Re: Linux (free s/w) support

Dan Hollis (
Mon, 29 Sep 1997 19:04:43 -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.

And the problems get fixed much more often and much quicker than with
"commercially supported" solaris and M$ products.

Remember the ICMP ping bomb bug? Linux was one of the first to get a
patch. Some vendors took over a year to fix this, and other vendors still
havent patched it.

> 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.

Sun seem pretty unresponsive to customer demand until the shit hits the
fan and solaris security holes hit the front page headlines. Only then do
they seem to move.

Of course, this is the same with M$.

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

I get more response from Linux mailing lists than from M$ MSDN level 2
support. I ran into a problem a while back with visual basic and VBXs, it
was 100% repeatable and appeared a genuine bug. M$ could duplicate the
problem 100%. After a week talking to clueless techs I learned that M$ had
closed the support ticket as it was "not worth their time to fix". This
basically brought an entire project to a standstill.

"Commercial support" is still no guarantee you will get problems resolved.
It only means you have a scapegoat. Of course, if a project is depending
on a commercial vendor to get their head out of their arse and fix it,
you can still lose your job - scapegoat or not.