GNAT Support Costs 
Author Message
 GNAT Support Costs

Quote:

> The last I checked, being able to ask questions of Microsoft
> engineers, and get real answers, wasn't even on the price list! MS
> sells "developer subscriptions" or something like that, for about
> $2k/year, but that does _not_ include real question/answer support
> (please tell me I'm wrong?).

I think you can ask a few free questions, after that you have to pay
additonal fees.  Really interesting questions remain unanswered anyway,
as I was told.


Tue, 16 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs

Quote:

> [...] For the project I am on at the moment all that support is just
> not required.  I would like just to buy a compiler, if I find bugs I
> would like to be able to report them. If a fix exists I would like
> to take that fix. I also don't need a support infrastructure to
> support 10 different people. [...]

Hi Rob, I must admit I still fail to see why the public version of
GNAT doesn't meet your needs here. You pay $0 (or $x if you get it
from a cheap byte CD), you have an email to report bugs too, you'll
get fixes with the next public version (that you can buy too), and if
you're on Linux you have a dedicated team that is able to produce
Linux related fixes (also with an email). If you're stuck with a
problem, it's probable some experimented GNAT user (or customer) will
propose a workaround on mailing lists/newgroups.

If it's the $0 tag or having to pay to some company that doesn't
improves GNAT directly that is a m{*filter*}problem, you can always
write a check to the FSF or to ACT (I don't know if they have a
special fund for this).

--LG



Wed, 17 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs
I didn't realise you could "buy" the public version - what does that
actually mean?

Yes I've just discovered the Linux team and that has alievated some of my
worries. I have to admit when a couple of years ago I found a bug in
Sequential_Io (or Direct_Io) for Gnat and I sent back ACT a fix. I was
impressed with the response I had from them even when I was using the public
version.
I guess its just the warm feeling that you have knowing that a product is
supported, but partly from my experience and what you say maybe the 'risk'
of not having a product that is officially supported will not be too bad.
I'm afraid I still believe that ACT have priced themselves out of a certain
slice of the market, but I'm no business man and its not my company.

Rob


Quote:

> > [...] For the project I am on at the moment all that support is just
> > not required.  I would like just to buy a compiler, if I find bugs I
> > would like to be able to report them. If a fix exists I would like
> > to take that fix. I also don't need a support infrastructure to
> > support 10 different people. [...]

> Hi Rob, I must admit I still fail to see why the public version of
> GNAT doesn't meet your needs here. You pay $0 (or $x if you get it
> from a cheap byte CD), you have an email to report bugs too, you'll
> get fixes with the next public version (that you can buy too), and if
> you're on Linux you have a dedicated team that is able to produce
> Linux related fixes (also with an email). If you're stuck with a
> problem, it's probable some experimented GNAT user (or customer) will
> propose a workaround on mailing lists/newgroups.

> If it's the $0 tag or having to pay to some company that doesn't
> improves GNAT directly that is a m{*filter*}problem, you can always
> write a check to the FSF or to ACT (I don't know if they have a
> special fund for this).

> --LG



Thu, 18 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs

Quote:

> I didn't realise you could "buy" the public version - what does that
> actually mean?

Well, when you purchase a CD that has a GNAT compiler on it, you "buy"
the public version. If you choose well, you can make sure some money
is donated to the FSF (some company do that).

Quote:
> I guess its just the warm feeling that you have knowing that a product is
> supported, but partly from my experience and what you say maybe the 'risk'
> of not having a product that is officially supported will not be too bad.

GNAT is both commercialy supported (for as long as ACT has customers
and is willing to release public versions) and community supported
(ALT, for as long as people are interested in it). It's just that if
you don't have an ACT support contract your "use of the software" is
not supported, but for some "in general" meaning the software is
supported ;-).

Quote:
> I'm afraid I still believe that ACT have priced themselves out of a certain
> slice of the market, but I'm no business man and its not my company.

Certainly a reasonable opinion.

