[clug] Input Sought on Encouraging Established IT Support Providers to Support FOSS Initiatives

David Symons david.symons at liberatedcomputing.net
Fri May 5 22:21:20 GMT 2006

Hi all,

(Apologies to those of you will get this 2 or 3 times due to the
cross-post. I do want to cast the net widely.)

I contract through an established IT Support provider in Canberra.  A
company with a long history (over 20 years) and very good
profile/reputation in the local marketplace.  As present they do not
include something such as "Support for Initiatives based on Free and
Open Source Software" in their offering.

I've submitted a proposal to the managers/owners as to how they might
develop such a capability.  Essentially it's based around identifying
those amongst its existing employee/contractor base that have an
skills/interest in FOSS, verifying that skillbase through interview and
certification (yes perhaps not optimal) and developing an offering based
around the skills identified.

The company's managing partner has expressed interest and I have a
meeting with him this Wednesday (10/5).

I'm interested in any advice/thoughts/ideas you might have on what you
would discuss as well what sorts of questions are likely to be asked.
The main one will, of course, be "What's in it for us?".  I have my own
thoughts on these things but any that you have will be greatly

Some might wonder, why bother?  If they've not shown interest
previously, just start a business or your own.  Well it might end up
happening that way anyway but I feel there are a couple of very good

1. They have reputation, experience, contacts, presence on panels, and
other structures already in place.  These are significant assets that
take time to develop.

2. Having companies with established reputations raise a FOSS banner
will be a significant signal to the marketplace in itself (eg. the
effect of Linux being supported by IBM on Linux's reputation).

Also, they're a good company to work for/through, I feel they deserve to
be given the chance to ride the next big wave :) .

Looking forward to your responses.

Cheers, Dave.

PS. Don't worry, I'm dusting off the suit for the occasion :P .
David Symons
Canberra, Australia

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