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Arrests For Selling Poison-Ware In Spain

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the end-of-a-reign dept.

Crime 178

An anonymous reader writes "Spain's FBI equivalent has arrested the management of a software company (Google translation; Spanish original) for selling custom software to small and medium-sized businesses with 'controlled errors' that resulted in the software bombing on a predetermined date. They would then charge for fixing the problem and press the client into buying a maintenance contract. More than 1,000 clients were affected."

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Microsoft (3, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660542)

Sooo, they were following the Micro$oft business model then?

Re:Microsoft (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660644)

There's nothing the least bit controlled about Microsoft's errors, so I fail to see how this could apply to them.

Re:Microsoft (2, Funny)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660716)

Those who did not learn from the history of Windows 3.0 are doomed to repeat it.

Re:Microsoft (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660722)

I don't agree, and I'm not saying they deliberately cripple the code. By going for cheaper development process they can ensure continued product enhancements and a much stronger need for product support in mission-critical environments. (ugh, did I say mission-critical? How come Microsoft products even end up in that sector???)

Re:Microsoft (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660906)

That's right... plausible deniability.

You have to pay for non-security bugfixes to Windows 2003 now, by buying a contract within 90 days of Jul 12, if you want support.

There are no "bomb on X date" bugs, but who in their right mind doesn't think there will eventually think there will eventually be some nasty bugs found? :)

Re:Microsoft (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660910)

[Er.... there are no known "bomb on X date" bugs]... Until the next Y2k-style event that is, when system clock reaches the maximum.

Many 32-bit OSes will be screwed in Jan 2038.

Re:Microsoft (1, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661026)

and that won't actually effect anything at all, pretty much the same as the y2k bug really wouldn't have effected anything either.

lotta hype, and a lot of busy-work for workers recently displaced by the dot-com bubble burst. that's really what the y2k bug amounted to

Re:Microsoft (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661426)

Maybe so... but by 2038, there will be a lot more old software than there was in 2000.

There are still businesses today, relying on Windows '98, even DOS 5.0 and Netware 3.x, are critical software to some businesses.

Think.. back in 2000, computers had only been in widespread use since the mid-80s. Approximately 20 years.

The number of software developers, and the number of programs people relied upon was very small back then.

The amount of different business critical software programs in use by different companies, software written between 1990 and 2030, that is likely to exhibit further date bugs, is likely an order of magnitude (at least) more massive, then the amount of software there could have been Y2K issues with..

Re:Microsoft (1)

luckymutt (996573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661634)

And don't forget about Y10k either.

Re:Microsoft (2, Insightful)

pegdhcp (1158827) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661622)

My dear Sir, the correct expression should be:
"There's nothing the least bit controlled _by the user_ about Microsoft's errors."
Sincerely

Re:Microsoft (5, Funny)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660688)

Mod parent up! Epic slam at the '$oft, brah.

Re:Microsoft (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660888)

Troll? Some people around here have no sense of humour...

Adobe Guilty (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661550)

Adobe's ColdFusion kind of does such by not renewing the Java "trusted" certificate for older versions such that a warning pops up when using Java widgets from those versions. It's not a show-stopper because it's only a warning dialog, but it essentially forces an upgrade for serious businesses who don't want nag screens for their clients.

Shenanigans! (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660548)

I hope they throw the book at them. They're basically holding their customers hostage.

Re:Shenanigans! (3, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660574)

I hope they throw the book at them. They're basically holding their customers hostage.

Even worse, they are breaking some contract for sure. Bugs are one thing; every written piece of software contains bugs. But when you intentionally code the program to fail at certain intervals you are cheating the customers.

What if cars were programmed to randomly stop at some random interval? GM's head would be served up on a plate.

