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Possible inclusion in commercial support list

mbro009

Dear Maintainers of Octave

 

My company, https://www.thodica.com, has recently started providing commercial support for our version of Octave (Thodica Octave).

 

We would be very grateful if you could include us in your list of companies on your page https://www.gnu.org/software/octave/commercial-support.html.

 

If you are willing to include us in your list of companies, then I would be very happy to provide you with an appropriate description.

 

Over time, it would be great for any additions, bug fixes or projects we implement in our version to filter back to GNU Octave if deemed appropriate by the GNU Octave developers/maintainers.

 

Kind regards

Matthew Brown

 

 

Dr Matthew Brown | Owner

Mobile:    +64 21 027 17169

Phone: +64 9 216 9873

Email: [hidden email]

 

Web: www.thodica.com

Address:  ANZ Tower, Level 33, 23-29 Albert Street, Auckland 1010

 

© 2017 Thodica Limited. All rights reserved. ”Thodica” is a registered trademark of Thodica Limited.

 

 

 

 


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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Pantxo
Matthew Brown wrote
Dear Maintainers of Octave

My company, https://www.thodica.com<https://www.thodica.com/>, has recently started providing commercial support for our version of Octave (Thodica Octave).

We would be very grateful if you could include us in your list of companies on your page https://www.gnu.org/software/octave/commercial-support.html.

If you are willing to include us in your list of companies, then I would be very happy to provide you with an appropriate description.

Over time, it would be great for any additions, bug fixes or projects we implement in our version to filter back to GNU Octave if deemed appropriate by the GNU Octave developers/maintainers.

Kind regards
Matthew Brown


[cid:image002.png@01D28C4D.070E6500]Dr Matthew Brown | Owner
Mobile:    +64 21 027 17169
Phone: +64 9 216 9873
Email: [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>

Web: www.thodica.com<https://www.thodica.com/>
Address:  ANZ Tower, Level 33, 23-29 Albert Street, Auckland 1010

(c) 2017 Thodica Limited. All rights reserved. "Thodica" is a registered trademark of Thodica Limited.






image001.png (6K) <http://octave.1599824.n4.nabble.com/attachment/4681953/0/image001.png>
image002.png (14K) <http://octave.1599824.n4.nabble.com/attachment/4681953/1/image002.png>
Hi,

AFAIU, you are selling an Octave version that is compiled with Intel compiler:
* Did you make any change in Octave code to have it compile with this proprietary compiler?
* What is the benefit and how does it serve the purpose of "pragmatic use of open source engineering and technical software"?

Pantxo
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

mbro009
Hi Pantxo

I have included some points for your questions.

1. Thodica Octave (like GNU Octave), can be compiled with either the Intel compiler or the gcc compiler.
2. At this time, GNU Octave 4.2.1 does not call correctly a limited number of functions from third party libraries, giving some incorrect results for the gcc compiler, and segmentation faults for the Intel compiler. These bugs were removed, while maintaining the ability to use either compiler.

Some benefits for Thodica Octave include:

1. Faster performance easily available to end users without having to spend time compiling, instead focusing on real work.
2. Affordable Commercial Support and Services available
3. Can be developed using either compiler due to common interface

Pragmatic use relates to our Thodica Services which include guidance, debugging, programming, modelling, consulting and technical support services.

Thank you
Matthew
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Doug Stewart-4


On Feb 24, 2017 4:55 PM, "mbro009" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pantxo

I have included some points for your questions.

1. Thodica Octave (like GNU Octave), can be compiled with either the Intel
compiler or the gcc compiler.
2. At this time, GNU Octave 4.2.1 does not call correctly a limited number
of functions from third party libraries, giving some incorrect results for
the gcc compiler, and segmentation faults for the Intel compiler. These bugs
were removed, while maintaining the ability to use either compiler.

Some benefits for Thodica Octave include:

1. Faster performance easily available to end users without having to spend
time compiling, instead focusing on real work.
2. Affordable Commercial Support and Services available
3. Can be developed using either compiler due to common interface

Pragmatic use relates to our Thodica Services which include guidance,
debugging, programming, modelling, consulting and technical support
services.

