I realize most of my readers couldn't give a shit about this, but I need to comment anyway. Bill Thompson of BBC WorldNews thinks current open source software licenses are no good
. Specifically, he is asking what happens when buggy software leaves your computer open to attack from viruses, worms or hackers?
Programmers have built their business models on a freedom from responsibility which would be considered wholly unacceptable in almost any other sphere of activity, public or private.
We all pay the cost in wasted time, lost files, hacked systems and reduced productivity. Our children spend time in lessons waiting for interactive whiteboards to be repaired while businesses around the world suffer from crashes and security breaches.
If Apple turned round to nano users and pointed to a shrinkwrap "licence" on the high-design packaging that exempted it from the provisions of consumer protection law it would never get away with such a blatant disregard for its customers' rights.
Why then do we allow software developers to do exactly that?
Except the problem with his argument is that it's wholly one-sided. He chiefly mentions open source firefox and only briefly drops Microsoft's big name. He is trying to lay blame to a movement (open source) when in fact the blame should lie with the industry as a whole. Bill, get off your high horse (or stop pandering to whoever is giving you money) because Microsoft is more to blame for these problems than open source is. People pay for their software, have been paying for a long time, and there is hardly any guarantee that it will be secure, or work properly, or ensure productivity. If nobody holds a company of that size and earning power culpable then how can you possibly point at the open source community and poo-poo their attempts to make a better computing world?