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From Rory O'Farrell <ofarr...@iol.ie>
Subject Re: What does "supported" mean for us?
Date Tue, 01 Jan 2013 17:17:47 GMT
On Tue, 1 Jan 2013 18:06:38 +0100
janI <jani@apache.org> wrote:

> +1 to your definition of "supported", it is funny I just had somewhat the
> same discussion today.
> 
> Regarding lifecycle, I would like to suggest that we only support the
> latest release, otherwise we stretch our resources pretty thin.  We can of
> course have a statement that we in general will have a look at critical
> bugs, but they will only be solved in the latest release.
> 
> rgds
> Jan I.
> 
> 
> On 1 January 2013 17:59, Rob Weir <robweir@apache.org> wrote:
> 
> > When a commercial software vendor says a configuration is "supported"
> > it means something, typically that to the extent the software license
> > includes an entitlement to support, that the vendor will provide that
> > service for that configuration.  So saying something is "supported" is
> > essentially an obligation.
> >
> > With a volunteer-run, open source project, "supported" cannot mean
> > quite the same thing.   We're not obligated, in any contractual sense,
> > to provide anyone with anything.  That's the nature of a volunteer
> > effort.
> >
> > However, users and organizations considering OpenOffice will naturally
> > think in terms of "support", even if they user that term loosely.  We
> > use that term as well, in our release notes, etc.  But I think we
> > ought to have a more precise definition of what we mean when we say
> > something is "supported", in order to avoid any confusion.   This
> > question has come up recently, with regards to the status of Windows
> > 8, where that OS had not been released at the time AOO 3.4.1 was
> > released.
> >
> > So here's a strawman proposal for what "supported" means for us.
> >
> > 1) "Supported" is a statement we make about a specific version of AOO
> > used with a specific platform, e.g., AOO 3.4.1 with Windows XP SP3 or
> > AOO 3.4 with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
> >
> > 2) "Supported" means we encourage use of AOO in that configuration.
> > We have high confidence that the combination is stable, that it works
> > well and is safe.
> >
> > 3) Our confidence in stating something is supported should have a
> > solid basis in testing.  Something is not "supported" by us guessing
> > it should work.  It is supported only after we have successfully
> > completed testing of that release with that platform.  We probably
> > should define exactly what level of testing is required.
> >
> > 4) "Supported" also implies that the supported configuration is
> > sufficiently available and there is sufficient expertise that we have
> > confidence that users will have a high quality experience seeking
> > support on the forums and user list.
> >
> > 5) "Supported" also implies that we stand behind that release and will
> > take necessary steps to correct *critical* bugs, especially security
> > flaws, via rapidly produced point releases where necessary.
> >
> > Note that these are all expectations that a user might have, though
> > any given user might think that "supported" means only a subset of
> > these.
> >
> > What we probably really need is more of a lifecycle statement,
> > including when support for a configuration ends.
> >
> > -Rob
> >

Supported should mean also that it works with an "out of the box" install of the "supported"
operating system.  

We must remember that the average user is relatively unskilled in computer knowledge and terminology;
they want to press the button of the install package and have it install a working OpenOffice
without intervention on their part.  

Such behaviour also as a good spin-off in terms of less User support being needed; lurking
on the Forum one will quickly see that many awkward support cases are caused by insufficient
computer knowledge of the users, as also by attempts on their part to out-guess the install
process.

-- 
Rory O'Farrell <ofarrwrk@iol.ie>

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