[This post is the fifth of a series defining software quality].
What does a safe harbor have to do with software quality, and how can self-sufficiency provide this safe harbor? Imagine your software vendor is acquired and that the acquirer thinks like this guy in:
an article on CNN.com in which Ellison is alleged to have said, regarding Oracle’s PeopleSoft acquisition: “We’re after their people, their customers, their money. It is not an integration. We will take their top developers, and they will work on our e-business suite.”
You can try third party support, that unless the software vendor sues the third party. As the above quote illustrates [ed. despite Ellison’s denial as noted by InformationWeek] for many vendors the priority is control of their customers.
This effectively prohibits all users needing software support from competitively selecting their hardware maintenance service
What about your priority, your ability to benefit from quality software in a fast changing world?
Right to be Free of Vendor Control
No vendor interference in ongoing business
Access to source code
Ability to extend system for unique business requirements
Ability to contribute to the enhancement process
Vendor control through traditional software licensing restricts customer options for vendor financial gain. The customer must be in control of their own business — their agenda, their rights must be respected by the software vendor. Thus the above extract from HarrisData’s Software Buyers Bill of Rights.
However, to realize the benefits of freedom from vendor control, the software customer needs to achieve self-sufficiency [ed. either alone, or along with its chosen set of partners]. Software Quality is improved to the extent the vendor transfers knowledge about the software, the underlying technologies, how to expand functionality most cost effectively, and ways other customers benefit from the product. Self-sufficiency is a key outcome of the partnership between software vendor and customer. It is the mutual respect for each other’s agendas and conversation flows of a partnership that allow the vendor to successfully transfer knowledge to the customer.