The Open Source Support Question

Support for open source products is a common obstacle cited by enterprise customers who are considering open source software alternatives. This is possibly a matter of perception... but perhaps not.

When I talk with developers, they're irritated by this "PHB" concern because they see how active an open-source community can be in providing "real" support. "Hey," the developers say, "I can get on an IRC channel and often find the person who wrote the code!" But the boss doesn't see it the same way: she thinks in terms of service-level agreements and 24x7 support contracts.

Tell us what's being done (by commercial open source companies and by open source projects) to help ensure necessary technical support accompanies the open source software? Are new support models likely to emerge as a result of open source software popularity?

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