Re:Shenanigans! (2, Informative)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660614)

That kind of thing has been happening for generations, where have you been?. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence [wikipedia.org]

Re:Shenanigans! (3, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660670)

Planned obsolescence (planning for a product to go out of service) has no relation to selling someone a product that explicitly developed from the start to not do it's advertised capabilities.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660744)

Sure it does. There are varying degrees of that kind of behaviour, and some cross the line of legality, depending on what is promised in the advertising and contracts. XP was advertised to be very secure, but it won't be after they stop supporting it. I'm not even sure it's secure now. It's a matter of the company trying to get away with as much planned obsolescence as possible without being nailed by the law, and it happens all the time. This is just an example of planned obsolescence that is obviously on the far end of the scale of illegality.

Not entirely shenanigans! (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660726)

[Planned obsolescence] has been happening for generations, where have you been?

It's not always ENTIRELY shenanigans.

For instance: The "design lifetime" in the auto industry is not just about selling another car. It's also about not spending a lot of extra money making, say, the transmission good for 750,000 miles when several other major systems are going to go out at a small fraction of that time. (When you're making several million units a year, saving a nickel each adds up to enough to hire two more full-time engineers to figure out how to do it.)

Making mechanical parts that last can be tough and costly. (And half a century ago it was a lot tougher, without the major advances in materials science since then.) If you design all the parts to last for at least some design lifetime and not much longer you can accumulate a lot of savings. If some major system was going to unavoidably fail shortly after that design lifetime anyhow, having the rest not good for much longer doesn't appreciably affect the utility of the vehicle for the consumer. But the cost savings can be used to lower the price (and grab market share, for a net profit increase) - which DOES help him out significantly.

The ideal in the limit is the "Preacher's marvelous one-horse shay, which lasted a hundred years and all fell apart on the very same day."

some cars have oil change light that only dealer c (2, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660878)

some cars have oil change light that only dealer can trun off. But there are other laws that stop the them going to far.

Just wait for the AIR force to get shut off and then this carp will die fast and some may go hidden jail.

Re:Shenanigans! (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661068)

Per Wiki regarding software

Software companies are sometimes thought to deliberately drop support for older technologies as a calculated attempt to force users to purchase new products to replace those made obsolete[citation needed]. Most proprietary software will ultimately reach an end-of-life point, at which the manufacturer will cease updates and support. As free software can always be updated and maintained by the end user, the user is not at the sole mercy of a proprietary vendor.

Noticed that there's no mention of disabling a program or set of features on a set date. You can still run MS DOS if you wish for as long as you want. Just don't expect to get any support from Microsoft. You're on your own. That's the difference between planned obsolescence and poison-ware.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660628)

Bugs are one thing; every written piece of software contains bugs. But when you intentionally code the program to fail at certain intervals you are cheating the customers.

Doesn't that also fling the doors WIDE open for damages suits to be filed against the company for losses in the clients companies?

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660634)

What if cars were programmed to randomly stop at some random interval? GM's head would be served up on a plate.

I envision a future where all the use of all hardware and software is leased, and it can be disabled at will when the vendor changes the terms of service("terms of use are subject to change at any time") as per the EULA. Vendor just got sued for patent violations, wanna continue to run their software? Help pay their legal fees the extra $5 monthly surcharge. Wanna get back on the internet? Pay your penalty fee for posting obscenities on a forum.

Etc, etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660892)

This is kind of stuff that jigsaw guy does not like.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661546)

You mean like printer cartridges?

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660646)

every written piece of software contains bugs.

wow. so this is where the horrible developers i work with get it from.

how about this one, does it contain bugs?

10 PRINT "Meshach is never wrong!";
20 GOTO 10;

What if cars were programmed to randomly stop at some random interval?

what if GM's head put a hit out on your life and you were killed? how can you relate the viability of corporate software with the viability of human life? what if guns were designed to fire backwards? are you kidding me?

Re:Shenanigans! (5, Funny)

Jade E. 2 (313290) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660676)

how about this one, does it contain bugs?

