[conspire] Candidate for tech. article of the year

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Apr 4 18:12:55 PDT 2021

Quoting Nick Moffitt (nick at zork.net):

> Here we can see that the author's financial troubles were part of the
> reason this was taken on and completed as a rush job.  Payment for the
> work was not a force for quality.
> Now, there's definitely an argument to be made that the default
> disclaimer of warranty in most Free Software licences is problematic,
> as "The r0ml" touches on in this piece:
> https://r0ml.medium.com/free-software-an-idea-whose-time-has-passed-6570c1d8218a

Please forgive me for saying this, but I find Robert F. ('The r0ml')
Lefkowitz's piece extremely fuzzy-minded, shallow, wrong-headed in many
places, and badly, badly in need of an editor.  In the name of saving
time, though, I'll save my bile about most of that, and just focus on
what Lefkowitz says about the GPLv[123] warranty disclaimer clauses.  

One of the more-minor problems one notices right away is that Lefkowitz
seems, by implication, clueless about the generally similar warranty
disclaimer clauses in almost all popular open source licences, including
major permissive ones.  No, Lefkowitz sees problems only with GPL, the
reliable mark of several major categories of licensing crank.  (To his 
credit, I will add that he acknowledges that proprietary software
licences, not just GPL, often purport to disclaim or severely abridge
warranty assurance.)

The gravamen of Lefkowitz's argument is that coders shielded from
warranty produce mind-boggingly negligent product.  (I paraphrase.)

One of the reason's I'm a little peevish about Lefkowitz's essay is
that, having made his somewhat sad and purblind claim about GPL 60% of
the way through his maddeningly discursive and generally bloody stupid
essay, for the sake of fairness, I then had to plow through the
remaining 40% to see if Lefkowitz at any point got to the blindingly
obvious lemma:  that anyone wishing to have a warranty above and beyond
what a licence (and local law) vouchsafes _is free to pay for one_.

If Lefkowitz had at any point mentioned that fact, I might not have
concluded that he's an idiot (while also being, without prejudice,
'Software Architect, Retired').  But alas.  To be generous of spirit,
maybe he had a major stroke just before writing that paragraph, and all
we have is the sad coda of his life's work.

There.  That felt better.

Cheers,                          Grammarian's bar joke #26:  A gerund and an 
Rick Moen                        infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.
rick at linuxmafia.com                                                           
McQ! (4x80)

More information about the conspire mailing list