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From puffm...@darksleep.com (Steven J. Owens)
Subject Re: User Base
Date Wed, 30 Oct 2002 08:03:43 GMT
On Mon, Oct 28, 2002 at 09:29:39AM -0600, Jonathan Pace wrote:
> I didn't have to work hard to sell my manager on Lucene.  When our
> commercial search engine had trouble, the maker always wanted to send 3
> people down for a week at $200/hour per person.  The company always
> discontinued support for older versions to get us to "get current" on their
> latest search engines--costing more money up front and with continuuing
> support agreements that never seemed to cover what goes wrong.
> 
> The truth is, you are never "assured" that support is going to be there if
> you buy software--especially in this economy.  I see more security for the
> future in open source because it is not dependant on any one company staying
> in business.

     Frankly, I'm pretty much convinced that technical support for
commercial software products is a myth.  I sat down to make a list,
once, of the companies that provided really good support.  Then I
realized that they all made hardware (adtrans, cisco, sun).  

     I haven't dealt with major commercial software companies very
often, maybe a dozen times or more, though I have done some corporate
consulting where they paid for the red carpet treatment.  The support
never really seemed to be there - it always boiled down to "Oh yeah,
that's a known bug" or "Search the knowledge base at our website" or
"we'd have to send some $200/hour consultants down to figure that out
for you." (pal, I got news for you, if you're willing to spend
$200/hour for support of open source software I am *sure* the core
open source developers for the necessary software will be willing to
cut you a deal :-).

> As for Lucene, I send questions to the developers group and it is
> answered completely within a few hours by active developers of
> Lucene.  I have had great technical support on this project and I am
> looking for opportunities to give something back.

     I agree.  In general the open source community is always very
supportive and helpful, but generally you have ot be willing to do
your homework before asking the question, learn to ask intelligent
questions, and follow up on the advice and information you recieve.
This isn't to say you have to be a genius to get any respect; but you
do have to be willing to hold up your end (see
http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html).

Steven J. Owens
puff@darksleep.com

"I'm going to make broad, sweeping generalizations and strong,
 declarative statements, because otherwise I'll be here all night and
 this document will be four times longer and much less fun to read.
 Take it all with a grain of salt." - Me at http://darksleep.com


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