Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why I don’t do free private email support

Every now and then, I get someone who gets really angry at me when I give them the “pay up or take it to the mailing list” form reply from me after sending me a request for unpaid private MaraDNS support. This is not very good for the user in question; since the form reply makes it clear I can make replies to my form letter public, they end up publicly embarrassed when I forward their rude email to the MaraDNS list.

The reason why I don’t do unpaid support is because MaraDNS is an open-source project. Open source fundamentally changes the customer-supplier relationship; the thinking behind open source is that I supply something that benefits the community as a whole. The community, in return, benefits MaraDNS.

If I answer a private MaraDNS support email for free, I am not doing anything to benefit the MaraDNS community. I am only benefiting one particular user of MaraDNS.

MaraDNS users with support concerns should help MaraDNS by either paying me (which encourages me to work harder on MaraDNS), or by making their support concern public; this way any reply to their email is public and the next person with the same concern can quickly find the answer to their question in the MaraDNS mailing list archives.