Thank you
Matthew




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Where can l download the source files?
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Pantxo
Doug Stewart-4 wrote
On Feb 24, 2017 4:55 PM, "mbro009" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi Pantxo

I have included some points for your questions.

1. Thodica Octave (like GNU Octave), can be compiled with either the Intel
compiler or the gcc compiler.
2. At this time, GNU Octave 4.2.1 does not call correctly a limited number
of functions from third party libraries, giving some incorrect results for
the gcc compiler, and segmentation faults for the Intel compiler. These bugs
were removed, while maintaining the ability to use either compiler.

Some benefits for Thodica Octave include:

1. Faster performance easily available to end users without having to spend
time compiling, instead focusing on real work.
2. Affordable Commercial Support and Services available
3. Can be developed using either compiler due to common interface

Pragmatic use relates to our Thodica Services which include guidance,
debugging, programming, modelling, consulting and technical support
services.

Thank you
Matthew




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Where can l download the source files?
And a second question, have the bugs you mention been reported on Savannah [1] and did you propose patches there?

Pantxo

[1] https://savannah.gnu.org/bugs/?group=octave





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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

mbro009
Hi Doug and Pantxo

Customers who have an agreement with us can download the executables and source code from my.thodica.com.

Our current plans are to make some significant additions to Thodica Octave. The maintainers of GNU Octave may consider the changes on a case by case basis and include into GNU Octave if they judge them as suitable.

The specific bugs I refer to in my post above relate to how the Lapack routines ?gecon are called and the length of the work arrays required for real vs complex.

Thank you for your consideration.

Matthew
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

edmund ronald
I think some agreement should be made to prevent forking and ensure bugs need one fix only.


Edmund



On Sunday, February 26, 2017, mbro009 <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Doug and Pantxo

Customers who have an agreement with us can download the executables and
source code from my.thodica.com.

Our current plans are to make some significant additions to Thodica Octave.
The maintainers of GNU Octave may consider the changes on a case by case
basis and include into GNU Octave if they judge them as suitable.

The specific bugs I refer to in my post above relate to how the Lapack
routines ?gecon are called and the length of the work arrays required for
real vs complex.

Thank you for your consideration.

Matthew




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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Pantxo
In reply to this post by mbro009
mbro009 wrote
Our current plans are to make some significant additions to Thodica Octave. The maintainers of GNU Octave may consider the changes on a case by case basis and include into GNU Octave if they judge them as suitable.

The specific bugs I refer to in my post above relate to how the Lapack routines ?gecon are called and the length of the work arrays required for real vs complex.

Thank you for your consideration.

Matthew
Matthew,

As an Octave contributor, I find it quite bold (but absolutely legal) that you impose rules when it comes to have access to your source files. Don't misinterpret me:
* packaging a different version of Octave for different purpose is a hard work which I find normal that you want to be paid for and 30 USD is more than reasonable.
* providing commercial support for using this version or whatever version of Octave is also fine.

but from a "pragmatic" POV

* fixing bugs you didn't even take the time to report is inefficient: if ever we have access to your source files, it will be a harder work to integrate your changes
* even though the GPL does allows you to ask money for your modifications of licensed files, I would definitely vote for *not promoting this fork in Octave web site*.

Pantxo
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Pantxo
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

edmund ronald
In reply to this post by Pantxo
Could you guys avoid forking? Think of the children (users).

On the other hand Inthink commercial support == > more users == > more contributors == > a good thing.



On Monday, February 27, 2017, Pantxo <[hidden email]> wrote:
mbro009 wrote
> Our current plans are to make some significant additions to Thodica
> Octave. The maintainers of GNU Octave may consider the changes on a case
> by case basis and include into GNU Octave if they judge them as suitable.
>
> The specific bugs I refer to in my post above relate to how the Lapack
> routines ?gecon are called and the length of the work arrays required for
> real vs complex.
>
> Thank you for your consideration.
>
> Matthew

Matthew,

As an Octave contributor, I find it quite bold (but absolutely legal) that
you impose rules when it comes to have access to your source files. Don't
misinterpret me:
* packaging a different version of Octave for different purpose is a hard
work which I find normal that you want to be paid for and 30 USD is more
than reasonable.
* providing commercial support for using this version or whatever version of
Octave is also fine.

but from a "pragmatic" POV

* fixing bugs you didn't even take the time to report is inefficient: if
ever we have access to your source files, it will be a harder work to
integrate your changes
* even though the GPL does allows you to ask money for your modifications of
licensed files, I would definitely vote for *not promoting this fork in
Octave web site*.

