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From Kay Schenk <kay.sch...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: What does "supported" mean for us?
Date Sun, 06 Jan 2013 18:11:57 GMT
On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 8:59 AM, Rob Weir <robweir@apache.org> wrote:

> When a commercial software vendor says a configuration is "supported"
> it means something, typically that to the extent the software license
> includes an entitlement to support, that the vendor will provide that
> service for that configuration.  So saying something is "supported" is
> essentially an obligation.
>
> With a volunteer-run, open source project, "supported" cannot mean
> quite the same thing.   We're not obligated, in any contractual sense,
> to provide anyone with anything.  That's the nature of a volunteer
> effort.
>
> However, users and organizations considering OpenOffice will naturally
> think in terms of "support", even if they user that term loosely.  We
> use that term as well, in our release notes, etc.  But I think we
> ought to have a more precise definition of what we mean when we say
> something is "supported", in order to avoid any confusion.   This
> question has come up recently, with regards to the status of Windows
> 8, where that OS had not been released at the time AOO 3.4.1 was
> released.
>
> So here's a strawman proposal for what "supported" means for us.
>
> 1) "Supported" is a statement we make about a specific version of AOO
> used with a specific platform, e.g., AOO 3.4.1 with Windows XP SP3 or
> AOO 3.4 with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
>
> 2) "Supported" means we encourage use of AOO in that configuration.
> We have high confidence that the combination is stable, that it works
> well and is safe.
>
> 3) Our confidence in stating something is supported should have a
> solid basis in testing.  Something is not "supported" by us guessing
> it should work.  It is supported only after we have successfully
> completed testing of that release with that platform.  We probably
> should define exactly what level of testing is required.
>
> 4) "Supported" also implies that the supported configuration is
> sufficiently available and there is sufficient expertise that we have
> confidence that users will have a high quality experience seeking
> support on the forums and user list.
>
> 5) "Supported" also implies that we stand behind that release and will
> take necessary steps to correct *critical* bugs, especially security
> flaws, via rapidly produced point releases where necessary.
>
> Note that these are all expectations that a user might have, though
> any given user might think that "supported" means only a subset of
> these.
>
> What we probably really need is more of a lifecycle statement,
> including when support for a configuration ends.
>
> -Rob
>

I agree these 5 points are very good and needed. If we don't have an
explicit entry for something like this, we definitely need to create
something (off the Download page? elsewhere?)

Since this is "free" software, I see 4. and 5. as critical to end users. #3
should go without saying -- this seems standard practice to release
anything. There are certain areas of AOO that need more of this -- the DB
connectivity aspects for example. Some of this is difficult for many
volunteer testers without access to some environments.

OK, many more interesting points made already. I am also assuming that
commercial users have a slightly different set of priorities in this
regard. But something like this list is needed.

-- 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MzK

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
                                                                         --
Aesop

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