercial stuff is just the same.

There is / one art             || John Cowan <jcowan at>
no more / no less              ||
to do / all things             ||
with art- / lessness           \\ -- Piet Hein

More information about the License-discuss mailing list