Pantxo



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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Juan Pablo Carbajal-2
On Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 4:11 PM, edmund ronald <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Could you guys avoid forking? Think of the children (users).
>
> On the other hand Inthink commercial support == > more users == > more
> contributors == > a good thing.
>
>
>
>
> On Monday, February 27, 2017, Pantxo <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> mbro009 wrote
>> > Our current plans are to make some significant additions to Thodica
>> > Octave. The maintainers of GNU Octave may consider the changes on a case
>> > by case basis and include into GNU Octave if they judge them as
>> > suitable.
>> >
>> > The specific bugs I refer to in my post above relate to how the Lapack
>> > routines ?gecon are called and the length of the work arrays required
>> > for
>> > real vs complex.
>> >
>> > Thank you for your consideration.
>> >
>> > Matthew
>>
>> Matthew,
>>
>> As an Octave contributor, I find it quite bold (but absolutely legal) that
>> you impose rules when it comes to have access to your source files. Don't
>> misinterpret me:
>> * packaging a different version of Octave for different purpose is a hard
>> work which I find normal that you want to be paid for and 30 USD is more
>> than reasonable.
>> * providing commercial support for using this version or whatever version
>> of
>> Octave is also fine.
>>
>> but from a "pragmatic" POV
>>
>> * fixing bugs you didn't even take the time to report is inefficient: if
>> ever we have access to your source files, it will be a harder work to
>> integrate your changes
>> * even though the GPL does allows you to ask money for your modifications
>> of
>> licensed files, I would definitely vote for *not promoting this fork in
>> Octave web site*.
>>
>> Pantxo
>>
>>
>>
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>> Sent from the Octave - Maintainers mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
>>
>
Dear Matthew,

First, good luck with your enterprise.

It seems quite asymmetric that you request for a link to be included
when the Thodica site doesn't have a link to GNU Octave (only mentions
it).
I also see little benefit for the GNU Octave community in helping you
in your project.

- Thodica promotes paywalls.
- Thodica did not submit patches nor bug reports to the bugs they
purportedly fixed.

I guess we could be friends :D, but you should start by giving a hand
and not by requesting more.

My humble opinion.

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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

mbro009
Hi All

Thank you for the feedback. In a separate discussion that was taken off the list by the list maintainer, I have expressed my flexibility in finding a model so that all parties are happy.

To address forking, through trial and error, we could attempt to work with the GNU Octave maintainers in a collaborative manner when trying to add or improve. When we add or improve a feature we could distribute those modifications cost-free under copyright owned by Thodica Limited, and subject to the GPLv3, to the GNU Octave maintainers.

Regarding bug management, if we found a bug fix then we could report it back to the GNU Octave maintainers including how we fixed it, such as if a customer requests it as part of our paid support model.

In terms of payment, my view is that there is cost-free software, affordable software, and unaffordable software. If software is affordable and responsive to customer support, then I believe this introduces an option for efficiency gains without sacrificing freedom.

We will need to maintain and distribute our own version, i.e. Thodica Octave, for legal reasons and to introduce our own branding and links to the paid support model etc.

Thank you
Matthew
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

edmund ronald
Dear Mr. Brown,

Maybe you should look at how some other commercial oroject eg. Canopy liaises with the original team in terms of bugs, source mods, forking and commercial modules, and keeping the main original developers happy.

My feeling is you haven't thought this out - yet. Now may be the time to get these policies right.


Edmund

On Monday, February 27, 2017, mbro009 <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi All

Thank you for the feedback. In a separate discussion that was taken off the
list by the list maintainer, I have expressed my flexibility in finding a
model so that all parties are happy.

