[linux-elitists] death knell for shrinkwrap...

Heather star@betelgeuse.starshine.org
Tue Feb 15 10:18:00 PST 2000


> On Tue, Feb 15, 2000 at 07:45:05AM -0800, Heather wrote:
> 
> > Jim Dennis predicted that UCITA (if passed and actually attempted to be
> > enforced) would be the death knell of commercial software... 
> 
> YM "proprietary, binary-only" software.  You are fined one round of
> Guinness for conduct unbecoming an elitist.

When one is quoting, one says what they said.  Fine me instead for forgetting
to put quote marks.  Doesn't matter :)  Jim drinks all my Guinness, then 
complains he's getting too Stout.

But, you are correct.  I bow to your superior Grammar Fu.

> RMS says:
> 
> > Sophisticated software companies that make proprietary software will
> > use shrink-wrap licenses to avoid liability entirely. But amateurs, and
> > self-employed contractors who develop software for others, will be often
> > be shafted because they didn't know about this problem. And we free
> > software developers won't have any reliable way to avoid the problem.
> 
> http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/ucita.html
> 
> It seems to me that software distribution sites may have to start 
> putting in a click-through "no warranty" agreement page for anyone 
> who chooses to download.  Which is more likely to kill FTP than 
> anything else, since the most convenient way to do this is with an
> HTTP cookie.

I always turn away cookies unless I'm shopping, and usually even then when
I'm only window-shopping.  If a site wants to make it painful to get their
stuff, they'll learn.  The Open Source crowd (even pre-buzzword shareware
folks) has been scrawling "I wrote this for me, if it doesn't work for you,
well, bummer, be nice and MAYBE I'll have time to do this instead of my
gainful employ" on their work for just ages now.  It's the same as the
"merchantability and fitness for purpose" junk only not nearly as rude.

As for FTP, there's already an "everything is logged, if you hate that
leave now" which is probably sufficient.  "Nothing here is under any 
warranty whatsoever, even though we make billions on the copy you can
go buy at Fry's instead;  that one only gets you 10 minutes of tech 
supp, 3.5 of which will be eaten by the phone tree."

Yeah, binary/proprietary crap loses.  We can write better stuff ourself,
and it's taken a while but the corporate world knows that too.  

The question is really is there any binary/proprietary stuff that is Such Good
Stuff that businesses will put up with its onerous restrictions now that they
are being made obvious.  Likely.  At least some suckers will fall victim to
heavy marketing and time pressures.  How many will take their business out
of Virginia, or away from software companies that try to enforce UCITA
clauses?  Will any companies be eaten alive by the restrictions?  Will the
corporate world realize that the Copyright Holder can grant other licenses
and make efforts to get those instead of the crappy one that came in their
shrinkwrap?  Time will tell.

Can you imagine a programming IDE that buried "you will release an 
interoperable version of any software written for commercial purposes under 
a license consistent with the Debian Free Software Guidelines as well" on 
page 23 of 25 in its enforceable shrinkwrap license?   teehee

Once upon a time the OS was unbundled from the hardware, and all was chaos.
Then the scavenger in the northwet scavenged a crummy little CP/M clone, 
got some gorilla marketing together... time passed and Apps rose and fell...
(with all the OEM deals it now resembles being re-bundled, but at least
there are more kinds of hardware.)

Now is the time for unbundling of support from the authors of the Apps.

* Heather
If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.  -- Louis Armstrong




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