Thu May 22 17:09:14 UTC 2008
Ross S. W. Walker <rwalker at medallion.com>

James B. Byrne wrote:

> On : Wed, 21 May 2008 16:57:37 -0400, "Ross S. W. Walker" <rwalker at medallion.com> wrote:
> > I would just buy the RH licenses for the project. CentOS may work well
> > for development and testing platform, but the production code should
> > be on fully supported RHEL.
> Having been on RHEL support, and having had occasion to use that support quite
> extensively, I have formed an opinion to the contrary.
> My experience did not lead me to the conclusion that licensed RHEL
> distributions, together with the highest available level of support offered by
> RedHat, provided any measurable benefit over CentOS and community support.  In
> fact, my experiences with RedHat Support, which were not in the least bit
> negative, led me to abandon RedHat, first to WhiteBox and thence to CentOS.

[woeful story of RH layered support]

> I cannot perceive any measurable advantage to having a support contract for
> OSS, other than perhaps with the actual core team of the exact product you are
> using.  RH is a packager, which is not to denigrate either the value of the
> integration work that they do, or its technical merit. Nonetheless, most OSS
> support problems are either resolved by re-reading the specific package
> documentation, having an obscure feature identified and explained by someone
> that knows about it, bypassing the impediment, or when all else fails writing
> and submitting your own patch.

I agree support contracts from Redhat or Microsoft or Novell provide very
little value on the surface, but there are advantages to these contracts
besides phone support.

1) Third party vendor support. These contracts and installations will
allow your software, hardware and development vendors to provide you with
the support you need/want.

2) Service agreements. Just like there is an EULA there is also a vendor
agreement within the contracts. Read them carefully. In there there are
terms that the vendor agrees to meet that are beneficial to the long
term support of their product.

3) Indemnification. Not all vendors provide this, but most do. This will
assure you, management and legal that your company will not be held
legally accountable for any intellectual property or copyright violations
that may occur due to improper licensing on behalf of the software vendor.

4) Compliance. Most regulatory controls require that there be some
level of service contract on the software that constitutes your primary
production environment. This doesn't have to be a blanket policy, just
your primary production systems. The bread n' butter so to speak.

There is a lot more to a software support plan then just phone support.


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