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From Rob Weir <robw...@apache.org>
Subject Re: What does "supported" mean for us?
Date Tue, 01 Jan 2013 17:50:46 GMT
On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM, 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.
>

And thinking a little further, there might be something between
"supported" and "deprecated", or at least there might be different
levels of confidence we might have.

For example, I don't think we're doing any testing with Widows Vista.
We tested Windows XP, 7 and preview version of 8.  We have limited
resources.

So is Vista supported?   It certainly isn't deprecated.  But neither
is it getting the full QA treatment.  Similar questions for Linux
releases.  We don't test every release of every distro.  We pick the
major ones, such as the Ubuntu LTS releases.

One way of handling this could be:

1) Define our "Class A" platforms, the ones that we give the full test
attention to.  Similar to how we treat translations, this list can
grow given sufficient volunteers to cover the testing, and (if bugs
are found) the fixes.

2) Class A platforms (or "primary platforms" or "tested platforms" or
"supported platforms" -- whatever we call them) are the ones we
encourage users to use.

3) For other platforms we make a wiki-page per platform, were we can
track notes from users on an unique issues they find on that platform.
 These combinations are not supported, but may often work.  But we
make it easy to collect observations about AOO on that platform, and
make it easy for users to find that info.

If we do this, then our support statement could read something like:
"We have tested and qualified Apache OpenOffice X.Y on the following
operating system versions.  Other operating system versions may work
as well, but may require additional configuration.  For the latest
information please consult the following wiki page..."

-Rob

> 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
>>

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