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Open Source Businesses Software The Almighty Buck

Corporations and OSS Do Not Mix (coglib.com) 213

An anonymous reader writes: Ian Cordasco, a prolific open source developer, wrote a lengthy post about his experiences working on code that gets used by companies as part of their business. His basic thesis is that the open source development process is not particularly compatible with for-profit corporations, and having them involved frequently makes progress more difficult. "As soon as a bug affects them, they want it fixed immediately. If you don't fix it in 24 hours (because maybe you have a real life or a family or you're sick or any number of other very valid reasons) then the threats start." He adds, "When companies do 'contribute,' it's often not in the best interest of the community, it isn't enough, or it's thoroughly misguided." Cordasco is quick to note that there are exceptions, but he has an idea why the majority behave that way: "I don't have the complete answer, but one important point is that there is toxicity in the community, its leaders, and or its contributors, and the companies have learned their behavior from this toxicity." He provides a list of suggestions both for companies using open source software, and also some further reading on the subject from Ashe Dryden, David MacIver, and Cory Benfield.
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Corporations and OSS Do Not Mix

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  • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:07PM (#50885765)

    If somebody wants a fix for software that they haven't paid anything for, and they want it now, why not offer paid support on that one issue at a rate of $416 per hour? A 24 hour fix would place a cool $10,000 in your pocket. And if they don't want to, then tell them to hire somebody else to do it.

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      If somebody wants a fix for software that they haven't paid anything for, and they want it now, why not offer paid support on that one issue at a rate of $416 per hour? A 24 hour fix would place a cool $10,000 in your pocket. And if they don't want to, then tell them to hire somebody else to do it.

      Yeah, some people just have no sense at all when it comes to simple common-sense proposal of a win-win deal. As you said, that's exactly the way to approach a demand for an immediate bug fix, propose a working relationship and a price. If the company which has paid you nothing balks at paying, and threatens you in any way, simply offer them an immediate full refund in exchange for terminating the relationship ;-)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:35PM (#50885853)
        I love this business model!
        1. Create OSS software that does something expensive commercial software does, include many subtle bugs. Release it free to the world.
        2. Wait for phone to start ringing from desperate suckers I mean cheap corporations.
        3. Offer to fix the bugs quickly for a fee.
        4. Go to bar, watch the big game with buddies.
        5. The next day, release the patch that you created at the same time you wrote the original, flawed code.
        6. Send invoice.
        7. Profit!!!!
        • Playing in the OSS world means others can see your code.

          And that means others can see the hey-nonny-nonny you're conducting.

          Best-case scenario: you're exposed as a profiteering scumbag, and your reputation is toast.

          • I can make bugs that a team wouldnt catch from looking at code alone...c++ templating is incredibly powerful

            • I think the GP post was pointing out that if its FOSS, they can also compare the code before and after the fix, and see what the fox was. If you're frequently charging them for fixes that are suspiciously obscure-but-simple-to-fix, they're in a position to review the changes and call you out.
              • by maugle ( 1369813 )
                Sadly, nearly all bugs fall into the category of "obscure, but simple to fix". Also, in my own experience, the bugs which have taken the longest to track down the root cause have also been the bugs whose fixes only required a couple keystrokes.
                • by HiThere ( 15173 )

                  Is that still true?

                  I remember a *long* time ago (Fortran IV, compiler written by the university that leased the computer) I had this truly horrendous bug where the value of 1 was set to 10. I eventually (*eventually*) traced it down to a '1' instead of an 'I' in a do loop.

                  I only ever found the error because of other problems caused by the loop not executing as a loop, but only as an assignment. I never did figure out what parse made than an assignment to '1' instead of to 'DO101' (i.e. 'DO 10 1', spaces

        • Because commercial software is always flawless.
      • If somebody wants a fix for software that they haven't paid anything for, and they want it now, why not offer paid support on that one issue at a rate of $416 per hour? A 24 hour fix would place a cool $10,000 in your pocket. And if they don't want to, then tell them to hire somebody else to do it.

        Yeah, some people just have no sense at all when it comes to simple common-sense proposal of a win-win deal. As you said, that's exactly the way to approach a demand for an immediate bug fix, propose a working relationship and a price. If the company which has paid you nothing balks at paying, and threatens you in any way, simply offer them an immediate full refund in exchange for terminating the relationship ;-)

        Why should they? You promised and lied it would work. THey are already paying you $60,000 a year and you agreed to it in return for 100% uptime. There is no budget for $416 an hour. That budget for support goes to you!

