Statement on Open Source Support
If you experience a bug or if you miss a certain feature in a certain open source software package, you have three possibilities:
- This is open source software, you can do it yourself.
- This is open source software, you can wait until someone has free time and thinks this is fun to implement.
- Or you can find/hire someone to do it for you.
I can help you with option three.
I’m participating in various Open Source software (OSS) projects and therefore, I often get e-mails from people who seek help. Most of them actually want free support. Please understand that I won’t provide free support on projects like Apache FOP and Barcode4J directly via my personal e-mail address. There are various reasons for that:
- Working on Open Source projects is volunteer work. Most of them are not my own products and I don’t provide any warranty for them.
- If I help you for free, it’s on my time and only you profit.
- If you post your questions to the official support forum for the respective project, other people can also help you (others might be faster than me since I might be on holidays, for example).
- When a question is answered in the official support forum, other people can also profit from answers given there. The answers are normally archived and are searchable. And often someone else might have had the same question before and it has already been answered before.
For free support on any Open Source product I’m working on, please post to the respective support forum (or mailing list) and don’t send questions to me directly. The only exceptions are the packages I provide over this website (like the OSGi bundle utility). Here are some pointers to the official support forums for some key products:
Part of my income is providing services around Open Source products. A number of happy clients pay me to improve products like Apache FOP or Barcode4J. They also come to me when they need help with these products, but need a certain service level or have confidentiality concerns which don’t allow them to post to the public support forums. If you’re prepared to compensate me for my efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly so we can find the best way to address your needs or problems.
If as part of commercial support, I change software or create new code that is specific to an Open Source product, my default policy is to publish this code under the same license as the product for which the software was written and donate the code to that project. Please note that by buying commercial support from me, you also indirectly sponsor these projects from which you are surely profiting. It’s one way to give something back to the project.
Of course, I’m also more than happy to coach you or your developers to get involved in Open Source projects if that’s an option. Open Source Software lives from the participation of as many people and organizations as possible.