Link to ACCC material on Customer protections/rights

Alex Satrapa grail at
Sat Nov 2 01:17:38 EST 2002

Sam Couter wrote:
> And why are engineers and architects not required to meet the same basic
> standards as any other service provider?

Because they are bound by contract law, not trade practices in this case.

Check out the article at

An interesting quote:
   The relationship between the professional service provider
   and the consumer is all important. The responsibility for
   delivery of the service to meet the consumers needs rests
   not only on the ability of the professional, but more
   importantly, with the consumer’s ability to communicate
   their requirements effectively. Imposing requirements on
   professionals to deliver a service that is “fit for
   purpose” would require the consumer to be in a position
   fully to define and articulate the purpose of the service,
   and comprehensively to determine the final end use of the
   artefact created from the service.  The “fitness for
   purpose” test as applied in the various pieces of
   legislation to professional services is inappropriate.

> Am I, a BIT, an "engineer" when I provide the professional services of
> writing, modifying, installing or configuring software?

No more than you are an architect.

> Is Microsoft an "engineer" when it sells software?

Microsoft isn't even an "engineer" when it builds the software.  "mass 
producer" or "publisher" perhaps.

Note that the attitude of the Institute of Engineers in the quoted 
article is that service providers should be allowed to be exempt from 
"fitness for purpose" clauses, simply because IEAUST expect that the 
market should allow shoddy products to be sold.  They don't actually 
invoke the spirit of "market forces", but they get damned close to it.

The main difference between an Engineer/Architect providing services and 
anyone else providing services is that an Engineer/Architect is usually 
providing one-off (or "bespoke") services, to a client who doesn't 
necessarily know what they want.

Compare this to Microsoft who writes the product they want to write, 
then flogs it off to the general public, claiming that they have an 
"Operating System" or "Web Services" - when in fact what they have is a 
viral proliferator*.

*Yes, I've been playing System Shock 2 for far too long.

More information about the linux mailing list