Bonum Certa Men Certa

The ISO Delusion/Sirius Corporation: A 'Tech' Company Run by Non-Technical People

The time a Sirius manager demanded that all staff installs Microsoft Skype, creating an account in it

"I found what they call a whitepaper but it's 17 pages and basically says "We're ISO certified"..."

--Mathew Duggan, blog post from yesterday

Summary: Sirius 'Open Source' was hiring people who brought to the company a culture of redundant tasks and unwanted, even hostile technology; today we continue to tell the story of a company run by the CEO whose friends and acquaintances did severe damage

YESTERDAY I had a major hardware incident (the hard drive of my main PC suddenly died and needed replacing), so there was no article about Sirius, but today we're catching up fast (I've also upgraded the operating system).

Looking back at my time at Sirius (it'll be 12 years in 2 weeks from now), I try to recall the better days, the early days. These times weren't fantastic by any stretch of imagination, but they were certainly better. Free software was used at every level. The colleagues were looking after the physical infrastructure. The NOC colleagues adopted my handover format/style over a decade ago and management had better temper.

"One of them fell in love with Microsoft's proprietary junk..."More recent managers didn't understand Free software or "Open Source". One of them fell in love with Microsoft's proprietary junk, even several years before Gates Foundation money (Gates Foundation paid under some NDA, resulting in the formation of Sirius Open Source Inc.). He said in Twitter that "some things" are better entrusted to Microsoft and, as it turned out later, he allegedly worked against the company (the CEO said he was trying to liaise with one of our colleagues to "steal" our biggest client).

By contrast, his predecessors were very much involved in GNU/Linux. One of them is mentioned in an old talk: "The LiMo Foundation are building a mobile middleware stack based on Linux. With over 70% of the platform based on open source components, what are the benefits and challenges of open source adoption, and what is the LiMo approach to working with Open Source?"

"A 'box-ticking' 'bullshit job' is the only thing coming from her direction and she's failing even at that, repeatedly, then vanishing without replies/explanations (or just some lousy excuses)."We also had highly technical managers before that; of course they use GNU/Linux. At the moment it's safe to say that nobody, at least among the managers, uses it. The non-technical Office Manager probably uses a "phone" some of the time (instead of a "proper" computer) and probably has no clue about any of the technical details or the tasks inside the company. A 'box-ticking' 'bullshit job' is the only thing coming from her direction and she's failing even at that, repeatedly, then vanishing without replies/explanations (or just some lousy excuses).

Below we present some redacted evidence of the issue spoken about above. Here's the handling of "Failed PSU". As per Handover to Shift 3, 22/07/19: "Renewed the warranty for xxxxx. Don't tell the customer that it ran out. (xxxxx's email address was the one listed. I've changed that to the support email/number.) Checking that it is plugged in before xxxxx calls in the warranty."

So the very simple task of renewing the warranty was not done. Handover to Shift 1 10/08/2019 said: "Both xxxxx and I have attempted to claim the warranty on this, but the HP Carepack Centre say they will not send out a new power supply without seeing the logs. The warranty did not cover the time that the logs will show that the PSU failed, so unless someone can figure out a solution then we are stuck. Whilst this server only has one working PSU it is at risk, so we need an idea."

"Clients' server are at risk of physical damage."Notice they keep the customer in the dark about this. Handover to shift 3 - 24/08/2019: "xxxx received the xxxxx and said he was fitting it on the 19th. Waiting for update when he returns from holiday on 4th September." More recently a similar incident, as per Handover to shift 1 - 11/09/2022: "Looked for the warranty certificate. (She hasn't sent it to support, so checked my own emails and slack too.) xxxxx said she would send it out before she went on maternity leave."

So one can see what it means to have irresponsible 'box tickers'. Clients' server are at risk of physical damage.

Regarding the above-mentioned Skype episode, another 'box ticker' prepared a useless presentation based on bogus data and wanted all the staff to install Skype, even though it was proprietary and already controlled by Microsoft.

This is him:

Skype accounts

Dear All

Very soon we will be holding an Operations Staff Skype call to deal with activities, processes and customer service ethos of the team. If you need to create a Skype account, please do so by Tuesday 24th March. A camera is optional, but you will need a microphone.

Once you have a Skype account, please add me as a contact: xxxxxxxxx. I will need this information to join you to the call.

Kind regards


My reply:

Hi xxxxxxxxx,

Will it be possible to connect through landline/mobile/NOC phone (Cisco) or SIP? Also, what date/time is the event? It looks like it says 27/3 (Friday).




Hi Roy

The event is Friday 27th March at 10 am. I shall be using slides on the call, hence my request a few days ago that everyone connect to my Skype account.



After a lot of pressure I found some old (very old) Android phone from 2012 and temporarily put Skype on it.

I need to find some machine that I can afford to compromise (maybe a phone). There are passwords and stuff on this machine, so installing Skype on it is out of the question (too dangerous).

He thanked me, ran a totally useless presentation on this, and then I deleted the whole thing.

This is what he wrote to all the colleagues, promoting Microsoft's Skype to them:

I note there are a number of team members that have not yet added me on Skype. Please do this in preparation for Friday's meeting.



Dear All

Here's a check list of what you'll need to do to prepare for tomorrow's call and some guidance for joining the call.

1. A Skype account 2. Be connected to me. Skype name: xxxxxxx 3. Audio: mic and sound. We probably won't use individual video links as this can cause bandwidth issues 4. Reasonable screen real estate so that you're able to view some slides 5. A quiet space — background noise will be distracting to others on the call

Notes: 1. It's best to mute if you're not speaking 2. At 09:55, open a Skype session. I will add you to the the call. Once everyone is added I will host the session by initiating the call 3. Folks in the office may find it easier to gather around 1 or 2 machines 4. If you haven't connected to me you cannot be joined to the call. If you're not on the call you will miss important information


Not so long later he left the company after (according to the CEO) it turned out he had been working against the company behind the scenes.

Dear All

It's time to say goodbye and I wanted to say thank you to each and everyone of you for my gifts, cards and especially, for my "bag for life!" Very topical!

I have enjoyed my time at Sirius very much — you are an inspiring bunch to work with. And for sure, you collectively pack-a-punch that puts Sirius fairly and squarely amongst far larger competitors. I may no longer be inside the tent, but please be assured, I will remain a Sirius fan.

Farewell Sirians

All the best


That said nothing about the real reason he left.

So that's another story for these chronicles. In the next couple of days we'll show some more stories and then conclude/summarise the series.

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