        I think you geeks wouldn't last long at my company :-) If you can't resolve a critical issue you are fired. No questions asked. We have to bill our customers for any downtime by large large sums of money and you are 100% at fault if you did a change unapproved and if you have some clout to imp

    • by Clived ( 106409 )

      Doesn't IBM and all the other big names who provide OSS products do this ?

      • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:31PM (#50885845)

        I know RedHat does. If you don't have a contract with them, and you are a business, then they likely aren't going to bother with you. Now if you find a security vulnerability on the other hand, that's different, but if something doesn't work and you need it to work to fit a business need, they're going to want you to buy a contract.

        • Linus Torvalds started writing a kernel because he wanted a unix like OS for his own use.

          Stallman started writing the shell and the tools because he envisioned a operating system for the community by the community and of the community.

          IBM started using the linux kernel because they saw business sense in using a good quality kernel which was "usable" at a fraction of the cost of their usual software.

          It is futile to expect these two groups to work or even understand each others goals and aspirations. T
          • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

            You took about 30 seconds to explain the goals, why do you think other people would be unable to do the same?

        • by gnupun ( 752725 )

          I know RedHat does. If you don't have a contract with them, and you are a business, then they likely aren't going to bother with you.

          But what can RedHat provide that you don't already get from the kernel developers? Suppose there's a bug in the kernel, gcc or Apache, don't these product teams already release bug fixes? Why do we need RedHat to resolve the issue?

          • by hjf ( 703092 )

            Because it's really not the volunteers who develop linux. It's paid people. And, by far, the highest contributor is - guess - Red Hat.

            • by HiThere ( 15173 )

              RedHat does most to buy the Linux Ecosystem. It also supports some of the system developers, but I don't think it's the majority of the support.

              Now it you were talking about Gnome, then I'd agree without question. And as someone else mentioned, systemd. Strangely, I haven't been happy with the direction that Gnome has been headed in the last several years, and I see no benefit in systemd. (I don't really see any big reason to avoid it, but I see no benefit. I wouldn't have even considered it if it hadn

          • by johnnys ( 592333 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @08:46AM (#50887363)

            Because business NEEDS to have the illusion that they "have a neck to choke" when something goes wrong, so they need to have a "contract" with a "company". I've heard this from the C-suite for years. (That is what Red Hat is selling, and why they're successful!)

            It's nuts, really: Anyone who reads common software company contracts/EULAs knows that they have NO recourse if something goes wrong, but if they think they can somehow hang blame on a vendor if they have a problem, then that makes them feel safe.

            In truth, the OSS model means that if something goes wrong and the vendor tells you to f**k off or goes bankrupt, you can find someone else to help you. If a closed-source vendor can't/won't help or goes under, you're screwed much harder.

            • by jbolden ( 176878 )

              I sign corporate EULAs all the time and they most certainly do have recourse. For example there are indemnification clauses. Often there are guaranteed support SLAs. There are guarantees of being able to buy engineering support and architectural support. Don't confuse what you get for $500 with what you get for $500k-$20m.

              • No matter what you sign, it is your job that's on the line, not theirs. My experience is primarily with Nexenta (SAN solutions provider), Juniper (network equipment), Dell and tier 1/2 connectivity providers. With all of them we pay for the highest possible support level. When part of our business stops because of a fault/bug with their product/service, they behave as if the word NOW meant at your leisure. Every single one of them does this. I submit a report and they guarantee a response within X hours. So

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            Volunteers and projects you haven't paid will prioritize bugs as they see fit. Yours may be at the bottom of the list. If you want your bug to have priority somewhere, you have the option to pay someone to at least act like they care about it most.

    • by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:51PM (#50885901) Homepage

      Because the corporation is "contributing" to the project in some way, and they feel entitled to have such bugs fixed in a short period of time.

