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Re: [school-discuss] Disclaimer language for The Open CD

Benoit St-André wrote:

Aaron Tyo-Dickerson a écrit :

A local school district here in rural Upstate New York is interested in
distributing copies of The Open CD to students and community members,
but is concerned about "liability" issues. While I personally think that
free, open-source software is a terrific thing and understand the
implied "take it as it is" terms of the GPL and other legalese, I
understand the district's desire to head off any a) demands for "service
and support" and b) complaints that "that free stuff you gave me crashed
my computer". They would like a concise, easy to understand (by lay
users) disclaimer for the CDs that they would be distributing.

I have checked The Open CD's website (http://www.theopencd.org) and
cannot find any language there that would seem to fit the bill, but have
thought that rather than invent a blurb of my own, I might appeal to
members of this list who have either done this sort of thing already or
else might know where to steer me for this. Thanks very much for any
responses that can shared on this!

Aaron Tyo-Dickerson

What do they do when "stuff I paid crashed my computer" ?

Sorry, that was easy....

Easy but understandable, of course, Benoit. ;-)
This is not really an issue for the recipients of the The Open CD per se, but rather a comfort thing for the district that would like to distribute it. There is little tech-savviness assumed on the part of either of these camps, hence the search for some plain English (or French, if you like) to explain is a few sentences what free, open-source software is (free in every sense of the word) and is not (not corporate made or "waranteed").

For the other stuff, it is normally written in big capital letters in the GPL licence, in the section "NO WARRANTY"


But, so does all the proprietary software, except if you pay a big big
load of cash for guaranteed 24h/7 support, isn't it ? I don't think any
school ever does pay that kind of support warranty.

Would imagine that neither schools nor your average home user pays for that, no. It's not so much a matter of comparing FOSS to commercial product, but rather introducing FOSS and managing expectations a bit in the process. Maybe something along the lines of "The software on The Open CD is presented without warranty and District X does not offer technical assistance for its installation or use." That sounds a little bleak, so it would need to be preceeded by some more uplifting great-things-about-FOSS language.

Thanks for the reply!

Benoit St-André
Mon carnet web: http://benoitst-andre.net/blog/
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