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From Donald Whytock <>
Subject Re: What does "supported" mean for us?
Date Mon, 07 Jan 2013 20:25:37 GMT
Coming into this way late, but...

Perhaps you shouldn't even use the word "supported".  How about
"validated"?  As in, "We can say that we tested this software under
this environment, and it worked for us.  We will be receptive of
reports to the contrary."  "We have developed for and validated on the
following platforms..."


On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Rob Weir <> 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.
> For comparison, I came across this page for GNU Octave, where it
> defines "Support Expectations":
> Maybe that is a good way to think of it, defining expectations?
> -Rob
>> 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

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