When management tries to save money, and there are no formal policies and procedures, then don’t get surprised when data leaks occur… Ungrounded Lightning shares the following story at Slashdot.
Reminds me of story about a graphics chip company
I’ll leave the company name out (mostly to protect my source B-) )
This was in the early part of the cycle of:
– A handful of companies made graphics accelerator chips..
– A BUNCH of new companies also made graphics accelerator chips.
– There was a shakeout and only a few survived – not necessarily many – or any – of the original handful.
The company in question was one of the original few.
The hardware was good. But much of the performance advantages were due to some good algorithms in the driver, which were applicable to other good, bad, or moderate capability hardware, rather than depending on special features of the company’s product.
As with many Silicon Valley companies, where the value added was so high that the administration could be utterly wacky or clueless and the company would still survive for years, this one had some managers make some dumb decisions.
One dumb decision was to try to save money by limiting the personnel to one new floppy disk per month. So the developers kept reusing the disks they had, when they shouldn’t.
As a result, the golden master for an object-only release of the driver was built on a used disk, which had once held the complete sources of the driver in question. Apparently the “reformat” process used didn’t overwrite the sectors – but the manufacturing process that cloned the golden master DID copy those sectors.
A customer tried an undelete utility and found almost the entire source code. Oops!
This news got out. Over the next couple years the great algorithms went from being a valuable trade secret (much of the company’s “secret sauce”) to a de facto industry standard.