10 PRINT "Meshach is never wrong!";
20 GOTO 10;

Yes, BASIC doesn't use semicolons at the end of lines.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660786)

That and the BASIC interpreter likely has a bug somewhere.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660922)

a bug in displaying characters or jumping to a memory location? you are retarded.

besides, even in a retarded utopia where that might happen, that wouldn't be a bug in the software, that would be a bug in the infrastructure used to execute the software.

settle down mister literal ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661298)

somewhere an oldbeard chuckles to himself and navigates onward.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660818)

wow... so as long as a single compiler won't compile it, when that compiler was not specified, then the code contains bugs?

the machine i'm running the code on interprets it just fine... or is that a bug of my interpreter? perhaps everything is a bug and we're all idiots for perceiving it as functioning within any set of rules.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660900)

how about this one, does it contain bugs?

10 PRINT "Meshach is never wrong!";
20 GOTO 10;

Yes, BASIC doesn't use semicolons at the end of lines.

every basic interpreter i've ever used, since my first on an apple ][, optionally use semicolons to do many things, including ending lines for aesthetics sake. functionally it signifies concatenation. at the end of a line or command, it would be interpreted as concatenate with nothing. no harm. no foul.

whoever moderated this insightful is an idiot.

TEST IT FOR YOURSELF [calormen.com]

this site is full of retards, and retarded retards that will wholeheartedly praise anything a retard says that seemingly goes against something said against one their other retarded own.

Re:Shenanigans! (2, Funny)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660934)

Nice post!

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661012)

fuck you, retard.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661052)

Don't fuck with the retards. We have gorilla-like strength and the patience of chopping blocks.

We also inhabit a large country called the United States of America. You may have heard of it. We are, in fact, justification for a revival of a worldwide eugenics movement.

Now, if you'll excuse me, myself and the other retards have to watch our "Fox News Network" and drive arrogantly our oversized, insanely inefficient vehicles as we await our next orders from our Jewish overlords.

Signed,
A typical retard-slash-American.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661706)

Hey retard...did you even test this example out yourself before posting?

did you happen to compare:

10 PRINT "Hello World";

20 GOTO 10;

with:

10 PRINT "Hello World"

20 GOTO 10

???

What douchebag.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661800)

yeah, i did test them both, and then i ran my copy of montezuma's revenge for a bit. neither one of the examples contains a bug that wouldn't be an arbitrary aesthetic choice by the spec architect.

given that my original intentional was to not have a linebreak, IF ANYTHING, the example without the semi-colon has a bug... but in general my intention was just to drill home the fact infinitely that Meshach is quite often wrong.

douchebag? because i'm right? YOU ARE A RETARD.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661238)

Yes, BASIC doesn't use semicolons at the end of lines.

Indeed, BASIC doesn't use semicolons to end statements. It does, however, use semicolons specifically in PRINT statement to indicate two things. First, when used as a separator between two arguments, it indicates that arguments shall be printed without any interweaving space (in contrast, comma imitates tabbing by inserting spaces between arguments to line them out in the output). Second, when used as a terminator after the last argument of PRINT, it suppresses a newline that is normally printed (comma does, too, but, again, it inserts some spacing to position cursor on the next tab position).

Consequently, the first statement in GP's BASIC program is legal and will compile. The second will not.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661450)

if only he didn't post a link to an interpreter [calormen.com] where it compiled just fine... then you wouldn't look like a fucking retard for stating that it "will not."

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661722)

Good for him - I didn't read the whole thread. Anyway, what I said still applies to Standard (ECMA/ANS/ISO) BASIC; semicolon as a statement separator is a language extension.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660952)

10 PRINT "Meshach is never wrong!";
20 GOTO 10;

I'd count an infinite loop as a bug...

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660994)

I'd count an infinite loop as a bug...

Unless it's documented [manpagez.com] .

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661040)

you haven't developed too many server daemons, have you? did you work for microsoft developing their windows OS?

software NOT crashing is a BUG?!

WHERE DO THEY GET THESE RETARDS?#!!#%^(&*

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661066)

I'd count an infinite loop as a bug...

Maybe if it weren't intentional and explicitly defined as an infinite loop.

Re:Shenanigans! (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661154)

10 PRINT "Meshach is never wrong!";

20 GOTO 10;

I'd count an infinite loop as a bug...

