Saxonica prides itself in offering excellent technical support both to users of the open source products, and to commercial clients. There is no conflict between the two communities, because expert users in the open source community are often able to offer advice to commercial users, so it's in Saxonica's interest to work closely with both groups.
Saxonica is a small company, which has advantages and disadvantages:
- When you raise a query, it will go straight to a developer who knows the product internals well. We don't have layers of support staff that you have to get past before you talk to someone who knows the answer.
- On the down side, we're not on the phone 24 hours a day. We operate primarily by email and internet forums where you can usually expect a response within a day or so. Also, if you're using Saxon alongside third-party software or on esoteric hardware platforms, we may have difficulty reproducing your problem.
If you're an open source user, you have no entitlement to support, but we try to help anyway, because that's how the reputation of the product grows.
If you're a paid-up user, your entitlement to support is defined in the Licensing conditions of use (or sometimes in a custom contract).
Some users like to formalize their support expectations using a Service Level Agreement. We do have policies that define our aspirations in terms of service level commitments, but in reality, we've found it very difficult to express these unambiguously. For example, the time taken to fix a bug depends how hard it is to solve, and isn't something we can control by putting more people onto the job. Similarly, we've tried to write guidelines for where to draw the boundary between free support and paid consultancy, but in practice each case has to be decided on its merits.