As many of you know, there’s a woman in California suing Microsoft, claiming that they bear some liability as a result of the constant barrage of security vulnerabilities. Here’s a thought: losing this lawsuit could be the best thing that ever happened to Microsoft, as it could kill Linux.
OK… so that sounds a little strange. Let me explain.
If Microsoft loses this lawsuit it would be a precident-setting case. It would establish as law the following edict:
Software developers are liable for the damage caused by flaws in their software, regardless of the language of their End User License Agreement (EULA.)
Why is this a good thing for Microsoft? Because they are, quite literally, the only company on the planet with the kind of funds to sustain the inevitable flood of lawsuits that this new precident would inflict on the software industry. Even better, it would make every developer on an open source project personally liable for the flaws in the software they create. Who in their right mind would develop software for free if doing so would expose them to lawsuits? Even more, companies like Red Hat, etc. would not want to contribute to open source development, or sell open source tools, as doing so would open the door to company-destroying lawsuits.
Seriously, there may be hidden ramifications here– this is an important case. This might be one of those things that “seemed like a good idea at the time.”