Customer Service Policy Suggestion

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RolandB RolandB
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Customer Service Policy Suggestion

Dear developers and decision-makers at ESI,

I know that "Customer Service" sounds a bit off, as Scilab is a free and
open source software and the vast majority of the Scilab users aren't paying
customers to begin with. But from what I understand, you have at least some
commercial interest in Scilab users as you offer training, development and
support/maintenance services commercially.

Now even if only a small percentage of all the Scilab users request your
services, I figure that it should be in your interest to have as broad a
user base as possible, because a small percentage of a huge user base will
always be more customers than a small percentage of a mediocre user base.

I know that everything is not free and everything I could wish for cannot be
implemented in the official Scilab releases, because that would cost
unlimited developer resources and would also deprive you of any chance to
earn some money with customized developments and support.
But at least what is officially released should be substantially bug free.
Otherwise you will exasperate current and potentially future users and
eventually you might lose them to other scientific computing solutions.
IMO in order to make the official releases less bugged and more attractive,
you should care more about the users' issues and include them into
decision-making. Not to say that you have to do as they wish, but you should
at least hear them out.
If you put off the users of the free Scilab releases, who may be professors
and students to a significant extent, then in a few years those
turned-into-engineers students might not be your paying customers but just
Mathwork's ones...

You might have the best expertise when it comes to coding and testing Scilab
and therefore might think that you can dispense with what the users could
contribute. But you just don't have the breadth of applications and
implemented solutions all the users have combined.
Just look at the few weeks following every major release where bug report
numbers are skyrocketing.
Why not just announce something like a beta test version a month or so
before the planned release date of the official release? The majority of bug
reports could then be dealt with and the official release would be much less
off-putting to your potential future customers.

Regards,
Roland Saur-Brosch
P.S.:
And please, pretty please, take care of the registration issue (bugs 15700,
16119 and 16130). Many people have special characters in their email
address. At least announce somewhere that email addresses with special
characters do not work, despite the registration seems to be accepted in the
first place.
Also, please consider implementing SRS with the mailing list server. Some
email providers have SPF active and without SRS the users that are using
those email providers are effectively precluded from posting anything on the
mailing list.
Please make and keep contributions to Scilab attractive and easy (and
possible in the first place).



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