By alexismp on oct. 31, 2009
At the same time the FishCAT team is also busy testing the latest releases.
Sun's fiscal year recently came to an end and I can tell you that GlassFish subscriptions are doing well. I can't really say more other than it includes many new customers. Winning new customers is hard, so we're pretty happy. I've previously commented on the value of support but in the meantime, I've heard other concerns which I'd like to adress here.
There is no one good true model for open source monetization and I don't pretend ours is perfect, but here's what you get when you buy a GlassFish subscription. Feedback welcome.
Hotline for Bug fixing
Of course you could say that community support (email, forum, blogs) is really good and maybe good enough. Fair enough. When you file issues (remember, we love bug reports, we're even about to give away $50,000 to bug submitters), it is considered as community support and thus best effort on Sun's side. As a side note, we probably have progress to make in bug triage but that's a different topic. The only reliable way to escalate an issue and have it fixed is the GlassFish subscription. This is what will get your bug fixed and delivered to you under an SLA.
Access to patches
sunsolve.sun.com is where patches (incremental add-ons to a production system vs. reinstall of an unknown quality build from glassfish.org's trunk) are made available to customers with GlassFish subscriptions. Eduardo is maintaining a high-quality blog about everything released via that mechanism at blogs.sun.com/GlassFishForBusiness. Take a look and see what you're missing out on. GlassFish v2ur2 Patch 2 should be out day now.
It seems that the value of indemnification heavily depends on the part of the world you're from, ranging from "absolute must-have" to "indemnifi-what?". In a nutshell, Sun takes extreme care in managing is source code which includes things like the Sun Contributor Agreement (SCA) which enable us to provide the protect you from patent claims people expect.
Questions? Suggestions? Fire!
I wrote this post about the Roller upgrade to blogs.sun.com thinking all would be as painless as previous upgrades (blogs.sun.com has been running all versions of Roller starting with pre-1.0). But I actually had a hard time pushing it out because of some timezone bug which I couldn't really understand. Hours (minutes?) after the upgrade I noticed this and pinged the engineering team who responded really quickly with a fix. Unfortunately, the patch didn't fix all the problems I was seeing, so I had to do some more testing to provide a better test case. Eventually, less than 48 hours later (and much other things done) the service was fixed.
Granted I was talking to the people that both operate the service and write the code (blogs.sun.com serves as a beta tester). It's certainly not like having full support starting from level 0 and walking you through the entire process. You do have to go through due diligence before you ask (which is actually good - how many times did you find the answer yourself because you actually spent the time writing the question in plain text?). Looking back on this I'm really not upset with the whole issue (although I use the service to carry out my daily job) because it was solved in a timely and professional manner.
I could have looked at the source code (I've done that previously) but I couldn't seriously afford to spend possibly a day diving into unknown code (last I looked at it is must have been version 1.0). Having someone who knows the codebase just helps you solve the issue in a fraction of the time. Of course if I had no one to turn to, I would have been glad I had the source.
So it's not about having software that never fails, it's really about what you've planned you could do when it does. And with Open Source just like with any other software, support matters.
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