The "entitled to support" question everyone is missing

There are 2 recurring topics on popular podcasts that usually spark a lot of debate:

  • You can’t ask developers for support, you are not entitled, you get what you paid for!
  • Why doesn’t company X/Y/Z support their product or service on Linux?

And it baffles me nobody ever connects the 2 when discussing these.

As an example, I was furious when Canonical introduced the Firefox snap in Ubuntu. Not because it’s a snap, no real person cares about that really ;-), but because it was a regression. It was not ready and broke real life use cases because of it.

You see, we actually do support Linux, and quite well if I may say so. We enable Ubuntu users (and other distributions as well) to make Ubuntu their daily driver operating system, without having to worry about being able to access our (non-profit btw) services and applications. We do this at our expense, with zero investment from any distribution, to enable our users and give them choice.

The confinement of the Firefox snap and lack of required interfaces or portals or what it is called broke functionality that we need, and I couldn’t (and still can’t) understand that any sensible distribution would do this to their users, just because they insist on changing a software packaging format, some implementation detail nobody actually cares about in the real world. I even sent a harshly worded mail about it to the DLN show hosts so man, so this must have really triggered me right :wink: ?

BTW we had logged bugs warning for this 2 years prior, when Chromium went the snap route in Ubuntu. We did what we were supposed to do, engage and notify about issues and all that.

Let’s not make this about Ubuntu and snaps. I have other examples. It is just the last one.

The question here is: if I am one of those organizations or companies that decides to support Linux, perhaps growing your user base in the process, taking support calls from users that often just need support to get stuff done on your distribution to begin with, what am I entitled to from you as a developer or organization when your actions have impact on my business case? Because if the answer is “nothing”, don’t expect unmanageable growth any time soon.

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There’s a diffrence between pushing and marketing something to people and just letting them have it free. It is sadly a common thing online to dissmiss different opinions just as rants of angry triggered people who have nothing better to do. Either that or it is wrong thing to care even in the first place. Honest and respectful conversation is the best thing that there should be.

It’s one of the most interesting dichotomies.

It’s a net positive to set standards high because everyone is relying on the exceptionalism of every individual to foundationalize continued progress that everyone reaps the benefit from (whether directly or indirectly).

Enforcing that requires complaining about things you get for free or that are none of your business.

It’s a net negative to set standards too high, it undermines the incentives to become an exceptional individual and cracks the foundation of continued progress so everyone loses something (whether directly or indirectly).

Avoiding that requires situational mindfulness, accepting that you probably don’t have all the details and those expectations should be set with some care.

Very easy for me to say all that though I find it near impossible to execute on it well.

With the major business backed distros, you can call for support…if you pay for it. That is how Red Hat, canonical, and Suse make money, That is their entire business models. They give you the software for free, but you have to pay for the support part.

Well, actually we support them in this case.