Subject: Y2K warranties for Open Source software
From: "Michael A. Olson" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 10:02:40 -0800

In a thread begun by Joe Arceneaux, looking for Y2K warranties
for Open Source software, Peter Deutsch wrote:

> We're trying to track down Y2K statements from the
> suppliers of commercial software, to pass on to those who
> ask us and to raise our comfort level. We assume the open
> source we use is non-warrantied and in effect are
> providing self-waranty on such software where we use it.

Companies that distribute Open Source software for money generally
have to offer their paying customers warranties on operation and,
this year, on Y2K compliance.  If you're using software that's
available from a vendor for money, and also freely redistributable
on the Internet, you may be able to approach the commercial vendor
and buy just a Y2K warranty.  Sleepycat is willing to do this for
Berkeley DB, under some conditions.  It sounds as if LinuxCare may be
willing to extend a warranty for some Open Source code, as well.  I
don't know whether, for example, Sendmail Inc. would do the same
thing, but it's a sensible question to address to a salesperson.
Open Source vendors already have Y2K exposure.  Charging you for
the warranty helps them carry the risk.

> If someone has some hard figures on what this might cost
> I'd love to hear...

The short answer is that it depends on the software and the testing
applied to it already.  If the software does lots of date math, and
if testing hasn't been rigorous, commercial insurance will be more
expensive for the vendor, if it's available at all.  As a result,
any warranty that the vendor offers will be more expensive.