      No one cares if some random company using a piece of OSS demands a bug fix. That's not what this is about. This is about getting for-profit corporations getting involved somehow in a project, and then threatening to pull support if issues affecting them aren't resolved immediately.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@@@nerdflat...com> on Saturday November 07, 2015 @09:16PM (#50885975) Journal
        Presumably, they have chosen OSS over alternative projects in the first place for a reason, so them switching to another product just because a bug isn't fixed as soon as they might like would be their own loss on that level.
      • No one cares if some random company using a piece of OSS demands a bug fix. That's not what this is about. This is about getting for-profit corporations getting involved somehow in a project, and then threatening to pull support if issues affecting them aren't resolved immediately.

        So what? That's their right. If they want to go through that cycle and drop the library or whatever, fine. If the software had a reason to exist before them, it will continue to exist after them.

    • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

      This.

      It has nothing to do with OSS.... its that a "software license" is not a fucking support contract. There is no expected level of service other than "it might get fixed if you are lucky". You paid nothing, you get to expect....nothing. Be greatful you do get any support at all.... because even "hey, glad to hear its working for you" is more than you contributed if all you did was download it.

      OTOH, "Its OSS" is no excuse to not provide support if they did buy a support contract. Releasing software is als

    • If somebody wants a fix for software that they haven't paid anything for, and they want it now, why not offer paid support on that one issue at a rate of $416 per hour? A 24 hour fix would place a cool $10,000 in your pocket. And if they don't want to, then tell them to hire somebody else to do it.

      Alright you're fired!

  • "No one is asking companies to endure a significant financial burden in order to contribute back." c'mon, man. it ain't gonna happen on its own.
  • Threats? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iTrawl ( 4142459 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:15PM (#50885793)

    What threats? (I didn't RTFA yet). Start with the warranty disclaimer that you attached to your licence in capital letters. Then, if they "contribute", tell them nicely to fork off (the technical term, not the innuendo) and, if their fork is actually any good, they should ask you to merge their changes, which you will if they're not bullshit.

    If they keep kicking and screaming like baby lawyers, submit for their review a support contract. Make sure your rate is in the "highly paid consultant" range - you might even get away with it, as at that point you'd be speaking _their_ language.

    • Re:Threats? (Score:4, Informative)

      by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@@@gmail...com> on Saturday November 07, 2015 @10:55PM (#50886209) Journal

      The threat is to move to using another OSS project. Of course, that other project probably have maintainers working under the same constraints, so the problem won't go away magically. When someone threatens to do that, the proper response is "I'm good with that. Which one are you switching to?" They probably haven't done the research to evaluate other products, or, if they have, they haven't found something compelling enough to make the switch. Call their bluff. The only thing you have to lose is someone who thinks that making threats is the right way to ask someone a favor.

      They know it will cost them money to switch. That's part of the cost of being a dick.

  • by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:19PM (#50885807) Homepage Journal

    The core problem isn't that OSS is incomparable with "business", it is only incomparable with the business of "selling software".

    OTOH, I spent several hours going round-and-round with my brother inlaw. He runs/owns a company that installs business solutions (computers and software) into other businesses. He was all "I could never make money on open source platforms" using linux as the O.S. because it's free. But he readily admitted that installing Windows had a zero profit margin because of licensing.

    There is also the ready admission that having a Windows service contract (again sold a essentially zero markup because of the licenses) doesn't garantee that Microsoft will issue you a patch if you complain about a problem. You are basically just paying up front for the chance to be told to work around a problem or the "opportunity" for an unsupported patch that you'll have to buy again if you upgrade.

    Business men have no idea how to deal with OSS because they tend to mimic others and very few have ever done it. The idea of having a line item for zero-dollars that already had zero markup when the line item was non-zero dollars, is mystifying.

    So here's this smart guy running a services business, but unable to see how he could charge to service OSS. But companies service OSS all the time.

    The true failure, deeper in, is the idea that every incremental correction and modification is precious and must be hoarded and monetized.

    And further in still is the complete failure to understand things like the up-front cost of a GPL project base is "disclosure", and that disclosure of those incremental changes is very cheap. Compare embedding linux kernels in things to the up-front and per-unit costs of Wince or VxWorks. Then really _think_ about how non-money-value your fix to that one serial driver really is compared to the item you wan to sell.

    Companies tend to forget which businesses they are _not_ in. Selling software is not sustainable, but selling experience (games) and experience (professional expertese) are. So is selling "devices".

    So its a problem made up of compounded risk adversity multiplied by inherently unimaginative "business thinking".

