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Software liability laws: a dangerous solution

Software liability laws: a dangerous solution

Posted Sep 7, 2007 19:39 UTC (Fri) by jordanb (guest, #45668)
In reply to: Software liability laws: a dangerous solution by nim-nim
Parent article: Software liability laws: a dangerous solution

You can, actually, buy legally-binding QOS guarentees from some companies (like IBM) for some software. The market has decided that such agreements are very, very expensive though, and the company will end up wanting pretty much total control over your operating environment.

I wonder if there are any insurance companies who offer software failure insurance. It seems like they'd be better structured to deal with the liability.

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Software liability laws: a dangerous solution

Posted Sep 7, 2007 20:05 UTC (Fri) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

The point is not you can buy software with actual liability.

The point is today non-IT people buy software expecting some liability if things go wrong. So in practice they get swindled by vendors. Often in a huge way (some vendors write huge bills and customers lap them because they expect corresponding huge liabilities)

And liabilities don't have to be astronomic for vendors to behave. Just high enough they take care of bugs (that editors often put way behind marketing useless gimicks)

Software liability laws: a dangerous solution

Posted Sep 8, 2007 1:04 UTC (Sat) by jordanb (guest, #45668) [Link]

Yeah you have a good point.

I've actually been thinking it might not be bad for programmers to be licensed like engineers or other professionals. One thing that engineers have that progammers don't is the ability to tell their boss "I won't cut that corner because it's illegal for me to do so." And if you're a contractor you don't have to worry about somebody else low-balling you if you quote the price of doing it correctly, they won't find a programmer who will cut any more corners because it'd be illegal for him to do so as well.

Also we'd have a great buffer against outsourcing. There's a reason why all the American civil engineering (or lawyering, etc) jobs haven't gone to India: few, if any Indian civil engineers, or lawyers, or whatever, have license to practice in the US.

Software liability laws: a dangerous solution

Posted Sep 8, 2007 19:13 UTC (Sat) by kevinbsmith (guest, #4778) [Link]

At least for now, licensing software developers would be a disaster. The industry is moving so fast that "best practices" from ten years ago are outdated, and from twenty years ago are laughable. Object orientation, XML, Test-Driven Design...who knows what comes next. And who knows which "flavor of the month" will become a best practice, and which will be revealed as unhelpful.

All the proposals I have seen for licensing are based on enterprise-level waterfall-style processes. Almost every job I have had (for 25 years) has been in small, agile projects that would not have benefited from processes appropriate for space shuttles and multinational banking. (Those processes would have killed the projects).

Personally, I have no problem telling my boss "no, I can't do that". I wish more people felt free to do the same, but I don't think licensing is the right way to get there.

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