Rob Seaman wrote on 2005-12-07 13:59 UTC:
> >
> Even more remarkably, they proudly proclaim:
>         "The quality systems of this facility have been registered by UL to
> the ISO 9000 Series Standards."
> So we have a company that manufactures "a complete line of safety and
> survival products" (!) that are precisely intended to convey UTC as a
> primary function of the devices.  This company claims to have
> followed an international standard focused on achieving quality
> control through best practices in management.

As a general-purpose management standard, ISO 9001 obviously says
nothing about how you have to handle leap seconds. ISO 9001 does not
even specify any particular level of quality. All it does is tell you
how you must document what level of quality you are producing and what
you do to make sure it remains the same for all instances of the same

Customers could in theory asked the company to review their quality
control documentation, and if they had found that no adequate
leap-second test is part of their quality control process, then they
would have known what (not) to expect.

The big problem with the ISO 9000 standards is that they do not require
manufacturers to make all their quality-control procedures easily
downloadable from their web site. As a result, hardly any customer ever
gets a chance to look at all this otherwise perfectly sensible

The whole problem with ISO 9001 and friends is that they originated in
the military market. There, customers are far too nervous about their
enemies reading the quality control manuals of their kit. The resulting
secrecy surrounding the ISO 9001 documentation has de-facto rendered the
entire idea utterly useless. It could be easily fixed by adding a
publication requirement to the ISO 9000 certification process, but I
doubt that anyone other than civilian customers would want that. And
these standards are not written by civilian customers.


Markus Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge || CB3 0FD, Great Britain

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