incubator-general mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
Subject Re: End Users ?
Date Sun, 05 Jun 2011 19:04:45 GMT
Italo Vignoli <> wrote on 06/05/2011 07:30:43 AM:

> So, after having read hundreds of emails discussing the merits of 
> different licenses and processes, concentrating on the geography where 
> the code should live (basically, US vs EU, or Delaware vs Germany), I am 

> asking a very simple question: what about end users?
> OOo has over 100 million of end users, who use the SW for their basic 
> needs (write a letter, produce an expense note, build slides, manage 
> their address book, and so on).
> What is going to happen to these guys, apart from the fact that if they 
> prefer to use OOo over LibreOffice - which is perfectly acceptable - it 
> is still not clear (but here I might just have missed some bit of info) 
> if and when they will be able to install a new version of the SW?
> I understand - but I might be wrong - that ASF is not used to deal with 
> such a huge end user base (actually, the third in terms of absolute size 

> after MS Windows and MS Office).

I'd like us to think beyond the user base of OOo/LO today.  I'd like us to 
think of the entire market for personal productivity editors, including 
users of MS Office, Corel WordPerfect, etc.

Today, the vast majority of this market uses commercial office suite, 
e.g., MS Office.  They pay for software licenses and get a supported 
product.  A smaller number uses a pure open source office suite, e.g., 
OOo/LO.  And some in a middle tier use a proprietary office suite built 
upon open source, e.g., StarOffice, Symphony.

So three tiers:

1) Purely proprietary
2) Mixed
3) Purely open source

The role of an Apache project is in that 3rd tier.  There will be users 
who consume Apache product deliverables directly, and we'll have user 
forums, and documentation and FAQ's and various other resources to help 
them, just as has always done.

There may also be third parties to take the tier 3 packages and bundle 
them with support packages, migration/deployment consulting services, 
training, etc.

The mixed tier will consist of those products that take Apache OpenOffice 
and combine with it proprietary code and license it commercially.  This 
might be for free (as in beer), like Symphony, or it might be sold.

The entirely proprietary tier is not really any concern to this project.

So my guess is what we're going to see over the next 5 years is that the 
middle tier will grow at the expense of the purely proprietary tier. 
Although there are certainly many individuals who are happy to get 48 hour 
turnaround on questions posted to a user forum, there is also a class of 
user, generally the enterprise user, that needs a phone number to call for 
immediate support, who needs to have a critical patch delivered to them on 
short notice, who needs additional customization services.

All of this should be familiar to Apache members.  This kind of ecosystem 
to support users is common with many Apache projects.  This market-driven 
approach works quite well in practice.  The users who need premium support 
have ways of getting it, and those who invest their time in the project 
and gain great expertise have a way of earning some money from that 
expertise, by developing products and services in the middle tier.

So I agree that supporting end users is critical, but I think the way that 
this is done in practice, does not necessarily require great centralized 
planning.  We're not a proprietary product that requires that we do 100% 
of the support.  We can allow and encourage the ecosystem to fill in some 
of these pieces.

So net, I think the level of end user resources we have currently on web site will be our start.  And we'll expect that mixed 
tier offerings will offer premium support/services.



To unsubscribe, e-mail:
For additional commands, e-mail:

View raw message