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Re: [DotGNU]Professional online tech support for GNU/Linux?

From: Andrew Clausen
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Professional online tech support for GNU/Linux?
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 08:05:29 +1000
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

Hi James,

I disagree fairly strongly with what you said (which is good,
because we'll improve each others' ideas ;)

I don't think your ideas are compatible with "let's make the system
really easy for *USERS*".  Users sound like they are priority number
5 in your suggestions.  Also, I think it needs to be emphasized that
support is a service, not a product.  More on these below ;)

In any case, I proposed some solutions to the issues in the file...
I'd appreciate it if you commented on them.

On Thu, Jul 11, 2002 at 03:45:32AM -0700, James Michael DuPont wrote:
> Sounds good.
> Here are my 2 ? cents : 
> I want to take this time to point out that the
> trouble tickets and bugs are the most important meta-data about a
> software: 
> We need to track each issue in a repository and use that to cross
> reference the source code to the issues, and also the patches to the
> ticket.

Whoa... most issues won't affect source code at all.  If they do,
they are no longer support issues, but either "professional services"
/ "consultancy", or bug fixing, which are different animals.
(With different budgets, time-frames, etc.)

> >  * how is price determined?
> Via an ebay bidding system, people put what they will pay, and
> the developers sell thier time on a market system.

But, you've got quality issues... also, what information do
developers have to decide on a fair price?  Should they offer
a price per unit time?  How should a user decide which price/person
combination is best?

> >  * how do we encourage quality?
> LIke in ebay or perlmonks, you get downgraded. 

*downgraded* ?  That sounds like a dubious system, since you could
presumebly keep opening new accounts.

In any case, I think users should be able to choose between quality
and price.

> >  * money is sensitive stuff!  What security is necessary?
> paypal?

DotGNU doesn't have anything better to offer?  It seems strange to
have to go through a third party.

> >  * how should it interface with GNU/Linux companies, like Red Hat and
> > friends?
> it is competition

Why?  Why shouldn't they be able to participate?
(note: I developed a lot of this in correspondence with Dan Burcaw,
who's CTO of Yellow Dog Linux)

> >  * what's a simple, easy UI?
> Something that uses some XMLRPC/SOAP/Jabber/DOTGNU interface into a
> central webservice. But remember it has to be compatible with savannah
> and should include a client that uses the future to-be-published 
> php_groupware interface of savannah.

This question I was asking was more about "what should the user see?",
not how it would it implemented (that was another question!)

> >  * which techie "owns" which issue?  How is locking resolved? 
> I am looking into the debian-sf source code.
> sourceforge has a nice bug tracking system, and we should look to
> improve the savannah code to handle this IMHO.

I'm not convinced that this is related in any way to bug-tracking
systems.  IMHO, bug-tracking systems should be for developers only.
They require all sorts of interpretation that users probably can't
do very well, nor have the stomach to do.  They'd much rather fire
off a 2-minute email to address@hidden, and have a developer
interpret it for them.

In fact, I don't envisage support requests being associated with
programs at all!  More along the lines of: "how can I print this
pdf file?" or "why won't my epson XFOO+ work?"

Basically, I want to bring down the work a user needs to an
ABSOLUTE MINIMUM.  I don't think users will pay for anything else.


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