A think tank's view of free software
Posted May 9, 2007 17:58 UTC (Wed) by jmorris42
In reply to: A think tank's view of free software
Parent article: A think tank's view of free software
> Yes, there is a lack of commercial support for most free programs.
> Perhaps you or I don't need it, but a lot of companies want it.
No there isn't. It isn't structured in the rigid fashion you might want it, but it DOES exist, plentiful and sufficient to any purpose.
At the bottom of the stack, if you are a small operation you can buy a commercial support contract, see www.redhat.com or www.novell.com for details. Clue, neither company is selling a 'product', they sell support and at least RedHat is selling enough to jump to the 'big board.' Novell is working hard on catching up. So if 'support' is what ya just have to have give either one of em a call and a sales weasel will be right with ya to power close a deal just like you are accustomed with whoever you are wistfully comparing open source with.
If you have a need for support on a particular package beyond what those options offer find yourself a local nerd/geek/developer and put him on a consulting contract. Or look into one of the many open source / free software consulting operations which exist. Remember, this is open code so you do not have to buy support from the same people developing the package, just from someone with experience with it.
And finally, if a package is vital to the operation of your mega corporation you simply hire a lead developer. For the price of one headcount you get the ultra elite platinum with glowing enriched uranium bars level support contract for unlimited seats.
> Yes, there are sometimes weak points with interoperability - while you
> can buy plenty of things that integrate directly into Microsoft Excel,
> but not so many statistical packages in the free world have an
> OpenOffice.org plugin.
No, what you want isn't interoperability since Excel doesn't have an open published plugin interface. What you want is Excel. If you define the problem as "A product 100% binary, bug for bug, compatible with Excel that releases new versions at the same time as Excel" you kinda stop even the hope of migrating someday in the future, because that ain't possible.
> Yes, there are industry standards which are better supported by
> proprietary software.
Only if 'standards' is defined as Microsoft. And if your 'reasoning' were valid everyone would still be running Lotus 1-2-3. When change comes again it will probably be just as rapid. The question is exactly WHAT would cause a switch.
>They are users, just the same as you and me.
No, look over that list again, they aren't users. The word you are looking for is competitor. A better description might be Microsoft's slaves. What the produced was a marketing document, any valid criticism was accidental and purely an unintended consequence. That's why the snarky reception.
The reference to ODF as a 'defacto standard' was the givaway. That wasn't just wrong, I'll go ahead and say what corbet wasn't willing to risk a lawsuit over, that it was an intentional, knowing lie. The whole basis for all this effort to get governments to adopt it is based on the fact it is a published standard, if everybody at that gathering managed to miss that they are so mentally challenged one wonders how they manage fill in their golf cards correctly.
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