Subject: Re: Cost of support (article in NY Times)
From: tiemann@CYGNUS.COM
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 93 19:00:11 -0700

    They had a column by Peter Lewis in the business section of the
    Sunday NY Times called

    Free Technical Support: An endangered Species of Service.

    I think I'm going to write them a letter detailing that 
    the only true form of support is source code, whereby you
    have choice (instead of hope).

I think this is silly.  This is like saying that the only true form of
food is forty acres and a mule.  In the food world people are
rediscovering the benefits of growing their own vegetables, whose
quality in the growing season certainly beats the chemical-induced
products of the agribusiness, but for real reliability, we have all
grown dependent on professional, timely delivery of our provisions.

Source code should only be used as a last resort.  When nobody makes
a business of providing the kind of support you need, only then should
you get into the business of supporting the source yourself.
Otherwise you are reinventing the wheel--an uncompetitive endeavor.

If no free software business provides good enough support for you,
then perhaps there is a business opportunity for you.  But to tell the
NYT that the lack of such a business is somehow a feature for any
other economic reason is nonsense.

Michael