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Liability, the WRONG reason to use closed-source software.

Dear Reader,

Ok, back from Orlando. I had a great time at FileMaker DevCon. (Check DevZone for details and Flickr stream) When I got back, among the emails I had waiting was one from a friend that had a quote, I just had to share. It is not my intention to embarrass my friend or the local company so I’m leaving the names out.

Discussing an employee of a local company, he said:

“He said ***COMPANY NAME*** shies away from open source because there is no one to sue if something goes wrong with the software. It occurred to me later that they clearly haven’t read the licensing agreement for all their Microsoft software, especially the parts about no warranty of fitness for a particular use, using it at your own risk, no liability, etc.”

My friend is absolutely correct! If you are using commercial, closed source software because you are under the illusion that the company that produced is under some sort of legal liability, of any kind, you really need to review your EULA and applicable law. In most cases in the US, if your software causes you house to be converted into a smoking crater, no software company can be held liable for anything beyond the purchase price of the software.

One of my best friends is a .NET programmer and he and I co-exist peacefully because we understand that each of our choice in development platform was well reasoned and works best for us. I’m really ok with people who use closed source software. However, make sure you understand your reason and that it’s valid.

‘Nuff Said

Until next time,