Subject: Free software maintenance
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 11:16:26 +0100 (MET)

   In my efforts to promote the use of free software in various
companies, one major hurdle is that they want to understand
the maintenance process.
   It is not enough to say that there is a community at large that is
big enough so that someone will do the job. The really want to know
about all the information channels and flows, about organization and
processes. Where to send bug reports, how they are collected,
forwarded, handled. Who makes new versions and releases them or send
patches. How are uncontroled divergence avoided ... what is a reliable
source...  I am not sure what all the questions may be.

   I suspect there is not a single answer, and it certainly differs
when the software is done by Aladdins, Cygnus, XFree or FSF or by less
structured groups.

   Any comment on this topic, or pointers to documentation would be
most welcome.

   I would also welcome pointers to papers about the history or
functionning of free-software companies. I may have the opportunity to
talk about it in the local professional press. 
  BTW I write only free papers (for what they are worth) as much as I
can (so far it worked, but having them free on the internet may
occasionally be a bit of a fight when it has appeared in print).

Cordialement  (and Happy 1998)

   Bernard Lang             ,_  /\o    \o/    Tel  +33 (1) 3963 5644  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  Fax  +33 (1) 3963 5469
             INRIA / B.P. 105 / 78153 Le Chesnay CEDEX / France
          Je n'exprime que mon opinion - I express only my opinion