[LINK] Rampaging bugbear
Sun, 6 Oct 2002 11:43:10 +1000
At 10:09 AM +1000 6/10/2002, Dassa wrote:
>Why not go after all consultants and advisors also. I'm sure a number
>of link participants have been responsible for some of the
>infrastructure, both hardware and software, that is in use at some of
>the larger organisations around the country. Also the media must share
>some liability, after all, they carried all the advertisements over the
There are a number of consultants and advisors I'd like to go after
... but given that they're usually selling into more ostensibly
sophisticated markets than the PC manufacturers (Apple, Intel, Dell,
Gateway etc), or the OS and application companies (Apple, MS, etc
etc), one could probably argue that the principle of 'caveat emptor'
>The bottom line is the mentality of blaming others is too wide spread.
>We must take responsibility for ourselves.
I have no problem with that. I do however have a big problem with
blaming users, consumers and clients for inherent software
shortcomings, and/or deficiencies in procedures and design by
software companies regarding security, updates and the like.
It all comes down to a matter of disclosure. When I buy a piece of
hardware, or a copy of an OS, or an application, the company
concerned goes to pains to remove themselves from any liability via
their 'agreements' ... that are only available after I have opened
the package. And basically the 'agreements' are a simply disavowal of
ANY responsibility for product shortcomings.
Nothing in those agreements says "If you install this package you
must spend a significant proportion of your remaining life-span
finding and installing any updates, bug fixes and security patches",
or that "If you buy this package it would be a smart move to buy and
install additional packages to ensure that it works right, or that
its secure or whatever AT YOUR OWN COST." These PC's OS's and apps
are sold as consumer items, into a consumer market that is basically
uninformed, is used to an electronic acquisitions policy that covers
little numbers like white-goods, TV's and games machines (and equates
PC's with same), and is used to the protection of the Sale of Goods
Act and other mercantile and consumer law with respect to same.
If consumers knew about the necessary additional time and expense
inherent in maintaining their PC's, in protecting their PC's, and in
doing the same for their software I doubt you'd sell to many of the
puppies. But consumers are NEVER informed of that by the people who
are trying to sell into the market. What is disclosed are trite
marketing phrases (like 'Where do you want to be today?', or 'Switch'
or 'digital hub'), or wonderful marketing tomes on how much more
'productive' you're going to be, or how much more 'enjoyment' or
'fun' you are going to have.
The 'bottom line' is that manufacturers, software producers and the
like in the real world take NO responsibility for any deficiencies in
what they sell us ... and I don't know about you, but I find that
>It is all too easy to blame others. But if you consider the small
>proportion that do end up with infections and other problems due to
>security holes, there are one hell of a lot out there that don't ever
>have a problem. Doesn't that tell you something?
Small proportion? Where have you been for the last 10 years? :)
Pretty well every PC (Apple, Intel, Sun etc) owner I know has had
some incidence of viral infection, or the blue screen of death, or
crashes and data corruption and loss. Hey, it's now regarded as a
fact of life .. which shows how successful the various manufacturers
and vendors have been in indoctrinating us.
>But if you link the responsibility for software performance and security
>to the license provisions software companies force on us then I would
>tend to agree with you more. If they want to clean up with restricitive
>licenses where the purchaser only pays to use the software and never
>owns it and is under strict restrictions with what they do with the
>software then the software companies should be made to take more
>responsibility for the performance and security of their products.
We basically agree ... but I think the moment that the software
companies tried to absolve themselves from ANY responsibility in this
... they lost any high ground. Basically their moral ground is now
that which you would associate with pond scum or sludge. (I include
Apple, Intel, Sun, MS and others under this umbrella) And given that,
and given that they want to put ALL the responsibility on the
consumer, and given that they will accept NONE themselves then all we
are saying is that it's about time that the 'worm turned' ... so to
That being the case, Rogers paper of 10 or 12 years ago is a good
place to start. Read it an you'll see that there's no radical onus of
responsibility imposed. There's no obligation which has not and would
not be imposed an ANY other manufacturer, vendor or producer. All
he's basically arguing for is that these companies should be subject
to the SAME consumer law controls that every other manufacturer,
vendor or producer is.
I find that neither radical, preposterous or an abrogation of any
personal responsibility I should accept.
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