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From Tony Collen <colle...@umn.edu>
Subject Re: Open support vrs. Company support (long!)
Date Fri, 19 Sep 2003 04:54:00 GMT
Antonio Gallardo wrote:

> Hi:
> 
> I want to point out what really means Free Maillist Support.
> 
> At first sight when we said Cocoon has support trought free maillist, it
> seems like it is less than Company Support. Many of us saw this as a lack
> instead of a feature, just before we make the first taste of the Cocoon's
> free support feature.
> 
>>>From my point of view Open support means:

<snip/>

I didn't have any specific replies because it's all good, so I'll add 
some more thoughts, slightly on the "Devil's Advocate" side of things.

When is commercial (or 'professional') support desired, compared to the 
"free" kind?

I'm sure the members of Orixo can answer this one :)  It's a tough one 
though.  The notion of professional support is relative, since many of 
us are not here as a result of our jobs (me, for instance).  Sure, we're 
all professionals in one way or another, but I'll limit my definition to 
refer to people who are directly supporting Cocoon for money.

There are some benefits, as far as I can see, to wanting commercial 
support over the free kind.  I don't speak of these from experience, so 
I could be way off base here.

Professional support as an interface or hub into The Community

Ideally, the company providing commercial support is active in the 
Cocoon Community, because otherwise they clearly wouldn't have their 
pulse on the project.   If a company decides they want to use Cocoon, it 
may be beneficial for them to hire a company to do the work for them 
(outsourcing), or at least be able to steer them in the right direction 
(consulting).  The professional supporter can guide the client, getting 
them up to base and keeping them on the cutting edge of changes.  The 
company could also hire Cocoon consultants to train employees about the 
basics, and teach them the ropes.

There *are* quiet times on the list, mainly when Europe is asleep :) 
When people in Europe are going to bed, or leaving work and turning off 
their computers, lots of us here in the US are just finishing lunch. 
That's still half a day!  Having an experienced Cocoon contact a phone 
call away (and in your timezone) could be very beneficial, especially 
when something Goes Bad(tm).

Additionally, the Professional Supporter has also been active on the 
mailing lists, and possibly has contacts in other places, such as other 
projects (Tomcat, or Avalon, for instance), or in other local networks 
such as user groups.  This reinforces the idea of the Commercial Cocoon 
Supporter as a hub of knowledge.

Antonio had some good examples, let me see if I can come up with some 
counterexampes.  Keep in mind I'm trying to play Devil's Advocate and 
I'm not really complaining :)

> 1- Faster response time.

Many companies can't afford to wait overnight for a problem to be 
solved.  Indeed, the mail list is fast, but only when everybody is awake.

> 2- Answers include diferents approach to solve the same problem:

I agree, I don't really have a counterexample, except for having a 
professional supporter post onto the list (after exhausting their other 
resources [themselves]), "My client, ABC Inc. is needs to get A and B 
done, but we can't do it this way because &excuse;  I'm stuck, does 
anybody else have ideas?"  Again, this isn't really a counterexample, 
but it shows that the professional supporter could be a good contact 
into getting a problem solved.

> 3- Good knowledge database:

Yes, but there's lots of effort involved in digging through a few years 
of mail archives, or learning the intricacies of Avalon, digging through 
the existing docs, etc.

The idea of providing commercial support for Cocoon interests me 
greatly, because it's something I'd like to eventually do.  I'm not sure 
if companies here in the US are even willing to hire "expensive" 
consultants anymore, as opposed to just hiring somebody in-house.  It 
would be a fun experiment though.

Currently on monster.com there are exactly 8 jobs listed (in the US) in 
which "Cocoon" is a keywords.  They are mainly located on the east and 
west coasts.  The fact that there are so few job listings is a mixed 
blessing, one, because it makes it hard to get a job doing Cocoon work. 
  The good part is that this leads me to believe there is a shortage of 
people knowledgeable enough to work with Cocoon full-time, which tends 
to be good for those of us who can fill an admittedly small niche.

That's about all my comments for now :)


Regards,

Tony


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