Tuesday, September 18, 2007

paid services for rsyslog

As with a lot of open source projects, rsyslog funding is problematic. Of course, rsyslog currently is funded by my interest in it. And I am glad that Adiscon, my company, permits me to work on. The actual funding for all that action, kind of funny, mostly stems from closed source projects in the Windows world.

However, I'd like to see that over the years rsyslog can fund itself. In my point of view, funding should be provided by those that benefit most from it. So obviously, I do not expect any funding from private folks, people like you and me. Of course, everyone is invented to contribute and new code, doc and bug hunting is definitely a pro. On the other hand, companies (and other organizations, namely the government) take financial advantage of using it. Some of them also contribute in terms of time and code. This is great and much appreciated :)

For the others, I have begun to offer donations. Not surprisingly, this is not a real source of funding ;) But now I have taken an offer from sourceforge.net, which I think is interesting. They begin to offer a marketplace for open source services. So those folks that actually need help can be brought in contact with those that have experience. Sounds like a good idea to me and a fair way to fund projects.

I have created two test service offerings for rsyslog. One is to write a nice custom-created rsyslog configuration file. Well, with rsyslog's relative ease of use, I do not expect that many folks use that. But you never know and I am always curios.

The other one is especially targeted towards organizations who must prove they have "official" support for all software they use (I guess this includes at least a number of government agencies). For them, I have created a email support option for rsyslog. It guarantees responses to support questions and this is often needed for auditing and other purposes. Of course, we still answer all support emails and do not plan to stop that.

I have added one real goody, though: and that is that we will provide patches for past releases of rsyslog. As you may know, developers hate to fumble with old releases. And so there is very little motivation to look at an older release when there is a new one out. With the paid support option, however, there is some motivation to do that. So, again, I think this is fair: we are just offering a service that would otherwise never appear. It doesn't hurt any of the other users.

I am very interested to see how this works out. I would also be interested in feedback from the field. How do you like this idea? Do you have any other/additional suggestions?

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