How to give and receive help
Open-source software is software that is made freely available to the public to use, modify and distribute. While this may seem like a great option for businesses and organisations, it can sometimes be challenging to manage and support these software applications without dedicated resources. That’s where open-source software with paid support comes in. At Canonical, we want to be the best open-source company in the world, without exception. This means offering the very best code we can, largely without licensing fees, and balancing our free- and paid-support options in the fairest way possible.
We offer paid support for those situations where it’s warranted, that is, where it would take a significant amount of time for a Canonical employee to help you with your project, where your needs are very specific to your environment (requiring specialised field engineering), or where your needs are off the MAAS road-map and require special development work. For other, less specialised situations, we offer many ways to get – and give – free help, usually on a best-effort basis:
You can use our Discourse forum: Interact with other users, Canonical support personnel, and the MAAS development team; you can bring us problems, solve problems, or even just catch up on things you didn’t know.
You can request new features: We do listen to well-spoken feature requests that affect more than two or three users; we have delivered on these requests in the past, and we even invite your input when we’re considering a major component migration or breaking change down the road.
You can review and report bugs: Sometimes a bug request is the only way to handle the problem; when you follow our guide, you can be sure that we won’t have to ask too many clarifications to decide how to handle your submission.
You can contribute documentation: We originate a lot of documentation, but doc is much better when everybody works on it. We have a documentation workflow that guarantees that our Technical Authors will see your changes before they start to edit a document. Please feel free to participate.
You can contribute code: To do that, start here to familiarise yourself with our code-base; find a feature that you feel would help not only you, but other users as well; and announce your desire to help to our development team and community. We can always used skilled help, and it may help you get the features you want sooner, with a better match to your needs.
We firmly believe that well-supported open-source software, with additional paid support options for specific needs, provides the best of both worlds. You get the benefits of using an open-source software application without the recurring cost of yearly licensing fees or the hassle of managing it yourself. With paid support, you can get access to expert advice and technical support when you need it, which is especially valuable for organisations that don’t have the internal resources to manage complex situations themselves. But you can also choose to use the software without support and contribute to the MAAS community, and nobody will think less of you for it.
Overall, open-source software is a valuable option for businesses and organisations that want to take advantage of open-source software without the burden of managing it themselves. With expert support, regular updates, security patches, and broad community involvement, you can have peace of mind knowing that MAAS is being managed by a large community of open-source professionals – some of whom happen to work for Canonical.