The follies of HP

Almost half my life ago, I tried to come up with a code of morality that I would choose to try to live by. 

Somedays I do better than others.  But like the Thirteen Virutes of Benjamin Franklin, they serve as a guide to all I do.  Frankly, had I known Franklin’s ideas (heavy reading alert) earlier I would have saved myself the trouble. 

I decided the four cornerstones of my life was to be honourable, trustworthy, as equitable as possible, and respectful towards others.  Every day isn’t a perfect one by any stretch, but I readily admit I am not a perfect being. 

Hewlett Packard was a company founded by two of the most respected men in the business of geekdom.  Bill Hewlett and David Packard were brilliantly gifted, deeply principled and showed extra-ordinary vision creating one of the best, forward thinking companies of our time.

How deeply it has fallen.  There are official biographies on the HP company website, but I don’t want to link to them.  The company has become morally destitute in my eyes.  The news has pretty much hit all major news outlets about the absolutely shameful conduct of HP’s Board of Directors.  The very people who are to give the greatest judgement and moral guidance have demonstrated themselves to be entirely bereft of precisely the values they are supposed to endear.

If you hadn’t heard, in the efforts to discover a leak to the news media, HP’s Board of Directors hired investigators who lied their way into obtaining phone records of members of the Board and (so far) nine journalists.

The latest is from the Financial Times where Kevin Allison reports “HP spy scandal extends to  (two) employees.“  They have taken what was once considered one of the best companies to work at and made it into a shambles where they lie in order to spy on their own people.

This is sobering and shameful.

It’s a little bit of old news to me - I first heard about it from Groklaw.  Pamela Jones (PJ) started her blog to talk about technology and the law - the big boost was the lawsuit of the Litigious Bastards vs. IBM.  (Okay, that’s a joke.  At one time when you searched for “Litigious Bastards” on Google you were sent to SCO’s website.)  One of the fallouts was that SCO wasn’t very pleased with PJ’s opinions and the good work Groklaw was doing to expose the arguments being presented.

PJ was targetted by this very same sort of attack.  It was unwarrented, it was improper, and it was every bit as unethical as what is going on at HP right now.  PJ understands better than almost anyone I can think of what is happening on a legal, moral, and personal front.  Go to Groklaw and follow the news there.  You’ll get amazing insight there - and you’re free to skip through what you don’t understand.  It’s going up on my links page as soon as I finish posting here.

Having thought about it, I feel very honoured that I have - in a single post - included Benjamin Franklin, David Packard, Bill Hewlett and Pamela Jones together.  These are some of the people I admire.