Open source support vs. proprietary support for the common man

I have had the pleasure of running through all of the install routines for my Unix software that I run on my PowerBook installation of Mac OS X. Although it has been fairly smooth, I have run into some issues with database servers, application servers, etc.

My recent experience with resolving those issues brought to mind one of the common pieces of rhetoric used by those who are either wary of or outright against open source software: "what are you going to do for support?" I have noticed that the questions I have posted to the relevant mailing lists regarding my software issues have been answered within an hour or two, if I didn't first find the answer by examing the documentation for the product or searching the online mailing list archives for a particular issue.

Here's my criticism of the support objection to open source: "How is problem-solving with your proprietary software that different from the approaches used in open source software?" Unless your company is large and loose enough with the purse strings (a concept whose mention generates raucous laughter these days by virtue of the fact that it is ludicrous), you don't have the "gold support package" or whatever stupid name they call the ability to phone first-level support at the vendor's office. So what do you do? Search online, Google for answers, join a mailing list...huh, same here.

Maddox has posted a review of The Matrix Revolutions, for those who are interested. Do not read it if you have not seen the movie. If the name Maddox doesn't ring a bell, it soon will.

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