--LG



Fri, 19 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs
In article


Quote:

> > [...] For the project I am on at the moment all that support
is just
> > not required.  I would like just to buy a compiler, if I
find bugs I
> > would like to be able to report them. If a fix exists I
would like
> > to take that fix. I also don't need a support infrastructure
to
> > support 10 different people. [...]

> Hi Rob, I must admit I still fail to see why the public
version of
> GNAT doesn't meet your needs here. You pay $0 (or $x if you
get it
> from a cheap byte CD), you have an email to report bugs too,
you'll
> get fixes with the next public version (that you can buy too),
and if
> you're on Linux you have a dedicated team that is able to
produce
> Linux related fixes (also with an email). If you're stuck with
a
> problem, it's probable some experimented GNAT user (or
customer) will
> propose a workaround on mailing lists/newgroups.

> If it's the $0 tag or having to pay to some company that
doesn't
> improves GNAT directly that is a m{*filter*}problem, you can always
> write a check to the FSF or to ACT (I don't know if they have
a
> special fund for this).

Please do NOT send contributions to ACT, we are not in the
contribution business. Send contributions to FSF instead,
which is indeed a non-profit organization partly supported
by donations.

If you are comfortable using unsupported software with no
support or guarantees from anyone, then indeed the public
version of GNAT may be just what you need. I would caution
that you can't necessarily rely on comp.lang.ada or the
chat list for help. Many questions go unanswered, and many
of the answers from volunteers are wrong or misleading, which
is not at all surprising, some of the issues are quite complex
(a good example of this is the thread on elaboration that
is current, the response is straigntforward here, especially
if you have read the GNAT documentation, but neither response
is really the helpful one so far :-) Furthermore, especially
with Ada 95, it is often hard for people to be sure whether
something is a bug report, or just a misunderstanding of the
language or the system. The majority of bug reports turn out
to be the latter!

ACT deals with clients who need fully supported software, often
they need formal validation (the public version of course is not
and cannot be validated unless you do it yourself), and they
find the high level of support that we can provide valuable (as
we see from the very high rate of support renewal from our
customer base). Part of the value of this support is precisely
that you can ask questions without worrying about whether they
are Ada questions, GNAT questions, or real bugs.

Yes, we quite understand that some folks would like a GNAT based
product with a lower level of support. That's quite a reasonable
idea, it is just not the business that ACT happens to be in.
Nothing is stopping anyone else from providing this service
(whether you can make a viable business doing it is another
concern, but that's a separate issue). Labtek did in fact try
to make a go of it in the NT area doing precisely this, and we
were happy to cooperate with that effort, but they abandoned
it precisely because it was not a viable business.

Robert Dewar
Ada Core Technologies

Sent via Deja.com http://www.*-*-*.com/
Before you buy.



Wed, 24 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs
In article


Quote:

> > I'm afraid I still believe that ACT have priced themselves
> > out of a certain slice of the market, but I'm no business
> > man and its not my company.

> Certainly a reasonable opinion.

It is not at all ACT's intention to cover 100% of the needs
of the Ada market. We specialize in a particular segment of
the market, namely large scale users who want to use GNAT,
and need high level support. We concentrate on being good
at that, and the company is being successful in this
specialization. So it is not that we have priced ourselves
out of a certain slice of the market, it is simply that our
business plan never included servicing that slice of the
market. We have left the business of selling low cost Ada
products to other companies, e.g. Aonix, who sells an
inexpensive version of Ada 95 for Windows.

It is a healthy and natural consequence of a lively market
that not all companies try to cover all possible product
needs. There is room for both Rolls Royce and Volkswagen
in the marketplace, people do not complain that Rolls Royce
has priced themselves out of the economy market.

High level support from top level technical engineers (as I
think most of you know, we have no separate support staff at
ACT, all our senior engineers have support as their primary
priority), is an expensive proposition. Not everyone needs it.
For those who *do* need it, many find the ACT support programs
for GNAT to be a bargain. It does not take much time saving
for a project team to easily pay for a support contract!

Robert Dewar
Ada Core Technologies

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.



