Furniture maker sues software firm over Y2k ("catastrophic irreparable injury") : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Furniture maker sues software firm over Y2K

Green Bay's KI seeks code to be sure of compliance

By Gretchen Schuldt and Rick Romell of the Journal Sentinel staff

Last Updated: Nov. 22, 1999

A major Green Bay manufacturer can't ensure that a key computer system it uses is ready for 2000 unless an Illinois company turns over critical software code it so far has refused to share, the manufacturer alleges in a federal lawsuit.

Krueger International Inc., which makes and distributes office furniture and employs 4,500 people, faces the possibility of "catastrophic irreparable injury" by "shutting down KI's entire business operation" if a key software system is not Y2K-compliant, the suit says.

The suit, filed against System Software Associates Inc. of Chicago, asks that SSA be ordered to provide the code.

The software runs all of KI's business functions, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, manufacturing, planning, scheduling, shipping, invoicing and order taking, the suit says.

KI - the name under which Krueger International does business - has 11 plants in five states and three countries, the suit says.

KI's chief financial officer, Mark Olsen, said the firm doesn't comment on pending lawsuits. Michael J. Garvey, a lawyer for SSA, also declined to comment except to say that SSA is in "active discussions" with KI attorneys and hopes to resolve the dispute.

SSA provided KI with the business software under a 1994 agreement, the suit says. In 1997, the contract was amended to allow Krueger to modify the software in certain ways and to require SSA, if requested, to supply Krueger with source code needed to make the system Y2K-compliant, the suit says.

KI has paid SSA more than $3 million in software and support fees, says the suit, which was filed in Brown County Circuit Court before being moved to federal court last week.

The Green Bay firm alleges that it has "repeatedly requested" that SSA provide the code that would allow KI to make its system Y2K-compliant. SSA has said that KI doesn't need the code because the software already is Y2K-compliant and that it would provide code that would let KI test for Y2K compliance, the suit says.

But, KI's suit says, "obtaining the source code is the only way KI can guarantee it has century-dated all of the software necessary for its continued existence."

Source code is the fundamental blueprint for software, and companies often are highly protective of it.

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 23, 1999.

-- Homer Beanfang (, November 23, 1999


yes they get that
but it's a little late to be suing for source code

not going to be biz as usual kiddos

-- techies, where's the Source? (demand@source.code), November 23, 1999.

As a software developer, I understand and agree that a business has a vested interest in protecting its source code (But I also think some software, for example, Linux, benefits from having an open-source standard.)

I don't view access to source code as an absolute must for testing Y2K compliance/readiness/OK-ness/whatever.

Clearly, a well designed and implemented testing procedure can reveal many deficiencies that might exist.

To my knowledge, Microsoft does not released the source code for Windows to just anyone who asks...

If a company wants access to source code, this must be agreed upon prior to implementation of the project.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, November 23, 1999.

This is strange. I suspect this is the result of a clueless CIO's atttempt to "spin" the CEO after not doing a good job on Y2K, when there was time to do it.

"Don't blame me boss, it is that evil software provider who makes it impossible to know what Y2K is going to do to us."

Maybe, Y2K will finally make the world ensure that the managers of IT are qualified to manage complex technology, instead of politicians and empire builders.

-- ng (, November 23, 1999.

It seems that Krueger International Inc. is attempting to
steal the intellectual property of System Software Associates
Inc. by using Y2K as a justification. I wonder if SSA has
been deemed Y2K compliant by outside sources.

-- spider (, November 23, 1999.


"It seems that Krueger International Inc. is attempting to steal the intellectual property of System Software Associates"

It isn't as intelligent as that. They've have the software up and running. Paid for it. Obviously not competent to resell it. They've screwed up somehow and are trying to shift the blame.

-- ng (, November 23, 1999.

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