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The core problem isn't that OSS is incomparable with "business", it is only incomparable with the business of "selling software".

      ...

      Umm, Red Hat has a market cap of $14.81 BILLION dollars. [google.com]

      But don't let reality get in the way of your rants.

      They're hilarious.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      And further in still is the complete failure to understand things like the up-front cost of a GPL project base is "disclosure", and that disclosure of those incremental changes is very cheap. Compare embedding linux kernels in things to the up-front and per-unit costs of Wince or VxWorks. Then really _think_ about how non-money-value your fix to that one serial driver really is compared to the item you wan to sell.

      But that's pretending software already does 99,9% of the things you want to do. The reality is that for me, personally it's either Windows @ $109 and MS Office @ $149 or Linux and LibreOffice + $258 in custom development and that's not even a week's worth of minimum wage, much less a software professional at contracting rates. The burden is put on the one who commissions the code, but the benefits go to everyone. Sure there's crowdsourcing but then you're not in control of what happens and the incentive is

    • Except for Android. Or Tesla. Or Google search. Or most of the internet. Or...

      • Android: Control of market share (the software is given away for free)

        Google: Control of advertising revenue (the software is given away for free)

        Tesla: Sells cars and batteries, (software updates are free).

        Most of the Internet: pay for services.

        Kinda making my point.

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      The core problem isn't that OSS is incomparable with "business", it is only incomparable with the business of "selling software".

      This guy is releasing free software but he acts like he's a hybrid free/paid type developer. Some of his statements:

      Not once has a company said to me:

      "This bug is costing us $X per day. Can we pay you $Y to focus on it and get a fix out as soon as possible?"

      I've also never demanded this. It would be nice, but it never happens.

      This type of thinking is t

      • by Gryle ( 933382 )
        He's making the point that he doesn't owe these companies his time merely by liscencing some software to them. These are not companies merely submitting bug reports. These are companies screaming at this guy to drop whatever he is doing and fix their issue right now, as if they are somehow entitled to his immediate and undivided attention at no cost.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I work in what amounts to version of your brother's business, and as far as I know, we do make money on Windows licensing, mostly because our partnership level with Microsoft pretty much guarantees we get a better wholesale price than most other resellers.

      The product category I hear the most gripes about is hardware. Some has terrific margins, some has lousy margins.

      I also hear mixed stories about service labor. Labor is usually the most expensive part of any business, so I'm told we make more money on ma

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:24PM (#50885821)
    Sounds like some bullshit. As someone who works in IT for a major corporation and has to deal with bugs that affect us in COTS software (such as MS Windows and MS Office), threatening people after 24 hours would be ridiculous. If the issue is currently unknown, expect a minimum of 2 weeks with a norm of more like 2 months for a fix - if the vendor will even agree to fix it. Why would a corporation threaten some OSS developer? It just doesn't scan and seems like BS.
    • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @11:08PM (#50886239)

      Why would a corporation threaten some OSS developer?

      Because they're scared, and don't have the right expertise in their company to deal with the situation, also they don't have any consultant who can help them, And the bug is an unmitigatable remotely-exploitable 0Day in the web application framework used on their main e-commerce website with public exploit code but no patch, so that's an act of desperation and demonstration of internal management incompetence (not having competent staff or agreements in place to deal with the impact of a bug).

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      Why would a corporation threaten some OSS developer? It just doesn't scan and seems like BS.

      It depends on what was meant by "corporation". It sounds like some hotshot millennial who started his own Next Big Thing and thinks he owns the world. The best response to that type is "Don't hit yourself with the door on the way out".

    • It is indeed bs. This developer has a super low threshold for what he considers to be a threat.

      If you don't fix it in 24 hours (because maybe you have a real life or a family or you're sick or any number of other very valid reasons) then the threats start.
      "Well if you're not going to take this seriously, we'll have to start using another project."

      So what? It's not like his project can satisfy everyone. Also, it's not like he's going to lose any revenue as a result of this action.

      If he wants to talk about real threats, then he should try publishing a mobile app on an app store. There, the users are absolutely ruthless. And it doesn't matter if the app is paid, or free, or open source, or proprietary, or painted pink, or whatever... If your app has a feature

  • "Well if you're not going to take this seriously, we'll have to start using another project."

