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Thursday, January 26th, 2023, 2:43 am

Sirius ‘Open Source’ Casualty of Mismanagement

Probably the final week of this series

Sirius Open Source watersideSummary: Sirius ‘Open Source’ has failed to sell what it was actually good at; instead it hired unqualified people and outsourced almost everything

THIS is the part of this series where we focus on examples of Sirius failing on technical merits and compliance/conformance. Eventually we decided to show redacted E-mails on ISO along with my copied messages to management regarding bollocking and how it all started, me asking for an apology etc. Being accredited or recognised isn’t the same as being capable and potent. As I mentioned in the very first post in this series, when I joined the company it was different beyond recognition. The company had its own hosting (in its own premises). In 2022 we were suffering habitual outages as we don’t control our systems anymore (Slack, AWS downtimes were common; in prior years clients that relied on Clownflare also suffered outages due to Clownflare rather than their own hosting). To make matters worse, there were security breaches and the company ignored them. I kept bringing that to management’s attention, only to be ignored or rebuffed. Remember this hoax of Citation/Atlas was covered in Techrights years ago. Sirius does not teach its staff real security and does not hire people who understand or value security.

The company had a bizarre trajectory of moving from self-hosted (e.g. Asterisk), then outsourced (but still Free software, ‘managed’ Asterisk), then outsourced proprietary spyware like Google Voice. If “Open Source has won” and if Free software is becoming more widely used, then why is Sirius going in the exact opposite direction of what it was advocating? This is a management decision. It’s not the fault of technical staff — the staff which all along opposed this.

Notice the practice of password outsourcing. Here’s a direct quote sent in a request to me personally: “Put the WordPress credentials (admin user, etc) in a lastpass note and share it with xxxxx (securely, within lastpass) and we’ll be setting up a very temporary and basic portal to share info across the team, to help keep everyone better updated given how Absolutely Mentally Busy it is right now. It’s entirely for internal use when on the VPN.”

It’s another example of mishandling access credentials inside third parties (Slack, LastPass etc.), oftentimes not just rejecting “Open Source” but actively ripping apart Open Source things that work, replacing them with technically inferior and likely illegal (in some cases, due to data protection) proprietary stuff.

The management did even worse than this; it failed to do very basic things, such as sending payslips and sometimes paying the pension provider. Instead they made colourful excuses, so I decided to take photographs of letters from the pension provider, recalling those blunders and deciding that it’s worth discussing belatedly (and maybe add E-mails also; there were loads of E-mails about payslips, not just pensions, spanning different years from 2018 until the present day; there were phonecalls too, but those aren’t recorded).

The management was also bad at communication and correspondence. See the example below (2019):

Subject: Re: I need these tickets dealt with by support
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2019 11:15:56 +0100
From: Rianne Schestowitz xxxxxxx
To: xxxxxxx
CC: xxxxxxx

Hi xxxxxxx,

I responded to this email last weekend. Please check your inbox. If you
haven’t received it, I can send it again.

Many thanks,

Rianne


Rianne Schestowitz, NOC Extension 2834423
Sirius – stress free technology

http://www.siriusopensource.com

t: xxxxxxx

> Hi,
>
> I need these tickets dealt with by support.
>
> 1. Ticket#108642: Roy or xxxxxxx need to answer about security.
> 2. Ticket#108813: Replied with more questions. Can’t reproduce the
> error so far. Back with Support, awaiting feedback.
> 3. (Multiple) Tickets relating to masking – Code fix done, Release done
> and in live. Check with each client once data reimported. Support
> team can do this. xxxxxxx have already confirmed it works.
>
> 1. Ticket#108833: Already fixed, just needs a fresh xxxxxxx import.
> 2. Ticket#108769: The masking fix is done, we just need to schedule a
> reload.
>
>
>
> xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
> Sirius – stress free technology
> http://www.siriusopensource.com
> Tel: xxxxxxx

This was the year bullying against staff started, not too long after Gates Foundation money had landed under an NDA and something called Sirius Open Source Inc. was quietly formed in the state of Washington (where Microsoft and Gates are).

We spent nearly a month explaining what I had already written internally before resigning; we remembered to publish the entire PDF at the end (crossposted in my personal site too) as it is important to emphasise that I raised most of these concerns for years inside the company. Inaction and retaliation led to what became of it, spilling the beans out in public. I never did anything even remotely like this with any of my past employers.

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