Re: Linux (free s/w) support

Alex Belits (
Mon, 29 Sep 1997 19:11:56 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 30 Sep 1997, Darren Reed wrote:

> Free software is only supported if someone actually wants to support it.
> Linux is just lucky there are enough people interested in it to fix most
> of the problems.
> If I were a Sun customer, with a support agreement/contract, I could say
> to them "there's this rsh-ioctl problem and I need a fix" and if they don't
> then they've got have a good reason why not. They may even supply me with
> a "test-patch" (which don't get released to the general public). Basically
> they answer to customer demand and posting things to bugtraq is not the same
> as a customer with a problem logging a support call.

They pretty much ignore both.

> If I have a prlbem with Linux, I have no _guarantee_ that anyone will look at
> it, never mind actually solve it.

With commercial software, as well as with any other one you can have one
and only one guarantee -- it will take space on the filesystem. No
software company can be held responsible for software failures, and if
they were, there will be no more profitable business than making huge
number of bogus lawsuits where for all kinds of loss directly or
indirectly associated with software, software vendor will be sued. So Sun
Microsystems, Cygnus, Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman formally give
exactly the same guarantee, to be exact, nothing.

> If it's a priority 1 problem for me and
> I receive no support from the Linux camp, how good does it sound to explain
> to management "I posted the problem a week ago, but no response." ? It's
> the guarantee of some sort of support service which management need. ie.
> they can yell at someone else and get a head kicked if nothing happens.
> Who's going to do that for Linux ?

No one guarantees quality of support for anything. You can wait for weeks
without any answer from software vendor or receive answer "It's a known
bug, we are not working on it" -- the difference is that with free
software you can change supporting party without violating licenses or
changing the product or vendor. I don't know, how to explain it to
management, they for some reason say "there will be no one to sue if free
software fail", so I assume they are until some delusion that they can sue
commercial software vendor for anything.