[Gta04-owner] A word of caution, and developers' non-liability

Neil Jerram neil at ossau.homelinux.net
Sat Sep 15 15:19:28 CEST 2012

I had a larger than usual phone bill this month.  It was because I'd
made a few calls to the speaking clock, when testing audio routing, and
one of those calls continued for a couple of hours after I thought it
had terminated.

Secondly, one of my QtMoko patches caused a regression in v48, which
broke SMS sending and also (I think) left the modem in a slightly
unusual state after that.

With both those things in mind, I just wanted to remind everyone that
there are risks in this project - the creation of the most open possible
smartphone - and to take care accordingly.  And also to point out that
in cases where something does go wrong - such as my phone bill - there
should be no question of holding developers, SW or HW, liable for that.

Free software projects typically disclaim all liability, so probably
everyone here is already familiar with the above and would not dispute
it, but I think it's worth reiterating.

There are a few practical steps that spring to mind, related to this:

- When you want to upgrade or install a new distro, only do it when you
  have a bit of extra time available, so you can check that all appears
  to be well, and in particular that things related to money
  (e.g. mobile network usage) are working correctly.

- If anyone would like to think about how we can start building a
  regressible test suite for GTA04 phone function, I think that would be
  a promising thing for the future.

- I recommend that people distributing free software for the GTA04
  review their project and download pages, and add or beef up statements
  of non-warranty and non-liability, if these are not already clear.

This is wonderful, pioneering work that we're all doing, and it's great
that we have so many participants in that (and, of course, even more
would be even better).  But please be aware that participating means
understanding and accepting some risk, and taking corresponding care.


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