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Re: is down

From: Tim McNamara
Subject: Re: is down
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 12:26:32 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.1002 (Gnus v5.10.2) Emacs/21.3.50 (darwin)

David Kastrup <address@hidden> writes:

> Tim McNamara <address@hidden> writes:
>> David Steuber <address@hidden> writes:
>> > OK, so I'm intolerant.  Suppose instead of breaking into a server
>> > and doing who knows how much damage that people then have to
>> > spend valuable time fixing, the miscreant instead took a
>> > sledgehammer to the windshield of your car.  Would you not want
>> > at least compensation for the damages and time to repair them?
>> Herein lies a rub.  Your windshield is not available for free,
>> given away and freely modifiable by others.  It's therefore easy to
>> assign a value for compensation in the case of material damage.  In
>> the case of damage to FSF sources and such, since it is given away
>> freely to anyone who wants it, there is difficulty in assigning a
>> value for compensatory or punitive purposes.
> Savannah is the central server for the GNU project.  GNU is the most
> important central component of almost every Linux-based operating
> system.  Since Savannah is staffed mostly by volunteers, the
> downtime will be larger than usual in commercial settings.  There is
> no reliable possibility to salvage security problems by hiring
> outsiders here.  So the slow remedy can't be helped much.
> Development crucial to Linux is slowed to a crawl for probably a
> month, and will pick up much braked afterwards because of the
> necessity of developers to deal with digital signatures and so on.
> Considering the Linux revenues that depend on such infrastructure,
> we are talking about a permanent damage in the order of billions of
> dollars.

Well, unfortunately those are indirect losses as far as the crime
itself is concerned, and the courts would be unlikely to award
punitive damages.  For example, if I use my personal car for work
purposes (say, as a traveling salesman) and my car is stolen, the
courts will award compensation commensurate with the direct loss but
not the indirect loss.  I can be compensated for the value of my
vehicle, but my employer will not be compensated for the loss of
revenue if I can't do my job because my car was stolen.

Ditto in this instance.  And frankly I think your estimate of
"billions of dollars" is highly overinflated.  Linux developers aren't
going to lose a lot of money because they don't have the newest
version of libtool in their distribution.  The only ones that would
have trouble are those whose distrubtions are already broken and were
awaiting fixes from GNU/FSF rather than fixing it themselves (it *is*
open source, after all).  I don't have a lot of sympathy for such

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