All of my microcontroller programs have infinite loops.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661242)

Every operating system and game has to have one too. Otherwise, how are they going to respond to events?

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661476)

Loops that escape upon some condition are, by defition, not infinite.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

madddddddddd (1710534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661494)

in that case, once the entire electrical potential of the universe is consumed, by "defition" (jesus, dude, you don't have spell check?) no piece of computer software could ever contain a truly infinite loop.

you just proved the universe wrong.

fucking retards)*(&^@!#)q13

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661762)

Obviously the BASIC example is not infinite, because energy is finite.

Re:Shenanigans! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661132)

Then there is Toyota - their cars are randomly programmed *not* to stop at random intervals.

[rimshot]

fun captcha = Kicked

Re:Shenanigans! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661178)

Ah, but there is a remote kill switch. I bet you didn't know this, but that, combined with the OnStar keeps the driver from entering teh GHetto to buy drugs if he is under 25 years old... See you gotta insert your license into a slot under the dash, give up a small blood sample, and... Oh wait... That's next year's model. We will present all the new models, right after tonight's commercial free episode of Bonanza..

See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet..

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661318)

    Well.....

    Since you brought the car analogy in... :)

    Cars have a given lifespan. It's not totally precise, but it's good enough. Many parts are designed to wear. It's better for the manufacturer if the car lasts about 100k to 150k miles. You liked the car til it got old and started breaking down, therefore you buy another car from them. Manufacturers also maintain a lifespan where they will continue to produce replacement parts. From what I found online, that's 7 to 10 years (depending on the source of info). After that, they have no responsibility for making the part, but they will if there's still a good revenue stream.

    The same applies to computers. Try calling Dell and asking for a motherboard for your 1990 desktop computer. Or large appliances, or ... or ... or ... The list could go on forever. Manufacturers prefer to tell you that the parts are no longer made, so you should buy a new one. It's not advantageous to any manufacturer to make something that lasts forever. If you were to make a light bulb that lasted forever, you'd sell a lot of them at first, and then their sales would drop because no one would ever need replacements. Planned Obsolescence is an evil thing, but a good practice for a continued revenue stream.

    These folks took it a step too far, and got caught doing it. I've heard of others who have done the same thing, and enjoyed the extra income, but obviously it's illegal, immoral, and just plain wrong.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661478)

"...It's not advantageous to any manufacturer to make something that lasts forever. If you were to make a light bulb that lasted forever, you'd sell a lot of them at first, and then their sales would drop because no one would ever need replacements. ..."

That looks good on paper - but in my reality I see LED lightbulbs, Flourecent bulbs, and tons of ads in classic car magazines for replacement parts for everything from the Model A forward. I have a 1948 Ford myself....

Since you brought up the lightbulb analogy, I hear that if you get a 220V light bulb it has a thicker filament on it and will last virtually forever. They even sell "heavy duty" bulbs with thicker filaments for locations subject to vibrations and knocks. They cost a bit more, but darn near last forever. But for some reason, the people choose to buy bulbs that are a bit cheaper and dont last as long.

Sometimes they do build better mousetraps - but through poor marketing, high prices, or consumer apathy, the world doesn't change.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661798)

I hear that if you get a 220V light bulb it has a thicker filament on it and will last virtually forever.
 
If you run a 220v light bulb on 110v it should indeed last a very long time. But you will get a lot less light out of it than you will with a 110v bulb, so the trade-off is increased power use.
 
I actually looked into this several years ago for bulbs to illuminate my EXIT signs, but the power required to generate enough light with a 220v bulb was a lot more (triple? I can't remember) than it was worth.
 
I now have LED bulbs in my EXIT signs that use 3 watts and are supposed to last 20 years running 24 hours a day.

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661856)

LED lightbulbs, Flourecent bulbs,

    They're much better, but still not forever. I do appreciate the advance though. A glowing hot wire inside a vacuum sealed glass sphere seems a bit out of place with our advancements in technology.

and tons of ads in classic car magazines for replacement parts for everything from the Model A forward. I have a 1948 Ford myself.

