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RE: My new project (repost)

The SCO letter is just fud.  They didn't point out any capability that 
Unixware has that linux does not.

Corporations like to have someone to blame.  The culture is to make safe 
dicisions.  Accepting total responsibility for something isn't done very 
often. (exceptions are things like process control systems.)  Using a 
system like linux means that you have to maintain someone on staff that can 
deal with it.  Companies usually want to outsource that kind of technical 

Internal politics also plays a big role.  I know of many decisions that 
have no technical basis.  One I am familiar with... we are going to move 
our dns system from vaxen to nt servers when m$ gets around to  releasing 
it.  This makes no sense!  But it is politically correct and it will work 
(sort of).

So... How to overcome the bias?

I think support service is the first major step.  IMHO, Bruce is doing the 
right thing first.

The next thing to attack is the install.  Debian GNU/Linux will install on 
more hardware than nt will.  People don't see this.  It's all perception. 
 A really slick install package would help this out.  Perhaps diety will 
smooth the rough edges here.  Another thing that would help is a network of 
debian "certified" folk to do installs and configuration (for a fee). 
 Having a body show up at your door makes a lot of difference.

Most corporate cadre like to know _where_ the outfit is that they are 
dealing with.  This one is tough.  SCO has a corporate headquarters and an 
address.  Debian only has email and url addresses.  I haven't a clue how to 
get around this one.  Again, it is a perception problem.  I don't know how 
many programmers SCO has, but debian and linux probably pulls better talent 
from a larger pool.  We have to make the organization seem more concrete 
and tangible.  Any suggestions??


jim.lewis@alcoa.com    ----  __o   old guys who get
(423)977-2800       -----  _`\<;_    fat in winter
                     ---  (_)/ (_)    racing team

From: 	Wintermute[SMTP:wntrmute@tampabay.rr.com]
Sent: 	Thursday, December 04, 1997 2:02 AM
To: 	bruce@va.debian.org; Debian User List
Cc: 	The recipient's address is unknown.
Subject: 	Re: My new project (repost)

bruce@va.debian.org wrote:
> Dear Debian Users,

> [Quoting SCO] 1. Linux has no technical support or maintenance.
> I am instituting a 24/7 commercial email support desk for

Huzzah!  The more commercial support the better.. It's strange, but
corporations just don't think they're getting anything worth while
unless they're paying through the nose for it.

> [Quoting SCO]  2.Linux has no defined strategy for the future.

As far as I understood it, Linux has always had an unspoken dedication
to the users.  To be the BEST operating system out there doesn't sound
like too bad of a game plan to me.  But I suppose it needs to be fluffed
for management-sludge-brains to understand it more clearly.. or at least
to point to and say in effect "This statement of purpose weighs more
than any other I've ever seen.. this is definitely a good system."
(Don't think I'm kidding either.. this is almost to the letter the way
things are done.)

> [Quoting SCO] 3.Most Important, can your company accept that its 
> as a business depends heavily on a freeware product maintained by a 
> number of people on an essentially volunteer basis?

First off, where do they get "small number"??!  Now I KNOW this is a
joke.  Anyone have the last known official estimate for the sum total of
Linux users?

The only difference between commercial support and volunteer support is
that you can sue the pants off of someone who you've made a contract
with if they fail to hold up their end.

The fact remains.. if something does go wrong, either way the system's
screwed, no amount of money you can pay can fix a problem.  Only a
strong team of skilled and knowledged individuals who understand the
intrinsic details of the underlying system can solve the problem.  What
I'm trying to convey is that ..

Just because you've payed for support doesn't solve the problem any
faster or at all for that matter, and in the case of commercial support
you'll be dealing with out-sourced technical assistance and you may not
get to the original developers for weeks, even months (if at all).
(Climbing up THAT chain of command can be a nightmare... and I speak
from experience having had an INTERNAL vantage point on this.)

I'll bet you any amount of money that the same is true for SCO.  (In
daily practice we've dealt with several of these problems.. all the
same.. "Well we don't have support for that at this time.. perhaps
later..." or "We're working on it right now..." Only to wait 4 months
for vaporware...or vaporpatch as the case may be.)

On a more productive note (shedding some of my rage at the audacity of
SCO to publish such nonsense, and the fact that I HATE their BASTARD,
BACKWARD OS with all my BEING.. eh hem).  I would emphasize the fact
that when requesting support for Linux, 9 out of 10 times (with a
serious problem) you are getting help DIRECTLY from the developer
responsible for that piece of the operating system, and not some hired
warm-body who only knows what he's been taught in their (often
inadequate) training courses.

This list can attest to that fact.  I requested assistance with my 3c509
card, nothing was working.  I contacted Donald Becker personaly, and I
immediately got HELP. Within 24 hours I got a response with critical
information that helped me find and solve my problem.

Could I have gotten that with WinBlows 95 or NT?  No.  (Not without
spending a fortune for Mission Critical assistance and then waiting 2
weeks while they tripped over each other in their incompetancy.)  And
you're not going to find it in any other commercial Unix either. PERIOD.

The difference?  We CARE about our OS.  The success of our Linux
community rests on a devotion to something in which we believe and NOT
because we're trying to turn a buck.  If there's a problem with the
system it's like a problem with our health, and immediate action is
taken to cure the illness. Corporations like SCO would rather wait for
the illness to become an epidemic before taking the first steps toward

> [Quoting SCO] 4.Of course, there is a challenging aspect to Linux. Just
> imagine all of the fun you get when you encounter a bug and debug the 
> yourself.

This is an out and out insult.  Their system is no different than any
other.  Say you find a problem with their kernel?  What then?  Call 'em
up.  Tell them your problem.  Dick around for about a week or two until
you finally drill into their skulls that you AREN'T a moron and that
there is a REAL concern.  Then wait a few MORE weeks while several
lackies waste your time on telephone debugging sessions, until FINALLY
it gets back to the man in charge of that particular piece o' kernel.
With the Linux way we cut out about 3-4 weeks, a bottle of aspirin, and
a mean case of cauliflower ear from being on the phone for hours on end.

> Obviously, the commercial support organization I am forming will address 

Commercial support will prove that Linux is more than just a flash in
the pan operation, and that we REALLY are serious about providing the
BEST possible operating system available.

But let's not forget Linus's "World Domination 101" directive.
Applications, applications, applications!  Perhaps some of this capitol
accrued through commercial tech support could fund development projects
to stock Linux with high quality business-ware that could loosen the
grip of the Evil Empire on office productivity markets.  We all KNOW
that if we can get in THAT door, we've got 'em.

> I think it's nice when a company takes their time to isolate all of your
> problems and point them out so neatly so that you can work on them.
> I reproduce the entirety of SCO's nice letter below.

It sounds more like a company flailing and moaning in its final throws
of death, but I agree with everything you've said.

They've tried to step into OUR court now, and by doing so they've made a
BIG mistake.  The only thing that we really lack in order to impress
corporations of the validity of Linux is true-blue commercial technical
support.  They need to feel comfortable knowing that if something goes
wrong they have a contractual agreement which entitles them to immediate
"level 1 priority" support.  (I speak from experience.. I'm fighting a
slow war with my company to prove to them that Linux is every bit as
viable (if not more so) than Solaris, AIX, BSDi, etc, etc, etc.)  With a
commercial support option, I'd have a very large gun to fight with

-- Wintermute

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