April 14th, 2010

Open Source Help Desk

Tom Boutell
Chief Software Architect
TOM: "Open source help desk, this is Tom speaking. How may we help each other?"

CALLER: "I chose your open source project for my client project and it's due tomorrow and it doesn't work! This is your problem and you must fix it immediately or I will explode!"

TOM: [CLICK]
TOM: "Open source help desk, this is Tom speaking. How may we help each other?"

CALLER: "Your code has several bugs, which I am going to describe in harsh and unsympathetic but highly accurate detail."

TOM: [Hangs up on caller, then fixes those bugs]
TOM: "Open source help desk, this is Tom speaking. How may we help each other?"

CALLER: "I translated your program into Swahili! Here's the XLIFF file. Also I found a bug. Here's a patch file."

TOM: "Yay! Welcome to the cool people's club! We're having chocolate ice cream. Would you like some?"
TOM: "Open source help desk, this is Tom speaking. How may we help each other?"

CALLER: "500 ERROR! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

TOM: "Lower your voice, read your log files, try the dev controller and call back."

CALLER: [reads own log files, discovers glaringly obvious permissions problem, solves it, is never heard from again]
TOM: "Open source help desk, this is Tom speaking. How may we help each other?"

CALLER: "something isn't quite right. When I do X, Y and Z, I get the following error message [copies and pastes complete error message]."

TOM: "reproducible bug reports make me deeply happy. I've just committed a fix in svn. Would you like some ice cream?"
Tom Boutell
Chief Software Architect

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