    Presumably, they chose the OSS software over another project in the first place for a reason, so starting to use another project would be their own loss. In actuality, that's not really a threat, that's just petty spite. I would have a hard time taking any company seriously that acted so unprofessional.

  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:29PM (#50885839) Homepage

    "Well if you're not going to take this seriously, we'll have to start using another project."

    I've never exactly gotten this. Why does anyone who is giving something away particularly care if someone who is getting it for free uses it or not?

    This guy clearly doesn't understand that Open Source means "Free to Use" not "Free Beer", and that most corporations (the executives, not the software engineers or managers) are plenty happy to pay for support from the subject matter experts in it, so long as it saves them overall money. In fact, many corporation's resistance to OSS is due to the lack of such support - because their customers aren't so understanding..

    This is the very business model that Red Hat uses. All this guy needs to do is put up a "priority payment" system for bug fixes, and post it publicly. Done and done.

    • I've never exactly gotten this. Why does anyone who is giving something away particularly care if someone who is getting it for free uses it or not?

      Most people I've talked to who write open source code want their code to be used by people. That is fine.

      Other people, like Andrew Tridgell, just like making a great project. I really admire those people.

    • "If you are using it without paying for it, are you really taking it seriously either?"

      RMS is right about how open source can work in conjunction with companies - if they want "real" support, they can damn well pay for it.

      The cost of hiring good coders cannot be avoided. Either you are paying good programmers to work for you, are you are paying less and are at the mercy of coders who feel like donating enough good code to you, that your business will function.

    • Honestly, if somebody ever got annoyed at me for not fixing a bug on a schedule that conflicted with my priorities without even offering to compensate me, I'd tell them to shove it. That's not a threat, that's an opportunity to educate them on the value of my time and how little of a !#$% I give about their whining.

      Sure, there's some nights I'm just sitting around watching TV and being useless, but those nights are much rarer than they used to be. If they'd like to re-prioritize an evening or two of my ti

    • I've never exactly gotten this. Why does anyone who is giving something away particularly care if someone who is getting it for free uses it or not?

      People like their work to be useful. I know I like to see my projects used and appreciated. If you spend 2 weeks working on something and its ultimate life is just to sit on github without any attention then those 2 weeks seem like a bit of a waste. But if you see it actively used by lots of people then you get that warm fuzzy feeling that you made the world a little bit better for someone else. That being said, threats don't foster that warm fuzzy feeling and anyone who says that my free labor isn't

  • Not always true (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FrozenGeek ( 1219968 )
    I've had a couple of jobs where we happily used OSS. Now, we used it in the IT department, where we all understood what we were and were not getting. Using OSS outside IT might possibly put it where those who don't understand would see it. Depends on who's using it.

    Sorry if I'm a bit grumpy. Had a rough week dealing with end users and I'm feeling a bit BOfH.

  • Corporations are almost certainly the biggest consumers and supporters of open source. I would be very surprised if he ever got any money from hobbyists.
  • I suspect... (Score:4, Informative)

    by SwashbucklingCowboy ( 727629 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @08:34PM (#50885849)

    ... this is a case of the squeaky well gets noticed.

    I work in a large software company where we use thousands of open source projects in a couple of hundred projects and I'm intimately involved in the management of open source within the company. I've never had a team come to me and say "we need this bug fixed in the next day or two". And they damn sure don't go out threatening projects (that would be one of those "career limiting moves"). While I don't doubt that this guy has had people do that to him I gotta believe those are the people that he notices and remembers, not the silent majority.

    • > I've never had a team come to me and say "we need this bug fixed in the next day or two".

      Then you clearly don't work in IT. Problems with system capacity, critical hardware, authenticated access, and network connectivity all need to be fixed _now_. And not having the resources in place to deal with the shortages leads to people losing their jobs, and can cause the whole company to fail.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        Big difference between "We need to resolve this issue now" and "We need that third party developer with whom we have no commercial relationship to fix a bug now".

        I too don't recognise the latter scenario. When I've found bugs in open source products I've generally found their bug tracker and either submitted a new report or found that someone else has already found it.

        I then get on with working around the issue on the grounds it'll be weeks/months before it's fixed, if ever.

        • > Big difference between "We need to resolve this issue now" and "We need that third party developer with whom we have no commercial relationship to fix a bug now".

