[H-GEN] Good news for us unix-heads
aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Fri Jan 18 00:19:40 EST 2002
(This should probably should move to chat)
On Fri, Jan 18, 2002 at 02:56:17PM +1000, Raymond Smith wrote:
> On Fri, 18 Jan 2002, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > It'll also be interesting to see if they can get away with claiming to
> > be `delivering on Trustworthy Computing', while retaining statements
> > like `MICROSOFT HEREBY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS WITH
> > REGARD TO THE SOFTWARE, INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND
> > CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE'. If
> > you're not even confident enough to say "We think this product is
> > actually reasonably fit for its ordinary purpose", why should *anyone*
> > trust your product?
> Can our community really claim to be different?
Not really, but we can't afford to be different either: it's just not
economically viable to give people any sort of guarantee for nothing.
Microsoft are in a different position though: they're taking money
for something (and a *lot* of money for it, really), so it's at least
plausible for them to offer a basic guarantee that the software will
both work or at least won't cause or allow catastrophic harm to the rest
of your system, backed up by the possibility of getting your money back,
or having the problem fixed promptly and at no charge, or getting damages
paid to you in the event of a mishap.
Red Hat, and commercial Linux VARs are in somewhat of a similar position,
although with less resources available to back up such guarantees (a Red
Hat 7.0 boxed set provides a broader range of software that can break
for less cost than Microsoft Windows or Office, eg).
> Even the GPL includes
> clauses like this. I think people could come to 'trust' Microsoft software
> for the same reasons that they 'trust' the Apache Software Foundation:
> because they produce a good product with demonstrable reliability.
The phrase "putting your money where your mouth is" comes to mind. 
It's hard to apply that to the Apache group since, really, they just
plain don't have any money. It's a lot easier to apply it to Red Hat, and
it's quite straightforward to apply it to Microsoft. It'd also be pretty
easy to apply it to J. Random Consultant whom you ask for a computer
system for your business, and whom you pay exx-ty thousandy dollars,
and who puts Linux on your system and walks away with the profits.
Going one step through the looking glass, and assuming people actually
start expecting basic guarantees about the quality of the software they
pay tens of thousands of dollars for, one wonders if it'd actually be
possible to maintain a 90% monopoly on operating system software: the
damages awards due to a Nimda-like virus that trashed most web servers
on the Internet would bankrupt pretty much anyone pretty quickly.
> Certainly there are other factors. For us, we can trust Apache more than
> IIS because we have the source and can see how it works.
There's that too. Of course, it doesn't do us any good if we don't look
at it, or don't have someone we trust look at it.
Anthony Towns <aj at humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.
The daffodils are coming. Are you?
linux.conf.au, February 2002, Brisbane, Australia
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