Posted Sep 6, 2007 9:19 UTC (Thu) by morhippo
Parent article: Software liability laws: a dangerous solution
The article does not differentiate between the code authors and the software vendors.
Of course, if a software vendor sells a piece of medical equipment running linux, he should accountable if the software fails and personal injury incurs. This is regardless of the fact whether the component that failed was open-source or not. The key-word here is "sells". If you make money with open-source, then you should be accountable for its failures and should not be allowed to sneak out of the responsibility. Open-source code is better reviewed than closed source code and the software vendor has the ability perform any additional reviews with the code he may find appropriate.
If, on the other hand, a developer simply donates code (at no cost to the licensees) to an open source project, he should of course not be accountable for any injury that incurs because of the application and use of that code by third parties, unless the damage was caused with wilful intent by the developer (e.g. a back-door). You are less liable for a gift than for a sold good.
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