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Sun - don't you WANT to make money?

Posted by jacksjpt on April 8, 2005 at 6:22 AM PDT

I was looking for Sun Java support - paid support, not the freebie "stick your bug in the db, vote for it and if enough people vote we might do something about it" support. I was looking for something serious - "I pay you, you fix the damn problem or tell me a valid workaround that you support" type of support. And the sort of bugs my customer's get aren't "whoops we didn't define hashcode() when we overrode equals()" (they get those but fix them internally fairly rapidly). The kind of bugs my customers get are "why is the scavenge collector doing some kind of funky cyclic activity that is impacting my server when one patch version ago it was fine - and how do I fix it", or "why is my JVM crashing because of 'growableArray.cpp' and is there a workaround?" That means I need support from engineering who know about the JVM. And that usually means Sun.

So I did a web search for "sun java support". Of the first twenty results in the 47 million possible ones, there was nothing resembling developer support. But the sun site was in there so I went there and typed "Java support".

Of the 10 thousand results from that I didn't see anything in the top ten - but I figured at that point I wanted "developer" support. That reduced the result set to 6 thousand, and for one vaguely promising link, down near the bottom of the page, under a sub-sub-heading, was a link to http://developers.sun.com/prodtech/support/. Out of interest I decided to check back on google for "sun java developer support", but nothing relevant there.

Well, no matter, I've got a URL, let's look at it. A single support incident for $1600. Well that's not too bad, about the same as you'd pay for one day consulting. A couple of other more extensive plans which you need to negotiate a price for. Looks reasonable (though I don't know yet what the plans cost so who knows). Email, phone web or fax communication - looks good.

So you have support plans. WHY ISN'T IT IN MY FACE? Sun - don't you want to make money? Support is a major component of income for many product vendors - and an even bigger component of income for the open source market. If you don't push it, no one is even going to know about it! It should be on your Java home page, your documentation home page, the API page. A small link, no one will care about it if they aren't looking for it, anyone wanting support will see it quickly.

It's been obvious for years now that Sun just don't know how to make money out of Java. Well duh, everyone from Mr. CEO down, it is really simple. Find out what your customers want. Then make it easy for them to get it from you.

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