|From: Anthony Liguori
Date: Tue, Jun 27, 2000 10:43 PM
Subject: High-Tech Warranty Project -- Comment, P994413
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to you in response to an article posted on SlashDot (http://slashdot.org) concerning required warranties on software, specifically, free software. I understand the need to provide consumers with protection from software just as they are protected in any other product. I feel though that requiring any kind of warranty on free software will seriously deter the development of software as most important innovations have been through the free software community.
Free software means more than just software without cost. Free software is a forum for programmers to develop ideas with other programmers without constraints such as marketing or warranties. As a programmer, I can testify to the fact that when developing commercial software, one is more inclined to develop the software based the current "fads" in computers. Commercial software is historically years behind free software.
Many companies market free software which is where I assume a conflict occurs. Selling "free software" may seem like an oxymoron but what matters is the use of the word free. Free does not connote free from price but rather free from the restraints imposed from copyrights and intellectual property. The only restriction on free software is that it remain free. This freedom is not only on the consumers end. The developer of the software is also free from all things that would normally inhibit its development.
I hope that the Federal Trade Commission comes to the decision that free software should be free of any warranty requirement. Requiring a warranty of any kind will only destroy an industry that has cause perhaps one of the greatest ecumenical shifts since the Industrial Revolution. The greatest aspect of this shift is that as a small programmer, I can reap the benefits, not just large industries.