Why free software is worth what you pay for it…

We have recently swapped from running our virtual machines in VMWare  to Sun’s Virtual Box. The performance of virtual box is equal if not better than VMWare, and we will save quite a bit of money on licenses, as all our users would require the workstation version of VMWare. All was well with this plan until we needed to shrink some of the machines after restoring large DB backups onto them. The command to do this is given as “VBoxManage modifyhd MyMachine.vdi compact” unfortunatly the output from this is currently:-  “Error: Shrink hard disk operation is not available!”  You can see the help ticket for this at http://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/2833 and it makes pretty horrific reading if you are a fan of open source and expect decent customer support. 

This brings me onto the rant section of this blog. If this was paid for software I could influence the decision – I could take my cash elsewhere, I could ask to have it fixed as part of my support contract, or several other routes to resolution. As this is “Free” software I am reduced to arguing with someone in a defect log item as to whether my issue (and several other peoples as well judging by the defect log) is going to get fixed.

And with comments like “You are in no position to tell us what to do or not. No amount of complaints from your side will change the priority of this issue.” it’s nice to know we are valued customers…

At the end of it all however we are still going to use VirtualBox, and I am just going to have to hope that Sun will ask their support staff to be a little friendlier.

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One Response to “Why free software is worth what you pay for it…”

  1. sven Says:
    September 13th, 2009 at 23:25

    Cool software tips, looking for input on designing a new free SEO software suite.

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