Wed, 24 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs

On Sat, 05 Feb 2000 21:13:09 GMT, Robert Dewar

Quote:

>It is a healthy and natural consequence of a lively market
>that not all companies try to cover all possible product
>needs. There is room for both Rolls Royce and Volkswagen
>in the marketplace, people do not complain that Rolls Royce
>has priced themselves out of the economy market.

Did you know that Rolls Royce is owned by... Volkswagen ?

Cordially,



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs
You might want to contact Aonix about ObjectAda.  They offer a subscription
service with 1 (sometimes 2) updates per year for a very reasonable price,
certainly less than ACT support for GNAT.

Rush Kester
Software Systems Engineer
AdaSoft at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

phone: (240) 228-3030 (live M-F 9:30am-4:30pm, voicemail anytime)
fax:      (240) 228-6779
http://hometown.aol.com/rwkester/myhomepage/index.html

Quote:




> > > Thanks for the replies. I think I will stick with using GNAT because it
> does
> > > seem to be a very good product. Of course I've been using it regularly
> for
> > > the last few months and on/off for a couple of years before that and it
> > > seems to do everything I need.

> > > I just feel its a shame that ACT don't want to deal with that side of
> the
> > > business. Not exactly encouraging people to use Ada rather than C++ or
> > > whatever. The end customer may still opt for the support. If not then I
> > > suspect it will be used as a last resort!

> > This implies that you can get the level of support you are interested
> > in for a C++ compiler for less than what ACT charges for Ada. Can you be
> > specific about what you can get?

> > The last I checked, being able to ask questions of Microsoft
> > engineers, and get real answers, wasn't even on the price list! MS
> > sells "developer subscriptions" or something like that, for about
> > $2k/year, but that does _not_ include real question/answer support
> > (please tell me I'm wrong?).

> > Does Borland offer something better?

> > -- Stephe

> I feel as if some people are missing the point.I agree some people would
> like/need all that support. ACT offer services such as helping with
> performance, porting from Ada 83 etc. I also don't need help with Ada - I've
> been using it for years.
> For the project I am on at the moment all that support is just not required.
> I would like just to buy a compiler, if I find bugs I would like to be able
> to report them. If a fix exists I would like to take that fix. I also don't
> need a support infrastructure to support 10 different people.
> I agree about Microsoft, oh you've found a bug, if you just buy the next
> version its fixed (several other things broken of course). I'm not
> suggesting it should be the price of an C++ compiler, just that the support
> costs have some sort of sliding scale depending on the number of users and
> the support required. As I'm from the UK I know that British Aerospace use
> the product, thats great and I sure they find the support and costs fine.
> Indeed the support that is offered looks very impressive.

> Of course its still possible the end customer will sting for the cost as
> they are interested in the long term future of all the rest of the legacy
> code and what they might do in a few years when they want to upgrade the
> hardware, but thats not the issue here.

> Rob



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs

Quote:

> It is not at all ACT's intention to cover 100% of the
> needs of the Ada market. We specialize in a particular
> segment of the market, namely large scale users who want
> to use GNAT, and need high level support.

Only innumerous small teams and projects create a mass market which is
what lacks Ada. Not concentrating on the market for small projects and
companies ist the right way to kill Ada.

AW
--
----------------------------------------------------------
Andreas Winckler
http://www.talknet.de/~andreas.winckler/
ICQ# : 28867366

"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow"



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs


Quote:

> On Sat, 05 Feb 2000 21:13:09 GMT, Robert Dewar

> >It is a healthy and natural consequence of a lively market
> >that not all companies try to cover all possible product
> >needs. There is room for both Rolls Royce and Volkswagen
> >in the marketplace, people do not complain that Rolls Royce
> >has priced themselves out of the economy market.

> Did you know that Rolls Royce is owned by... Volkswagen ?

Yes, of course, that was a little joke .. the point is still
there of course Volkswagen will not change the name of RR's
to VW's.

:-)

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs

Quote:


> > It is not at all ACT's intention to cover 100% of the
> > needs of the Ada market. We specialize in a particular
> > segment of the market, namely large scale users who want
> > to use GNAT, and need high level support.