    Those would be aftermarket parts. Some may be stock that was purchased when the manufacturer obsoleted it, but at least of the Model A, they're either refurbished or new manufacturing of compatible parts.

Since you brought up the lightbulb analogy, I hear that if you get a 220V light bulb it has a thicker filament on it and will last virtually forever. They even sell "heavy duty" bulbs with thicker filaments for locations subject to vibrations and knocks. They cost a bit more, but darn near last forever. But for some reason, the people choose to buy bulbs that are a bit cheaper and dont last as long.

They don't sell 220V bulbs in my part of the world (the good ol' USA), or at least I've never seen them in stores. I may have to buy some online and give it a shot. It makes perfect sense. I just wonder if they're dimmer at the lower voltage. I've purchased "heavy duty" bulbs for various applications, but find that they have the same survival rate as regular bulbs. One specific application was in my garage, where the motor shook the ceiling just enough to make the bulb burn out about once a month. The other has been for drop lights (like for working on cars). They're fine and dandy until you accidentally drop it from even an inch or so while it's on.

    The price point is very very important to sales. If you have a $0.50 lightbulb and a $2.00 lightbulb beside each other on the shelf, people will buy the $0.50 lightbulb, even if the $2.00 bulb advertises it lasts 5 times longer.

    We're in an instant gratification society, and with that is instant savings. If a person spends $0.50 today, and has to repeat the purchase on a regular basis, they'd rather do that, than spend the extra money and save over time. I frequently don't understand people, and how they can dispute simple math. Maybe most people are just dumb as rocks.

Sometimes they do build better mousetraps - but through poor marketing, high prices, or consumer apathy, the world doesn't change.

You're right on all counts. Well, there's one more on your list. If you start a company and build the better mousetrap, but I have an established company selling the old clunky mousetrap, it's a simple matter of lower my cost to below yours to ensure your mousetrap never succeeds. Sometimes companies operate segments at a loss just to defeat their competition. We saw this a lot with the gaming consoles a few years ago, and the constant game of lowering prices to make theirs more appealing, even if the price difference was only $1. People will spend $198 instead of $199, because it's cheaper, regardless of quality or features. {sigh}

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660920)

At my workplace we have a provider or two doing the same

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660942)

Yes... I suppose the question is.. did they specifically pick an arbitrary date, just for the sake of generating revenue, or was there a reasonable technical justification for the limitation?

Did they know about it or not? And if they did, then why did they not inform their customers of when the software would stop working and need an update?

See... a LOT of software, that relies on dates and times, if still in service, is going to stop working on a certain X date, that X date is Jan 1, 2038.

Until/unless updated. There are well-understood technical reasons for that, but most software vendors do not bother to disclose "this software will bomb on Jan 1, 2038".

Which is less than 28 years away, at this point.

And the fix is almost certainly not going to be 'free' for most (closed source) custom products.

I know a couple of guys like that (1, Redundant)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660564)

And i made some decent money undoing their damage. Donno why the customer never bothered to press charges.

Re:I know a couple of guys like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661140)

Money Money Money !

Re:I know a couple of guys like that (1)

The Mysterious Dr. X (1502541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661604)

I found a but like this while working as a medical assistant in two elderly doctors' office two years ago. Every month or two, the medical database would lock up and we would have to call the programmer and have him email us a fix. I took it upon myself to open it up in Visual Studio one day (all I had on my laptop at the time) and I discovered that it was programmed to rename its own file library upon opening after a certain date. Apparently, this had been happening since about 1993, and he had been charging the doctors $300 per month for his "maintenance fee." Our office then switched to a new, infinitely better database solution, though no charges were filed.

Also noteworthy, the faulty program didn't appear to have been really updated since they licensed it in '93; it still had that wonderful DOS goodness.

Not that uncommon (1, Offtopic)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660572)

Some of us, regrettably, have seen business practices not entirely dissimilar to this in places we've worked. "I found a bug that could cause our really important software service to crash" "Don't fix it - wait until someone on a service contract reports it". Sigh.

