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Re: Fw: [argouml-dev] Licence issue (debian in particular)

On Tue, May 27, 2003 at 07:44:33PM +0200, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Scripsit Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>
> > Or, in other words, it may well fail DFSG #6, because the upstream is very
> > likely to be completely unwilling to open themselves up to the lawsuits
> > that could result from a critical failure of their software when used in
> > a safety-critical system where a failure could wreak havoc over a large
> > geographical area.
> But they could protect themselves perfectly well without trying to
> use their license to *forbid* use in saftety-critical systems. What
> they're saying here is not just "it'll not be our fault if something
> happens" - they're saying "you will be in violation of the license if
> you use it for X, so you can except to be sued".

Actually, that's arguable. The reason the boilerplate appeared in the
first place, in commercial software, was the exceedingly high potential
liability if a court found that you were not, in fact, allowed to disclaim
responsiblity, and someone used it in a safety/life-critical system.

Remember, just because it says "No warranty, express or implied" doesn't
make it true, in some places. Conversely, I'm not actually saying it
should be allowed as an exception; it was mostly trying to explain why Sun
probably has that clause, and why they might refuse to remove it (we can
only hope they'll remove it for an attempt at free licensing, entirely
*because* the liability issues could be significantly different, and merely
requiring a positive understanding that the software is not meant for those
uses could potentially suffice).

> > (Similar notices are often seen for life-critical systems such as medical,
> > military support, or other similar stuff).
> To the best of my knowledge we don't have any such (== trying to
> restrict use rather than merely disclaim warranty) notices in
> Debian. If we have, bugs should be filed against those packages.

See above; I wasn't trying to imply it should be exempted, as-is, and
I'm sorry if it came across that way. It was mostly meant as context
(especially for folks who've never seen the requirements list for
nuclear-safe stuff). Though I think removing the word 'licensed' there
would probably make it pass, since it doesn't explicitly forbid you from
doing it, only require that you grasp that it wasn't built for that (and,
as such, shifts the liability from them, for allowing it, to you, for being
stupid enough to have not followed the requirements).
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>

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