> Only innumerous small teams and projects create a mass market which is
> what lacks Ada. Not concentrating on the market for small projects and
> companies ist the right way to kill Ada.

No language ever dies. There are even people today who use SNOBOL.

GNAT provides a zero cost hobbyist solution. What is missing for small
projects that you can't get from another company or the open source world?  

-- Brian



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs


Quote:
> Only innumerous small teams and projects create a mass market
> which is what lacks Ada. Not concentrating on the market for
> small projects and companies ist the right way to kill Ada.

Well of course several companies in the past and in the present
try to meet this need -- in particular Aonix has an inexpensive
version of Ada 95 available for NT that will meet some of these
needs, and indeed the public version of GNAT meets some of these
needs at even lower cost :-)

Ada Core does not concentrate on this market for two reasons:

1. We don't think there is a market there, despite your
unsubstantiated claims above. Previous attempts to concentrate
on this market have proved an excellent way of losing a lot
of money! Note that Borland lost money trying to pursue this
market for C -- they could not duplicate their previous success
with Pascal -- and that is despite selling hundreds of thousands
of copies of their C compiler.

2. We prefer to concentrate on what we are good at, which is
providing high level support. There are many real success
stories for Ada, and many of them tend to be large scale
projects for which our style of high level support is ideal.

Robert Dewar
Ada Core Technologies

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs


Quote:
> Only innumerous small teams and projects create a mass market
> which is what lacks Ada. Not concentrating on the market for
> small projects and companies ist the right way to kill Ada.

Well of course several companies in the past and in the present
try to meet this need -- in particular Aonix has an inexpensive
version of Ada 95 available for NT that will meet some of these
needs, and indeed the public version of GNAT meets some of these
needs at even lower cost :-)

Ada Core does not concentrate on this market for two reasons:

1. We don't think there is a market there, despite your
unsubstantiated claims above. Previous attempts to concentrate
on this market have proved an excellent way of losing a lot
of money! Note that Borland lost money trying to pursue this
market for C -- they could not duplicate their previous success
with Pascal -- and that is despite selling hundreds of thousands
of copies of their C compiler.

2. We prefer to concentrate on what we are good at, which is
providing high level support. There are many real success
stories for Ada, and many of them tend to be large scale
projects for which our style of high level support is ideal.

Robert Dewar
Ada Core Technologies

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs

Quote:


>> It is not at all ACT's intention to cover 100% of the
>> needs of the Ada market. We specialize in a particular
>> segment of the market, namely large scale users who want
>> to use GNAT, and need high level support.

> Only innumerous small teams and projects create a mass market which is
> what lacks Ada. Not concentrating on the market for small projects and
> companies ist the right way to kill Ada.

Not concentrating is the right way to kill a company.

ACT has chosen a business model that happens to be quite amenable
for someone else to concentrate on the segments where ACT has not
concentrated.  It may be annoying to have the first entrant in the
GNAT support business not have chosen _my_ segment as their target
market, but it is better than have them include it and then lose
focus.



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 GNAT Support Costs

Quote:

> No language ever dies. There are even people today who use SNOBOL.

Yes, old systems still need maintanence and Ada-Systems will need that
quite long for sure. But all the young college students will jump on
Java, C++ or whatsoever because this is where the new challenges are.

Quote:
> GNAT provides a zero cost hobbyist solution.

Which is of course a great thing!

Quote:
> What is missing for small projects that you can't get from another
> company or the open source world?

Is GNAT without support a alternative for small (commercial!) projects?

The number of companies who offer low cost Ada compilers (validated and
supported!) for the Unix world is quite limited, actually there aren't
any. The cheapest Ada compiler for Unix that I know is still at least 10
times more expensive than a good C/C++ compiler. Why?

AW
--
---------------------------------------------------------
Andreas Winckler
http://www.talknet.de/~andreas.winckler/
ICQ# : 28867366

"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow"



Mon, 29 Jul 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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