Re:Not that uncommon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660632)

And the worst to that is it then make the software vendor look very responsive, as they quickly find the issue and address it. No way for the customer to know if they haven't already documented and shelved the fix.

This is not the same thing at all. (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661032)

Any business has to weigh priorities. If you are spending your time fixing bug X, then that means either bug Y or feature Z is not being done.

Just because you know bug X exists does not mean it is more important than bug Y or feature Z, especially if no customers have reported it occurring.

Of course this all depends on the nature of the bug and what you mean by "crash".

Re:Not that uncommon (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661082)

Hold on a second dude. That's not similar at all. Not fixing a discovered bug in a years old client's software when they've not paid you to do it is simply business. If the client cares about it then they'll hire someone to work on it. You don't go back to a builder years after he's worked on your house and expect him to fix a mistake without payment, just because it's software doesn't mean reality changes.

If that's what your company does then please hand out the URL. I'll be the first in line to say that over extended features x,y and z are actually bugs that need fixing.

Re:Not that uncommon (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661376)

Personally I've never run into a company that didn't log the bugs encountered during development and testing. The question was whether they were considered high-enough priority to fix before release.

Re:Not that uncommon (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661378)

Wait? You ask for permission?

Where I currently work, if we encounter a bug with a trivial enough fix, we'd just fix it. Especially if you are already working on that section of code for another reason. Though this way the fix would only be released in the next major version.

If the bug is serious enough and might impact any existing clients we'd immediately raise a change request to track it and ask our client management / support staff if each client needs it fixed. (This is a pretty large software system with about 20 installations).

If the fix is too complex we might raise a change request to resolve it later when time allows, but now that we know about the issue, the next person to touch that code might fix it as well.

In Soviet Spain, We Bomb You!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660680)

Don't kid yourelves, Spain is as Commie as those red Chinese and those dirty Russians.

Uah (1)

AnAdventurer (1548515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660696)

Why didn't I think of that?

Nice (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660742)

In the US, the corporation, not the people, would be charged with a crime. And then they'd settle with the Government for a fine and no admission of wrongdoing.

It sounds like Spain out-justiced the US this time around.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660958)

How on earth did that get modded as a Troll???

Re:Nice (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661144)

Seconded.

Re:Nice (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661464)

Because US people cannot stand getting their companies criticized.

Re:Nice (1)

Loomismeister (1589505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661682)

False.

Extra work ahoy! (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660762)

Hang on, isn't that a good thing, because it's creating 'more work'?

[/sarcasm]

When will some people start to realize that efficiency is all about reducing jobs, instead of creating them... sigh.

Re:Extra work ahoy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660816)

which side are you even trolling for?

Re:Extra work ahoy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661058)

Hang on, isn't that a good thing, because it's creating 'more work'?

[/sarcasm]

When will some people start to realize that efficiency is all about reducing jobs, instead of creating them... sigh.

For those who don't understand the sarcasm and think the "creating 'more work'" is actually a valid argument...

Broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org] .

... and I know there are some of you. Practicioners of voodoo economics are everywhere these days.

Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (2, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660764)

(Subject line says it all.)

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661048)

The folks at the obfuscated C contest would like to point out that just because you see the source doesn't mean you'll easily be able to figure out what it's doing.

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (3, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661108)

The folks at the obfuscated C contest would like to point out that just because you see the source doesn't mean you'll easily be able to figure out what it's doing.

True.

But it's a lot easier than with a closed source program with the code owned by the crooks.

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (1)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661182)

How often does anything that looks like an obfuscated C contest entry actually get committed to a repository ?

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (2, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661246)

How often does anything that looks like an obfuscated C contest entry actually get committed to a repository ?

Check out any project on SourceForge that is written in Perl. :)

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661250)

How often does anything that looks like an obfuscated C contest entry actually get committed to a repository ?

If it's obfuscated well enough, you don't really know. That's the whole point.

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661254)

If you're breaking software on purpose, with management approval, and would presumably like to hide the logic behind the bug, an obfuscated state machine is the way to go...

