Better proxy support available via libcurl?

Robert J. Hansen rjh at
Thu Aug 3 05:18:01 CEST 2006

Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> Please take note of the fine print:

When one party dictates terms and the other person has no say in their
drafting, American jurisprudence tends to say that any and all
ambiguities in the terms are interpreted in favor of the party who had
no say.  (This is usually referred to as a "contract of adhesion".)

You may think there's no ambiguity there.  I think there's enough
ambiguity for a lawyer to credibly claim his or her client's
interpretation is reasonable, especially given how technically
illiterate most judges are.

As a general rule, programmers make lousy lawyers.  We live in a world
where everything is clear-cut, black and white, where ultimately
everything boils down to the mathematics of the lambda calculus.  We
live in a world where elegance in code is a virtue, and it's generally
possible to determine the meaning of a well-written piece of code by
looking at it in isolation.  This is enshrined in our lives as a virtue:
side-effect free programming and complete referential transparency.

Lawyers live in a world that's completely opposite.  In their world
there are very few black and whites and almost anything is up for
debate.  The law is a Byzantine morass of legislation, regulation and
precedent, all of them interacting with the other.

Please note that I am not saying SuSE is off the hook.  Nor am I saying
that what OS X, SuSE and others are doing is kosher.  All that I am
doing is warning against the false sense of security that often
accompanies programmers when we start talking about what the law does or
does not mean, or how a judge would or would not construe the terms of a

Let's be cautious, let's be prudent, and let's find a way that gets us
out of the thicket of lawyers with a minimum of hubbub and stress.

> In practice, the exception is good only for system libraries

Could you please point me to a court precedent which affirms this
interpretation?  Because until a court decides what it means, we really
don't know what it means.

As a matter of practice on the engineering side of the fence, I'd agree
with you, that's what it's always been read to be.  But I'm very, very
wary about walking on the legal side of the fence and telling the
lawyers they need to subscribe to our interpretation.

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