Is It Free Software if You Pay For It? - page 2
Reasons For Buying
Why not spend your budget on support you may never use? Here are a few reasons:
- incapable of support
- crappy product
- good product
Crappy software, we imagine, is a good reason not to buy ancillary products or support services. If the software is crappy enough to warrant a no-buy decision, you are likely in the position to switch to an alternative product; lucky you!
Surprisingly, good software is frequently a major reason not to buy. Why purchase support if it always works as advertised? The only reason, if you don't need the insurance of an SLA, would be to support the project. The vast majority of users of open source products fall into this category, which is fine, as long as some percentage of people support the project.
Finally, we have spite. Software developers are not known for their charming nature or tactful mailing list replies. If a project is run by a completely wild character, people often shy away from supporting the project. Chances are the project will eventually fail due to coordination and teamwork issues, but even if not, who wants to support such behavior? What if you submit a support ticket and it gets escalated to one of those well-known, hot-tempered developers? Nobody wants that.
You may notice that we failed to mention "horribly crippled software, unless you pay" products. These simply are not open source projects, and are not worth considering.
There are many reasons to support individual developers or their budding companies if they are kind, produce a useful product, and truly offer something of value.
The majority of open source software businesses that have existed at least a few years have found a niche to occupy and flourish in. Open source software companies often provide surprisingly stellar support services. Just do your homework, and beware: the big-company shockingly-bad-support service is not always limited to big companies.
When he's not writing for Enterprise Networking Planet or riding his motorcycle, Charlie Schluting works as the VP of Strategic Alliances at the US Division of LINBIT, the creators of DRBD. He also operates OmniTraining.net, and recently finished Network Ninja, a must-read for every network engineer.
Article courtesy of Enterprise Networking Planet
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