Friday, 7 December 2012

Unemployment - Reward for Principles

I have just spent an inordinate amount of my precious time doing something that is questionably illegal.

Company A has a new piece of machinery installed in their factory.

This machinery was ordered from Company B, an overseas supplier (almost all suppliers of this type of equipment are overseas from Oz).

It was designed, built, flown half-way around the world, assembled, installed, and commissioned by Company B - on nothing more than the promise of payment from Company A once commissioned and accepted.

Company A is using the machine - arguably a good indicator that the "accepted" bit has been met - but has NOT paid for it.

Company B has a time-bomb built into the operating software for just this circumstance, and since the bill was not paid, allowed it to detonate - expensive machine, he no worky.

Negotiations take place, more promises to pay are made, and the time-bomb is "removed" - as in the machine software is reconfigured to allow an additional week of operation.

Additional week passes, and the bill remains un-paid. Machine stops.

I am approached with a request to make it work again.

I spend days groping around in the software (written in Delphi, no less, but only the compiled code is available - no source) trying to fathom how the bomb is built.

It is not a simple "If today is after 7th December, don't work anymore", but turns out to be more complex. Regardless, I work it out, and come up with a way to bypass the bomb.

I refuse to implement it.

As I see it, this is immoral even if it can be spun that it is not illegal. The DMCA doesn't apply - neither party is US-based, but I DID work out a way to defeat IP protection. 

Management of Company A insists that I implement it, or be escorted off the premises, never to return.

As of now, I'm unemployed. I guess I'll apply for a job with Company B.

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