|From: "Christopher S. Swingley"
Date: Wed, Jun 28, 2000 12:20 PM
Subject: High-Tech Warranty Project -- Comment, P994413
High-Tech Warranty Project -- Comment, P994413
1. I think that requiring warranties on software products as in UCITA and other proposed legislation is a very bad idea. This requirement is completely unnecessary in a free market economy. If consumers desired warranties on their software products, they would choose software products that come with a warranty. When I purchased my first car, one of the things I considered was the quality of the warranty. Why should software be any different, especially once Microsoft's monopoly power has been reduced enough for there to be competition in the software market.
2. In addition, requiring warranties for all software will put an undue restriction on those of us who offer our own software products to the world for free. I have written dozens of small programs to solve specific tasks where I work and release these programs under the GNU Public License, which allows anyone to view the source code for the program and make their own modifications. It also specifies that the program comes with no warranty. If the program works well enough for me, I'm hoping that it will work well for someone else, but I certainly don't have the resources available to defend my software against some sort of warranty claim. The result of such requirements will be the stifling of free software (which, I might add, is largely responsible for the Internet boom and our current economic surge).
3. What ever happened to the idea that people need to take some responsibility for their own actions? If someone is willing to download a piece of software from my web site and run it on their own personal computer, they need to accept the fact that this is a risky enterprise, and no amount of governmental regulation can make this completely safe. The government is already involved enough in our lives, and I can see no reason why the government should become involved here.
4. These statements are my own and may or may not reflect University of Alaska Fairbanks policy. Thank you,
Christopher S. Swingley