FOSS support for organisations (was) Re: [Fsf-friends] Re: [??.??.??.?] Red Hat signs MoU with Kerala govt

Amol Hatwar amol@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Mon Jun 11 18:10:37 IST 2007

**Comments Inline**

On 6/11/07, Sandip Bhattacharya <sandip at> wrote:
> Amol Hatwar wrote:
> > OK enough nit-picking and leg-pulling... We need to close this thread
> now.
> >
> Why? Do you think this discussion is all about "nit-picking and
> leg-pulling"?

I didn't think... I felt it. Someone posts a news entry and gets shocked.
Someone else wants to know why the person is shocked... and the thread goes
searching its own soul.

Anyway, you've changed the subject, and brought a "real issue" under the

I was asking a question here which you could have found out if you had read
> my last complete
> mail - " How can we ensure non-commercial, timely and reliable support to
> organizations
> moving to FOSS solutions?".

Supporting FOSS is a difficult affair. If I am a company that makes a
widget, it is easy for me to support it, because I made it. On the other
hand, FOSS has often to be supported by people who might not have been
instrumental in making it. On the field, they rely on their experience in
tinkering and playing with it. A person who can support FOSS software, thus
needs to be "more skilled" unlike software support people on other
proprietary solutions. The later also enjoys luxuries of training and
running back to the company if a given recipe doesn't work out.

Secondly, support is a qualitative thing. Some organizations might just need
general guidance, some other organization might need to know why a mail
server crashed and also want it fixed within 30 minutes at three in the

Now speaking of non-commercial support, I don't know if it can be done.
Pardon my skepticism here, but I don't know of a way where support can be
"copied" just like the software in question itself. For every incident or
request, somebody's time and effort will be required. How would you
compensate this person?

While I must agree that non-commercial support would a great thing to have,
but I also know that I have neither the brains nor the motivations to throw
myself at this problem. Commerce, specialization and division of labour are
a fact of life. I trust someone with my coffee, while someone else trusts me
for my programming. We keep score on the "worth" of the time spent in
rendering service using money.

Is that too much of an irrelevant question to discuss here? If so, why? I am
> only trying to
> find out how much this subject figures in FSF's goals.

What FSF and FSFI should be doing or shouldn't be doing has been discussed a
plethora of times before. For the goals that it has, and what it has done,
it is already a well-oiled efficient machine. If you are still interested in
providing non-commercial support, it will best to have a separate outfit
with its own goal and vision.

But then the real question would be: How would you be different from the
Redhats and Canonicals?



More information about the Fsf-friends mailing list