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Software Guarantees
I'm all for software guarantees!

Now, I run a small software house, but still, I fully agree that software makers should be responsible for their code.

Of course, if you ask most of the software houses, they will describe all these various tragic consequences of software guarantees and immanent destruction of the whole IT industry (and maybe even the whole world).

Well, I say BULLSHIT to this!

First, let's look at this from the point of view of a software user. After all, running a software development business, I'm first and foremost a user of software. And I tell you, I'm really tired of this arrogance of development tools companies. Let me quote a part of the discussion on a Delphi Prism newsgroup at Embarcadero:

[Announcement that an update to Delphi Prism has been released.]

I'm a bit confused!
I bought Rad Studio 2009 professional upgrade for GBP440.00
without the 1 year support and maintenance.
Does this mean I am not eligible for any Prism updates?
What about Delphi 2009 updates?

You are eligible for bug fix updates,
not feature updates.

Surely bug fixes should be free anyway?

They are, but this is a feature update.

But doesn't it include some bug fixes?
Can I not just have those?
In fact looking at [changelog] there are quite a few bug fixes.

No, I'm afraid not.

So let me get this straight, I am eligible for bug fixes
but you are only releasing bug fixes as part of a feature update?
Is that right?

Yes, that is correct.

Come again?!?

I mean, how long will we, the users, tolerate such behavior? How long will software companies rip us off?! How long will they demand additional payment just to make their products work correctly?!?

Oh, and in the same thread, when guarantees were mentioned, another representative of the company replied:

if the EU software guarantee comes into force,
pretty much all "small" software shops (such as the one developing Oxygene)
will simply go and die.

Well, as a user, I say to that: I DON'T CARE!!! The sooner such companies die off or adjust, the better! This will leave enough breathing space for those of us who take our work and our customers seriously.

Anyway, I'm sure that I don't have to convince users of software to anything. ;)

Ok, so let's take a look now from the software company's POV.

Obviously, not many software companies will be in favor of software guarantees. After all, it's more work and more responsibility to their customers. But I strongly disagree that this will be a problem for small businesses.

And why?

Well, IME, most small businesses are forced to sign contracts that imply guarantees anyway. At least I know I am - it is totally inconceivable to my clients that if my software has any defects, these defects will not get fixed in a timely manner. This has become second nature to me, as much so that in the contract template I have guarantees included. So I guess that any new rules and regulations the governments think of, will have near zero effect on such companies as my own.

And I think that companies that write off the shelf software (although I do too and I still fix all defects) are just lazy - they don't want guarantees because that will force them to find ways to handle the development process and run customer support in such a way that will minimize guarantee costs. And I'm sure they would too, but it's just easier to do their business as they always did...

But from now on:
  • I refuse to support products / companies that don't fix critical defects in a timely manner, FOR FREE.
  • I refuse to buy from companies that drop support for previous versions of their products. If these products are still defective when a new version comes around, I expect to receive the new version, FOR FREE.
Ok, enough of this ranting - just don't let software companies be judges in their own case - they're not quite objective on this... :)


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