Problem is, that ACS is a toolkit, not an out-of-the box intranet
server. It still requires customization after installation.
Thus, I dunno if they would really be interested.
I could never understand why anyone would pay $15K for what is perhaps
40 hours X $75/hr = $3K of work at most.
I think the initial spark of idea is to give back to the free software community by buying from the company that pays for many free software developer's month to month bills. And that's not a bad idea. Few companies took the initial plunge to support these guys--except VA--and they deserve at least a taste of fruit of their wisdom. All we need to do is recommend VA when otherwise we would recommend Dell, this is especially important if VA produces goods as well as Dell.
Time to do some quality FUD... *FUD warning FUD warning*
Perhaps things are changing though, Dell and many other big biz have dedicated linux crews. They are willing to change to get your dollar. But here's a more selfish reasoning: stereotypically speaking there are many hardware companies who openly ignore the free software movement like some would the new-age-pop-management-book-of-the-month. I think they will and have trouble recruiting loyal and quality Linux and free software technicians to support you should you call them for technical support (at least in the near future). Dell and Compaq will unfortunately be among them. It would be wise to deal with a company that has an excellent rapport with the majority of the brain share, people who can recruite the right people when times are tough or overwelmingly prosperous. Think like the stereotypical linux techy for a second: If you are a Linux tech support who's appointed to deal with Ben and Don and friends: would you rather surround yourself in the office with Bill's army of MCSEs or Linus's crew of kernel hackers? As a hardware buyer, our biggest fear is having to call up a dedicated line and end up BEING the technical support.
It's not all about the tech support, it's about being able to just
place an order and know that you'll get your gear on time and in
the right configuration.
we bought from penguin because they offered the same box for a good 1k less. since then, i've seen bsdi.com offers even better prices (hardware.bsdi.com). i've always thought that openacs is cool because it's the most affordable (free) solution to the most difficult problems. going with the most expensive linux provider may be the best evangelical decision, but in my opinion not the most consistent.
then again, if it's evangelism that we seek to accomplish, why not sell boxes from openacs.org? that seems to be the best solution.
even though aD thinks that they're rocket start server is a good deal, i can come up with an even better one. a stripped down 1U box plus a prepaid year at a place like panix.com in nyc (outstanding ISP and colo joint) also, i'm sure the development team would appreciate the extra cash flow.
i've jsut started with a couple of other guys an openacs dev company in new york city. i think we would volunteer (tentatively) to broker a lot of these deals.
would it be hard/masochistic to make this happen?
va linux won't be pushing the latest postgres/OpenACS systems. you'll be getting versions that are probably way behind the latest releases. so my problem is that i envision people getting OpenACS 3.2.x and potgresql 6.5.x.
that's kinda pessimistic, but i have a feeling that VA won't be focusing on providing the latest software for those that are customizing their systems.
also, there was no response to my suggestion of selling boxes from the openacs site. the customer would be getting a brand spankin' new box with the latest releases and the latest docs for setting it up. and there would be truer customization, if what they're looking for is an acs box.
anyway, who cares about qualifications anymore? i mean, george w. might be president after tomorrow. i bet he would sell boxes from openacs.org.
i would like to hear what OlympusACS has to say. anybody up there got an opinion?
The question is about whether there would be a market for relatively low-cost systems, preinstalled with Postgres and OpenACS, right? Possibly to be sold by openacs.org.
I'm sure there would be a market for such a thing, if the price was right. But there are a few things we've learned that may help add some perspective to this (these apply to systems purchasing in general and aren't intended to cast aspersions on Talli's systems!):
When we were ready to upgrade our hardware, we ended up leasing from Dell. Their prices are good, though not fantastic. Their service and support has only been adequate, though, and their accessory prices are astronomical (you want *how much* for a second processor??? :). In retrospect I think we might have done better to go with a Linux provider, but Dell is improving and the systems themselves are outstanding.
On the other hand, we recently helped with an emergency Oracle install which was hampered by a very poorly configured VA Linux system. I won't go into the gory details since I didn't see it first hand, but suffice to say that it was delivered with major packages missing, and when he convinced them to fix it, it ended up in a worse state than before. This shows that paying top dollar can be as foolish as going cheap, I suppose.
I need to add a caveat, however, that all of this only applies to businesses which are small but somewhat established, as furfly is these days. For the individual developer, all of the "big guys" are out of reach. That's a potentially lucrative market for OpenACS boxes, but then you have to think about support - the person who buys one of these will do it because s/he doesn't know how to install all this stuff and doesn't want to have to know; they want to get right to coding. That's fine until a new version of something comes out... then the calls for help will start. And what if there's a hardware failure? It's my understanding that arsDigita includes hardware and software support by TechSquare.com with the RocketStart boxes, as well as colocation. Something like this would be required, I think.
So where does all this rambling leave us? The short version of my opinion is that yes, there would be a market for these systems. But there are issues of software and hardware support that would have to be addressed. Even if you tell people you provide no support or warranty at all they will still expect it in some situations, and it could become divisive within the community.
Personally I prefer Michael's original idea of trying to get the companies who are shipping Linux systems to include OpenACS; the PR benefits are much greater. :)