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SubjectLinux (free s/w) support
Date
In some mail I received from Alan Cox, sie wrote
>
> > This is a problem that people need to help their management understand;
> > free software is just as supported as any commercial software. If you
> > need contract support for a product, you can obtain it; Crynwr Software
> > for QMail, MIB Software for INN, Cygnus for almost anything GNUish, etc.
>
> Free software is _more_ supported. If you report a serious Solaris security
> bug (as I did) and Sun basically tell you "how nice - go away" you can go
> to another support contractor. The GPL guarantees they have equivalent access
> to sources and you can even give them the source you got from the last
> contractor. Sun took 18 months to fix that bug, and only when I started
> posting really fun exploits of it to bugtraq..

Free software is only supported if someone actually wants to support it.
Linux is just lucky there are enough people interested in it to fix most
of the problems.

If I were a Sun customer, with a support agreement/contract, I could say
to them "there's this rsh-ioctl problem and I need a fix" and if they don't
then they've got have a good reason why not. They may even supply me with
a "test-patch" (which don't get released to the general public). Basically
they answer to customer demand and posting things to bugtraq is not the same
as a customer with a problem logging a support call.

If I have a prlbem with Linux, I have no _guarantee_ that anyone will look at
it, never mind actually solve it. If it's a priority 1 problem for me and
I receive no support from the Linux camp, how good does it sound to explain
to management "I posted the problem a week ago, but no response." ? It's
the guarantee of some sort of support service which management need. ie.
they can yell at someone else and get a head kicked if nothing happens.
Who's going to do that for Linux ?


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