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Re: AN IMPORTANT MESSEGE FROM SYMBOLICS SOFTWARE SUPPORT SERVICES
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 89 11:02 EDT
From: barmar@Think.COM (Barry Margolin)
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 89 08:53:08 CDT
From: email@example.com (Mac Michaels)
With a policy like this it kind of makes me glad that I no longer use a
Symbolics. Such a policy is warranted only when you ship software and
documentation with absolutely no bugs, errors, or inconsistencies. It
seems only fair that you pay people who report bugs and their solutions a
royality each time you sell that information.
That's a highly idealistic attitude, and businesses work on profit, not
altruism. Does your current vendor (Sun, I presume) pay you for your
First of all, not all calls to SW Support are to report bugs; many
times, it is customers asking for assistance. Why should they get such
help without paying for it? Sometimes the customer is looking for
patches that enhance the system for the purposes of specific
Second, why should software be any different from hardware?
Software is *very* different from hardware.
Hardware is normally tested before it is shipped. If it fails in the
field (after some warantee period) then you should pay to have it fixed.
Software bugs are flaws in the original product design and they are the
result of incomplete testing. Bugs are shipped with the product, they
do not "appear" with time (unless you suffer from bit-rot!) It is quite
possible that certain bugs are not manifested for some time, depending
on a particular user's exercise of the software affected by the problem.
However, discovery of a bug after the warantee period still reflects a
flaw in the original design.
The automotive industry calls a bug fix a "recall". The automotive
companies almost always pays for the fix, not the customer.
I guess I am always amused at how we can let companies sucker us into
buying a defective product and then get us to agree to pay them to fix
the problem. (Doesn't this sound like the present state of Pentagon
weapons systems purchases?)
If I don't
pay for a service plan, and a board fails, I'd have to pay Symbolics to
send someone to replace the board. By the same token, if you don't pay
for SW Support, and you discover a failing function, you pay for
Symbolics to send you a fixed version.
Software support is a service, not a right.
For assistance in using the product, I agree. For obtaining new
capabilities, I agree. For fixing design flaws, I strongly disagree. I
have a right to expect it to be fixed for free.