Subject: Re: "Users fix bugs" & distributors
From: ghost@aladdin.com (L. Peter Deutsch)
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 94 14:13:54 PDT

>         Peter is obviously talking about email that he and I have
> exchanged.  To say that I "asked [Peter] to send [Yggdrasil] bug
> fixes" could be misinterpeted as some sort of request for ghostscript
> consulting (not that I see anything wrong with making such requests).

No, I didn't interpret it that way.  And I don't see anything wrong
with a request for consulting either.

> Just to be clear, let me state for the record that we were discussing
> the fact that users have plenty of options in buying tech support,
> including "debugging problems yourself and sending us fixes."
> 
> >Now why should I do this?  [send Yggdrasil bug fixes.]
> 
>         The reason why you, or any customer of ours, has an interest
> in sending us bug fixes for free (and in publishing those fixes as
> widely as possible) is that the benefit to the customer of having
> those bugs fixed in future releases exceeds the benefits that
> the customer would most likely get from withholding those fixes.
> In general, a bug has to be sufficiently aggravating and sufficiently
> easy to fix for a user to fix the bug himself.  That roughly
> defines a minimum value to the user of having the bug fixed permanently
> and a maximum cost invested in fixing the bug.

Yes, I agree.  However, the context of the question was whether I should
send Yggdrasil the fix, as opposed to sending it to the author.  I would
assume that the author is the logical person to coordinate any such fixes;
if I send them (only) to Yggdrasil, the chances are good that they will
get lost as soon as Yggdrasil picks up a new version from the author,
unless Yggdrasil has a policy of relaying them to the author (which, as I
said, judging from my own experience as an author, no distributor does).
Therefore, it seems to me that at a minimum, I should send the fixes to
the author; and, given that I've done that, if Yggdrasil is really adding
value as a distributor, they should be picking up updates from the authors
in a timely way, and I can get not only the same benefits from sending the
fix to the author that I would have gotten from sending the bug to
Yggdrasil, but also the benefits of (1) knowing that I'll be able to get
the same fixes from other distributors who get updates from authors in a
timely way, and (2) knowing that no one will have to do additional work to
ensure the fix doesn't get lost when the author releases a newer version.

L. Peter Deutsch :: Aladdin Enterprises :: P.O. box 60264, Palo Alto, CA 94306
ghost@aladdin.com, ...decwrl!aladdin!ghost ; voice 415-322-0103 ; fax 322-1734
	    "Implementation is the sincerest form of flattery."