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Computerworld: Q&A: Ballmer Aims for Broader Customer Connection

Jun 24, 2002, 13:00 (44 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carol Sliwa, Don Tennant, Maryfran Johnson)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"[Take] the way we use community. Community has been a big tool of support in the Linux world -- being online, sharing answers with one another, self-support. I mean, that's sort of the lifeblood of how people get support in Linux communities, not in calling up somebody and paying 35 bucks. And if you look at most people who work inside enterprises, they don't call us. There's some guy who owns the incidents. They want to go to the Web. They want to self-support. And so, what are the best practices? How do we use community as a tool? How do we support community, so that if you're a guy trying to install Windows Server to do DNS in General Motors and you're not one of the guys who actually gets to call Microsoft, how do you get that question answered?

"That's all about broad customer connection. So one group pioneers it. And the best practices get to be shared and promulgated out across other groups.

"Q: Are you trying to do the Linux model one better?

"A: There actually are more support forums around Windows online today than there are Linux by a substantial margin. But if you look at the percentage of all people who use Windows who choose to use community, vs. the percentage of all Linux users who do community, the percentage of all Linux users who use community is higher than the percentage of all Windows users. ... The question isn't to get some activity level. The question is to make this really a lifeblood form of support, or to learn what the best practice is in that dimension..."

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