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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..."

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