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   From: barmar@Think.COM (Barry Margolin)

   Software Support has sent me fixes as soon as they were developed on
   many occasions.  Often even when I don't ask for them (most of my bug
   reports are not about critical problems, and all I expect is for them to
   be added to the bug list and dealt with eventually, yet SW Support
   frequently develops patches for them right away and sends them to me).

If a vendor is sensitive to software support costs, they shouldn't waste
time, money, and resources putting together and sending fixes to
customers for non-critical problems especially when they weren't

I do agree, however, in paying for customer assistance.  I also do not
make much use of that aspect of most vendors' Software Support.  But,
IMVHO, I believe if *I* expose a bug in their software, the vendor
should at least offer to provide a fix to *me*.  Most problems I
discover are also non-critical.  I, too, expect only that they add it to
the bug list and handle it eventually.

Unfortunately it not always so clear what is a bug.  I would imagine
many reported bugs are the result of user error.  That, IMHO, is when
you've crossed the line between reporting a bug and requiring customer
assistance.  The customer should start paying at that point.

And yes, IMVHO, I think Sun and other software vendors should behave
likewise.  Charging me when I have a question that requires their
expertise, but encouraging problem reporting by providing the authors
with fixes, when appropriate, regardless of software support contracts.
TI has always been very responsive to my Explorer software problem
reports without software support.

Then again, I'm not the one trying to control software maintenance