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From Dave Fisher <dave2w...@comcast.net>
Subject Re: What does "supported" mean for us?
Date Tue, 01 Jan 2013 18:03:01 GMT
HI Rob,

I like your emphasis here on "Supported". Let's discuss support in terms of actual process
and precisely what are official releases vs. user convenience releases. Both of which are
VOTED, but only the source code release can be completely vetted by all of the project. The
convenience binaries are well tested and approved. These are what you are discussing when
you describe "Supported" below.

So when the project votes to release a user convenience binary we are voting to support that
configuration. This can change at any release.

Packages are built by project members using the buildbot or on personal equipment.

Let's look at Apache Subversion's packages [1]. The project only produces source code and
the binary packages are the responsibility of third parties. 

AOO has both project supported packages, the voted on user convenience binaries. There are
also third party packages which project member's produce and "support". Examples are FreeBSD
and Solaris.

I think that AOO should provide a page with a table that lists "Free support".

Columns might be.
(1) Operating System and Version.
(2) Apache Open Office Version as a link to a download.
(3) Packager - AOO, FreeBSD, Adfinis (sic), etc.
(4) Available free support - forum, ML, etc. (Would we support FreeBSD/Solaris AOO on dev
ML?)

The table could be followed by a description about what support means as you describe below
plus some indication about how to get on the list which should include a vetting procedure
and a project VOTE.

Regards,
Dave

[1] http://subversion.apache.org/packages.html


On Jan 1, 2013, at 8:59 AM, Rob Weir 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


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