Rod Dixon roddixon at
Wed Jan 17 16:57:53 UTC 2007

The original post requires an answer that is a little more nuanced  
than John's answer.  "Acceptance" of the terms of a contractual  
agreement - i.e. a software license - can be implied, the formation  
of the license need not explicitly require an act manifesting assent  
to the terms (but ensuring that the licensee "expresses" a clear  
intent to accept the terms of the license is good practice); at  
least, theoretically, without manifestation of assent, the licensor  
leaves the question of acceptance of terms and, ultimately, whether  
the licensee is bound as questions open for dispute.

For discussion purposes, if an end-user can "run" software (meaning  
use it as an executable) without being bound by a license, then the  
default rules of Copyright law should apply (in the U.S.) and that  
means the software is not open source for the end-user  since  
copyright law does not make software open source by default.  If  
leaving the default rules of copyright controlling is intended by the  
copyright holder, then the warranty disclaimer would be more  
effective if it is NOT placed in a license that is non-binding.  The  
effectiveness of the disclaimer, of course, may be restricted by  
state law.

Rod Dixon

On Jan 17, 2007, at 11:00 AM, John Cowan wrote:

> Andrew C. Oliver scripsit:
>> Right but the GPL does not require acceptance of the license to  
>> RUN it
>> and the v3 explicitly states that.  Thus w/no acceptance, how is the
>> disclaimer binding?
> Because a disclaimer is not bilateral: it does not involve an offer  
> and
> acceptance.  It's exactly like a notice saying "Batteries not  
> included";
> it tells you what you aren't getting.  The only difference is that in
> some jurisdictions, some warranties must be provided by law, in  
> which case
> the disclaimer is ineffective in those jurisdictions as to those  
> warranties.
> -- 
> John Cowan    cowan at
>    There was an old man                Said with a laugh, "I
>      From Peru, whose lim'ricks all      Cut them in half, the pay is
>        Look'd like haiku.  He              Much better for two."
>                                              --Emmet O'Brien

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