"Isn't it nice when things just work?" - as the recent Honda add so aptly ponders.
I would have to agree. As an end user of a plethora of open source packages, from the oft-unsung
Bash shell to the behemoth that is OpenOffice, I'm well placed to vouch for the quality of stuff
available right now.
But what happens when something doesn't quite work right? What happens if you do find a genuine
software bug? Who do you tell? When can you expect a response?
Having reported (in methodical detail) several software issues to the manufacturers of
closed-source packages, ranging from router firmware to video editing software, I have never
received much more than an automated acknowledgement. There will of course be proprietary
software-houses that break from this apparent trend - it's just that I have yet to find one!
I am compelled to share my experience in reporting a bug in an apparently seldom used corner of the
open-source FreeRADIUS server. On Monday of this week, I emailed a report, along with relevant
debugging output and configuration files, to the freeradius-users mailing list. Within an hour, I
had received a personal acknowledgement from the project's founder and lead developer Alan DeKok,
informing me that the issue would be addressed as soon as time permitted.
Notification of the fix, along with download link for revised software, arrived before noon on
Friday. When was the last time you received that kind of service from a proprietary software project?
Many thanks to Alan and the FreeRADIUS team. Here is one very impressed customer.
19th Feb 2011