          The client may not know, and often does not care. It's unusual, but not that unusual, for the client to complain bitterly about any delay, even for an unpaid third party source code repository.

          > Big difference between "We need to resolve this issue now" and "We need that third party developer with whom we have no commercial relationship to

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            The client may not know, and often does not care

            The client isn't a client of the open source developer though. I have responsibilities to my client, and relying on some arbitrary developer that might already have retired their keyboard isn't professional or sensible.

            • > The client isn't a client of the open source developer though.

              Quite true. But note what I was responding to, from a previous poster:

              >> I've never had a team come to me and say "we need this bug fixed in the next day or two".

              It's a common request for me and my colleagues. It's especially intense when finely scheduled Gant charts of billable time, with specific hours with specific tasks, are written with "2 hours to fix ticket CORP-999" allocated early in the project, work is blocked by it, but th

      • lol Dude, I've been working doing products for nearly 30 years now.

        • "Doing products" does not typically mean "work in IT". If your current workplace is using the words that way, then please be more clear about language: they're not the standard definitions.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @09:08PM (#50885953) Homepage

    "As soon as a bug affects them, they want it fixed immediately."

    You respond with, "feel free to hire a team of programmers to fix that. you have the source code.:"

    Honestly, you have to act like Linus if you run an OSS project.

    • You respond with, "feel free to hire a team of programmers to fix that. you have the source code.:" Honestly, you have to act like Linus if you run an OSS project.

      Somehow I think Linus would have some......different words.....

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      But as an OSS developer, don't you have a responsibility to fix some problem in your code? You released code so someone would use it, but the bugs make it difficult for the users to achieve their goals, which in turn may affect company profit (if said OSS is being used in a commercial setting).

      If you like releasing half-baked crap that is useless to someone after they've invested real time and money, don't release such software in the first place or declare a warning stating that "support is unlikely or wil

      • But as an OSS developer, don't you have a responsibility to fix some problem in your code?

        No

        You released code so someone would use it

        No, people can release the source code because they feel like it.

        If you like releasing half-baked crap that is useless to someone after they've invested real time and money, don't release such software in the first place

        Just because a project is released, doesn't mean you have to use it. If you want to use something for no money, you have to do your research to make sure that you are using the right open source project.

        • by gnupun ( 752725 )

          No, people can release the source code because they feel like it.

          WTF does that even mean, "because they felt like it?" Software is created to be used and broken software is useless. What's the point of releasing useless stuff?

          Corps and even non-commercial users care about what the program does. They don't care about the source code.

          Just because a project is released, doesn't mean you have to use it.

          Conversely, you need to communicate how much time you're capable of spending fixing bugs, so your users have a

      • But as an OSS developer, don't you have a responsibility to fix some problem in your code?

        Nope. Just about every OSS license comes splattered with disclaimers. Personally, I have pride in some of my projects and so would fix bugs in a reasonably timely manner depending on the bug (problems with OSX or Windows are low down on my list since I have neither and no one who has had problems has ever offered to buy me a mac or a windows license).

        If you like releasing half-baked crap that is useless to someone afte

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          I am a bit different than you the OSS code I have released, if someone reports a bug, I'll get to it when I can, but my DAY JOB is far more important, as well as family. Honestly I released it for free, and all people using it will get 100% of their $0.00US they spent to buy it from me, and my response time to bug reports will also be at that speed. "reasonable" amount of time is based on my definition of reasonable. Someone demanding a fix is not reasonable, someone wanting a fix within 12 months for f

    • > You respond with, "feel free to hire a team of programmers to fix that. you have the source code.:"

      The better response would be "Well, here's our bug tracker, and here is our roadmap for $RELEASE_FOO. If this is high priority for you, we could add $YOUR_PET_DEFECT or $YOUR_PET_FEATURE_REQUEST to $RELEASE_FOO for $N, but if you're willing to wait until $RELEASE_BAR we could add $YOUR_PET_FEATURE_REQUEST to the design spec for a $MODEST_DONATION. If it is truly critical we could fork it for you for $REA

    • "As soon as a bug affects them, they want it fixed immediately."

      You respond with, "feel free to hire a team of programmers to fix that. you have the source code.:"

      Honestly, you have to act like Linus if you run an OSS project.

      .... and you're still employed?

  • ... If you don't fix it in 24 hours (because maybe you have a real life or a family or you're sick or any number of other very valid reasons) then the threats start....

    Does the license under which the OSS code is used by the company say that bugs will be fixed within 24 hours? Was a contract entered that says bugs will be fixed within 24 hours?

    .
    If the answer to both of the above is "no", then what's the problem?

    I don't see why the guy is whining, and tainting the entire OSS community with his personal issues.

    • I don't see why the guy is whining, and tainting the entire OSS community with his personal issues.

      He's trying to make himself feel better about his failure to make a living selling OSS by spreading FUD about it. If he can convince himself that what he says is true, he doesn't have to believe that he is a failure, and he can go on failing happily, all the while claiming that it is someone else's fault..

  • Whenever I see "OSS", I always think it means the "Office of Strategic Services". I don't think that mixed well with businesses, either.
  • This isn't a surprise to me. I work for a profitable government organization. We bring in substantial tax dollars. But at the end of the day all my work has to be justified, much of it within the confines of a specific project. That means once specific goals are met I must move on to other things. Bugs which affect us must be fixed, but others languish because of other priorities.

  • His basic thesis is that the open source development process is not particularly compatible with for-profit corporations, and having them involved frequently makes progress more difficult

    Probably most open source software is developed either by corporations or by consortia of corporations. His situation, where he develops open source software independently that is then used by big corporations, is probably unusual. In particular, I suspect most of those corporations asking for quick turnaround on fixes, wou

  • The incompatibility is that businesses need software that works. The OSS community wants to produce buggy, incomplete, undocumented software.

  • Of course, a business that uses open source software will be most concerned about bugs that affect it. Isn't that natural? So if he wants the other bugs fixed, he can personally contribute his time to the project, and fix the bugs HE wants fixed! This article looks to me like a simple case of a guy who doesn't agree with his company's priorities, and is venting on the Web.

  • It's OSS. They want a bug fixed so damned bad that they're going to start threatening the author? Tell 'em to go pound sand, and have their own gods-be-damned programmer(s) fix it. It's not like they don't have the gods-be-damned source code for the thing.
  • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @03:26AM (#50886721)

    I've seen all of this with my freely available code or tools. And I always say the same thing "Thanks for bring the bug to my attention..." and then if I'm currently busy with other things or I don't care that much about the code anymore I follow up with "I'm currently busy with other projects, my hourly rate is $xxx if you need it fixed ASAP I would be happy to provide an estimate and invoice for the work. Otherwise it probably won't be fixed for a few weeks if ever."

    Everyone so far has been very understanding and a number of them have paid for the addition or fix. I'll even list the sponsoring party in the changelog.

    --Fixed crash from XYZ. Fix sponsored by AnimationCorp LLC.
    I get paid to work on a free tool that I use too, they get something they need, I get some minor self promotion for the tool being used by more people and they get some minor promotion in the changelog/release notes.

  • Based on my experience, I'm working for one of the big multi-nationals for years.

    Bugs fixed quicker in commercial software, are you kidding me?
    Fucking, seriously???
    It's not only that most of the times you have to find workarounds/fixes yourself, it's that since it's commercial and not OSS code, what you'll likely face won't even be decompiled code, it will be bloody OBFUSCATED decompiled code with things like a.b.c.d1() all over the place!!!

    At least for the corp I work for (and I'm pretty sure for most corp

    • With commercial software that's seller's problem.

      Hardly. Lots of commercial software won't indemnify against patent problems. Not all that long ago, a company wanted me to indemnify my work for them (as a consultant/supplied customised software module), so I told them flat out that it was too expensive but I could if they really wanted take out insurance (once they specify the indemnification limit), but that would be added to the cost of the product.

      They ruminated on it for a while, came back to me with "a

  • My company completely overhauled openvpn, and gave the results back to the community. Granted, this was under a government contract, but still.

  • One problem is business view OSS much as any other product, i.e. someone supplied it and thus the expect that person to help solve problems that arise. The do not see the OSS community as a community but as yet another vendor. Other vendors don't say "We'll, if it doesn't work right tell us and we'll see if we want to fix it and if someone is interested in fixing it they'll do so when they get around to it." As a result, there are differing expectation on what OSS really id; which if course does not absolv

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