How do you support your Omeka installations?

This question is for those of you who install and customize Omeka for other organizations such as libraries, museums, and historical societies. Once you have them up and running, how do you support them? Do you offer ongoing support as part of the job, or is anyone using a third party to provide support? I ask, because these organizations are asking me. They like the idea of an Omeka solution and that it’s open-source, and at the same time are concerned because it is open-source.

We here at Omeka offer a range of support contract options:

This is good to know. I have contacted the Omeka Net Team to request more information. I would be interested to hear from anyone who is getting support from Omeka or another organization or individual.

Absolutely. Those Omeka/ support plan inquiries come to me and I’ll be in touch with more information tomorrow, when I have access to all of my materials.

The quality of the service and the fact that the source code is open are two different things. Some proprietary apps are never fixed. Some open source ones too.

Did your customers read contracts for proprietary services or softwares? They will find exactly the same lack of support; open source and proprietary service providers absolve themselves of all responsibilities. In fact, despite their reputation, open source softwares offer the same type of guaranty than proprietary softwares.

They are the same, the only difference is that the proprietary software have something less: the code is not open. It implies that there is only one support provider, so less guaranties in fact, because there is no choice to go to another service provider.

With an open source product, your customers have the choice to choose the same provider ( offer good services), or a provider for the installation, and another one for the maintenance, something they can’t with a proprietary software. Even with the same provider, there is generally two contracts. And any good saleswoman will try to sell both…

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Daniel makes a good point that there are two kinds of support which I think of as Hosting vs Software. Examples:

Hosting: The end user is getting errors or can no longer add new items to Omeka. The problem is occurring because they have exceeded their disk space limit. The hosting support provider needs to contact the web host to increase the limit.

Software: An Omeka plugin stops working correctly because the end-user upgraded their browser and the new version introduces a JavaScript incompatibility that prevents the plugin from behaving properly. The software support provider needs to identify the issue and either update the plugin or find a workaround.

Most end users would not be able to distinguish one problem from another. They just want to pick up the phone and get help from a single support provider. As a developer, I’m happy to solve the software problems, but I don’t want people calling me when they run low on disk space or because their internet connection is not working, etc.

Is anyone else facing this two-pronged support dilemma?