OSNews: Customer Services: OSS, Grasp The Concept
Nov 11, 2003, 00:00 (3 Talkback[s])
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"Commercial software companies across the industry have an often
well-deserved reputation for poor customer service. Unfortunately,
companies that sell Open Source Software are well on the way to
establishing a reputation for being even worse than commercial
firms. I believe I know why. The reason has its' roots in the
origin of the free software movement, and in the cultural bias of
the geek world. Here is my take on the subject, for whatever it
might be worth.
"The root of the problem is based on the fact that OSS companies
are not marketing a product, they are marketing services. Many
firms seem to have trouble coming to grips with this fact. A
commercial software company like Microsoft, or Novell, or any other
company that produces and sells a proprietary software package is
actually selling a combination of product and service, wrapped in
one bundle. OSS companies are selling service, period.
"Unfortunately, the operators of OSS companies tend to be
refugees from the commercial software world, and they are
conditioned and programmed to think in terms of proprietary code.
Even when the company officers at various Linux distros consciously
recognize that OSS is not proprietary, their conditioned reflexes
still get the better of them. They can't help it, they were raised
that way. It is the only paradigm that they understand..."