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Linux Software

Paid Linux Support For Individual Users? 19

Frustrated and Disappointed asks: "I have been using Linux for a decade, but sometimes I just don't know how to solve a problem. What's more, I don't have the time (or interest) to teach myself enough about some obscure subject to debug it myself. Are there companies or freelancers out there willing to provide paid support for individuals on a problem-by-problem basis? I don't need yearly maintenance or weekly support, just a couple times a year. This time around, for example, I can't get a desktop box to play sound. The HOWTOs are years out of date, there are no man pages, the mailing lists are silent, and the #debian channels were nothing but insults. While I don't mind doing some of my own problem solving -- I'm a very technical person -- I have a job and other responsibilities, and I'm not interested in hacking sound drivers to begin with. I don't have the option of installing a whole new distro just to qualify for a vendor's support plan."
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Paid Linux Support For Individual Users?

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  • by Glonoinha ( 587375 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @06:47PM (#8910292) Journal
    Actually you hit the nail on the head - this highlights the one thing standing between Linux the obscure 'haxor leet' operating system, and Linux the mainstream operating system : peer level support, and a learning environment where you can have problems and get shown the answers without the insults from the debian IRC script kiddiez.

    I hear a lot of people asking what they can do to contribute to Linux / the open source movement. Hold cheap one on one or one on a few classes and bring people up to speed, make yourself available to answer these 'silly' questions and whatever you do don't be malicious or demeaning ... it only takes one CFO being told as a joke to type rm -rf or whatever to pretty much poison the well at any company he does business with - the first time you use anything it isn't intuitive, people are not going to figure it out without being shown first at least once. Go out, show them.
    • this highlights the one thing standing between Linux the obscure 'haxor leet' operating system, and Linux the mainstream operating system : peer level support,

      it only takes one CFO being told as a joke to type rm -rf or whatever to pretty much poison the well at any company he does business with

      So what do YOU define as peer level support?

      I define peer level support as opening up a mailing list of some sort, and asking a question, and having a few people ask you furthur questions and perhaps get the pr

      • Peer level support would be a small group of people similar to myself getting together in real life, all sitting around in the same area installing and basically dicking around on a few computers, sharing insight, experience, knowledge, and ideas. Perhaps I used the wrong term, but envision the small study groups that got together a few times a week in college doing exactly that for Calculus, Physics, Statistics, various parts of Engineering, different programming languages, etc.

        I used the term peer to in
    • Hmm, actually what you describe is peer support.

      Paid support could never act like that.

      Peers will never have rules of conduct on how they treat their "customers" and shouldn't.

      What stands in the way isn't the peer support going on, it's the lack of a really good quality paid support company.

      Example: RedHat's paid support pretty well sucks, and they're probably one of the "better" ones around. Granted I only had to deal with them on a single issue on the phone, one time -- but that was enough to make me
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Believe it or not, I presented a business proposal for a company specializing in such information gathering, just a few weeks ago. Ultimately, we rejected the idea because we couldn't find an acceptable price point.

    The real issue is that there are simply too many distributions (and to a lessor extent, too much variation in hardware). Err... let me be more clear. I could choose to support Debian, RedHat and SuSE. Those happen to be the ones with the most available documentation such that we couldn't reasona
  • debian help (Score:2, Informative)

    by abrotman ( 323016 )
    if you try again in #debian you may get different results .. it depends on the time of the day and if everyone had a good lunch :) ...


    http://www.debianplanet.org/ [debianplanet.org]
    • Re:debian help (Score:3, Informative)

      I find local LUG mailing lists are most helpful. Plus you get to meet the other subscribers to the list from time to time - and you'll discover it's a small world when you start to see names of people you've been acquainted with in other circles start showing up on the local LUG mailing list.
      Then there's the annual installfests that many LUGs run, and a good LUG will also run a workshop every few months where you can bring along your PC to get a tricky sound card or other peripheral configured properly.
  • Google Answers! (Score:4, Informative)

    by JusTyler ( 707210 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:02PM (#8911141) Homepage
    Google Answers [google.com] can be your friend. There are a number of Linux-head researchers over there, like myself. You also tend to get reliable help for way cheaper than you could anyplace else.
  • My company, Internet Solver [internetsolver.com] offers email, phone, and onsite Linux support.
  • LUGs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zaffle ( 13798 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:32PM (#8911479) Homepage Journal
    I've found the best place for Linux support is either google, or failing that, Linux User Groups (LUGs). There are local LUGs everywhere. The LUG mailing lists can be very helpful, especially if you explain your problem properly. I know LUG guys who'll fix your PC problem (if they think they can) if you bring it over to them, for free.

    I've had potential clients ring me up and ask if I do personal linux support (as opposed to supporting a company). I say, yes I do, but I charge so much it would be far cheaper just to ask on the LUGs. I pointed out that I read the LUGs, and may well end up helping you, but I do the LUG thing for free.

  • ... to see his IRC log of #debian.
  • Email, Not IRC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @09:29PM (#8912020) Homepage
    > ...the #debian channels were nothing but insults.

    Try the debian-user mailing list. Go to www.debian.org to subscribe. While you are there take a look at the consultants list. Some of us are quite willing to do the sort of work you want.
    • Thats the smartest thing you could do, other than changing your Distro. It's well documented that many Debian users tend to insult people (The former Debian users excluded =) that are new, or have questions, which is quite a shame.
  • TOTALLY agree! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by no_such_user ( 196771 ) <jd-slashdot-2007 ... mal l d a y .com> on Tuesday April 20, 2004 @01:38PM (#8919062)
    Wow -- insults on IRC couldn't be more accurate. Couple weeks ago, I went onto #fedora (?) to get some help installing FC2T2 onto my laptop. With a USB CD-ROM drive, no FDD, and not enough time to download the full ISOs, I needed help. In a nutshell, I wanted to boot off USB CD-ROM, then install via FTP. This is harder than it sounds - something about the kernel of the minimal boot cd not having USB drivers, or similar. Instead of getting helpful advice, the only one answering anyone, some l33t d00d spouting off insults, would only say 'can't be done!', 'why won't you f#@*%() listen to me - it can't be done!', and the classic 'you shouldn't be looking at linux if you already have questions like this!', etc. Of the two other people hanging around looking for help, one went as far as to say 'if this is what linux community support is all about, screw this!' In the end, I found my own solultion, with ZERO help from this joker.

    So, what's the solution? The only thing I can think of right now is to create a semi-official IRC channel/forum, where volunteers are peer-reviewed and ranked.

    (BTW - If anyone cares, the install went like this: Created a boot CD with DOS USB CD-ROM drivers to boot Partition Magic 8, to resize my Win2k partition and create ext2 and swap partitions. Back in Windows, I installed VMWare (free trial) and gave it direct access to the partitions I created for linux. Downloaded the minimal ISO (few MB) and "booted" from it, emulated in VMWare. Did a minimal install. Did the trick to let you use the NT bootloader to dual-boot. Rebooted into linux, installed the extra packages I needed.)

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern