(Off Topic) Open Source Support Advantage?

Dan Kaminsky effugas at best.com
Sun Feb 14 01:10:23 GMT 1999

Heh guys.

    I've noted a number of patches coming through here, and I've been
watching myself trying to learn Samba well enough to write my own patches,
and I recently had a thought:

    Thinking back to the "bad old days" of source licenses for mainframe
OS's, there are alot of people who remember support being a nightmare for
installations that had custom modifications of the source tree.  I've been
thinking that Open Source, which for a long time has had a reputation for
being difficult to find support for, may actually combine the usefulness of
site-required patches with the necessity of wide support for those patches.
Whereas there is no way for the support organization to be familiar with the
closed-source patches of old, open source patches can and often may work
there way into the official tree.  Once they're in the official tree, it is
much easier for support organizations to deal with critical faults rather
than just say "uninstall your custom build".

    In other words, open source means you can modify an app to suit your
tastes and still have other people around to save you if it fails.  This
contrasts to true closed source, where the only way to get a modification is
to beg the supplier, or source licenses, where you are on your own if your
patch fails.

    Comments?  We should probably keep this in private email, since it's
rather off topic, but if there's interest I'll shove a writeup over at
http://doxpara.netpedia.net .

Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research

If a vacuum cleaner doesn't suck, does it suck?

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