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (4, Interesting)

Mike610544 (578872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661418)

How often does anything that looks like an obfuscated C contest entry actually get committed to a repository ?

It happens all the time where I work. I maintain some old code written by an old hacker (he's got a credit in the K&R book!) Shit like this is not uncommon:
*(&z + z) |= ~tqq + m ? u9 >> 2: 741 | w & 0x8F ? ~(~t11) : foo

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661252)

Unless the vendor is working on the software in its obfuscated form rather than using a processor to generate it, they would still be violating the GPL if all they released was the obfuscated source code.

From the text of the GPL:

The "source code" for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it.

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (4, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661612)

Sure. And who, exactly, is going to contribute to an open source project written intentionally obfuscated? Nobody. Then the project gets the reputation of being shoddy, and nobody uses it.

Or, there's also the "we'll just rewrite this little obfuscation and fork it" scenario.

Open Source thrives on its quality and dies from crap like this. People don't contribute to dead projects: they fork them or reimplement them.

Re:Yet another argument for Open Source. B-) (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661642)

It's a very, very slim margin. You would have to have enormously talented programmers to be able to restrict errors to "controlled errors" while programming in such an obfuscated way, and you'd have to be more talented than the people trying to debug your code. To hide the error effectively, obfuscating a small amount of code would make the error obvious, but obfuscating large swaths of code would make the code unmaintainable.

Even then, if you can view the source, you can usually make some kind of judgement call as to whether or not the code is deliberately obfuscated or not.

fi8st! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660772)

It's not unusual. (0, Troll)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660782)

This is merely a subscription business model.

It's much like what Microsoft has been pushing through their software licensing extortion^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H contracts.

--
BMO

I think... (1)

cyberzephyr (705742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660784)

It was a feature :-).

Meanwhile, back on the ranch (3, Funny)

zennyboy (1002544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660812)

I live here in Spain and this doesn't surprise me. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I'm surprised someone managed to program something so reliable they had to code in a time-bomb to make the software fail!

Spanish coders did that!

I'm proud :-)

(English ex-pat)

Does anyone know who it is? (1)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660866)

The article does not name the software company. Two of our main competitors timebomb their software - though it is written into the contracts, so its essentially above board. Still, I'd like to get a company name so that we can publish something to our customer base about this...

Re:Does anyone know who it is? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32660976)

The company is CIPSA, is mentionend on the GDT news: https://www.gdt.guardiacivil.es/webgdt [guardiacivil.es] at the bottom of the page, under "Detenidos los responsables de comercializar software con "bombas lógicas"

hang them (1)

andoman2000 (1755610) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660932)

These guys should be hung in the public square especially the technicians that re-wrote the software to fail again after the "fix"

It's not totally uncommon (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32660954)

I've worked in a few places that have basically been held hostage with 'support' contracts for their shoddy products. They prey on total lack of knowledge and short term thinking.

I recall identifying some changes that would reduce the need for the ongoing support and having such a company cost them unrealistically so as to price it out of our reach.

They then resumed gouging us for UI changes that I probably could have done myself.

Sounds like they weren't very good at it (1)

DelitaTheFridge (912659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661044)

Seriously if I were going to do something like this no one would have any idea, you wouldn't be able to convince the company paying for it that it was me exploiting known issue, let alone a court of law.

Planned obsolescence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32661078)

Hey, you didn't expect it to keep working forever did you?

Eliot Carver (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661174)

Sounds like Eliot Carver from Tomorrow Never Dies.

I just hope they don't try to start a war between Britain and China.

Sad comment about Software Engineering... (0, Redundant)

stoicfaux (466273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661218)

It's pretty sad when it's easier to intentionally put bugs into software than it is to keep them out. What's worse is that no one is quite sure which is the better business model...

Proliferation of Greed (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32661646)

It's amazing how greed feeds on itself like an addiction. They could have fleeced a dozen or so companies and kept under the radar. Instead they moved on up bigger, wider, and bolder so much so that the risk of getting caught became almost a certainty. Enron and Madoff are also examples of this.

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