[sf-lug] Rick's explanation of his internet setup.

Adrien Lamothe alamozzz at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 6 19:40:38 PST 2006

 >> Actually, you are the one who needs to cite an example of a suit
>> brought against a consumer for benchmarking a product.


>I believe you were saying that disallowing software benchmarking via a
>product EULA is illegal and unenforceable.  I therefore would like to
>see a cite of the controlling law (statute or caselaw), since I can't
>find any.  You must have had some reason to think that; all I did was
>ask you to cite that reason.

You won't find any statute that says "it is O.K. to benchmark software you have purchased." Let's say I buy some milk at a grocery store, and they make me sign an agreement to the effect that I will not tell other people my opinion of the milk, and also not to send a sample of that milk to a laboratory for analysis. I won't find any statutes that tell me it is O.K. to critique the milk or have it analyzed, because I'm free to do just about anything with the milk, I own it. If the grocery store wants to try enforcing that agreement, good luck to them, they'll get laughed out of court. The Novell situation is identical. Automotive magazines borrow or buy cars so they can test and benchmark them. Reviewers benchmark computer hardware and software almost daily, and publish the results. Benchmarking a product you own is legal, period.

While on the subject, this is a good time to mention those mysterious gremlins known as "market forces." By affixing such an onerous condition to their license agreement, Novell will cause users to really question what is going on, and leave a negative impression. Negative impressions can contribute to people taking their business elsewhere. Closely related is the concept of "good will," something most business people don't understand these days (I've been told there was a time when "good will" was valued by businesses, but that may be a myth, related to the myth of the "good old days.") In the open-source software business, I think "good will" is a very important concept, and those who ignore it tend to get left behind (think XFree86, etc.)

- Adrien

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