To address forking, through trial and error, we could attempt to work with
the GNU Octave maintainers in a collaborative manner when trying to add or
improve. When we add or improve a feature we could distribute those
modifications cost-free under copyright owned by Thodica Limited, and
subject to the GPLv3, to the GNU Octave maintainers.

Regarding bug management, if we found a bug fix then we could report it back
to the GNU Octave maintainers including how we fixed it, such as if a
customer requests it as part of our paid support model.

In terms of payment, my view is that there is cost-free software, affordable
software, and unaffordable software. If software is affordable and
responsive to customer support, then I believe this introduces an option for
efficiency gains without sacrificing freedom.

We will need to maintain and distribute our own version, i.e. Thodica
Octave, for legal reasons and to introduce our own branding and links to the
paid support model etc.

Thank you
Matthew



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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

mbro009
Hi All

I think the consensus is that my previous proposal is not accepted. I would like to withdraw my previous proposal and put forward the following one. I am very grateful for your time so far.

1. We will provide a mirror for GNU Octave. We will not have a separate version.
2. We will provide support contracts for GNU Octave, designed and provided under terms set by us.
3. A proportion of the revenue obtained directly from the support contracts for GNU Octave will be donated to GNU Octave for development of new features and general work. The proportion will be determined by us given current and forecast profitability. The features and work that is completed using these funds is to be selected by us (but still requiring approval by GNU Octave maintainers) in the interest of commercial customers;  developers are selected by GNU Octave provided there is equal opportunity and equity in selection, and GNU Octave is transparent about equal opportunity statistics. Developers selected must be job-seekers and complete the work under contract  to GNU Octave as the contracting party and mentored by GNU Octave maintainers, i.e. they cannot currently be employed in a public or private institution.
4. The GNU Octave group is completely transparent in the spending of all funds provided to it by commercial sponsors.
5. A non-exclusive relationship. i.e. we are completely free to sell and develop and make available other solutions, services and products.
6. GNU Octave will consider rewording some sentences on this page: https://www.gnu.org/software/octave/support-expectations.html. Note, we will be approaching things from a commercial perspective of trying to make customers happy. For example, “Unfortunately, there are a few people who behave as though the community owes them support as well as a 100% Matlab compatible system, all at zero cost. It shouldn’t really be necessary, but we’ll say it anyway: working with these people is no fun. If you approach the Octave community this way, you are sure to be disappointed. You should also not be surprised when your requests for help are ignored.”

I am happy for any continuing discussion to be completely transparent on this list.

Thank you
Matthew
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Juan Pablo Carbajal-2
Hi Matthew,

On Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 9:18 PM, mbro009 <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 3. A proportion of the revenue obtained directly from the support contracts
> for GNU Octave will be donated to GNU Octave for development of new features
> and general work. The proportion will be determined by us given current and
> forecast profitability. The features and work that is completed using these
> funds is to be selected by us (but still requiring approval by GNU Octave
> maintainers) in the interest of commercial customers;  developers are
> selected by GNU Octave provided there is equal opportunity and equity in
> selection, and GNU Octave is transparent about equal opportunity statistics.
> Developers selected must be job-seekers and complete the work under contract
> to GNU Octave as the contracting party and mentored by GNU Octave
> maintainers, i.e. they cannot currently be employed in a public or private
> institution.

I think you view of GNU Octave as a community is quite biased by your
enterprising stand point.
I do not think GNU Octave can hire anyone (I will be glad to be
wrong!). maybe FSF can or maybe John can, or maybe other people
involved in octave who have as company or a legal person under some
jurisdiction.
Also why you restrict the possibility of having developments done to
job-seekers? and what do you care of what people do in their time?
Probably you should only care that developments are delivered on time
and quality.

I would love to hear jwe or Rik's opinion on this.

Good luck.

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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

John W. Eaton
Administrator
In reply to this post by mbro009
On 02/28/2017 03:18 PM, mbro009 wrote:

> I think the consensus is that my previous proposal is not accepted. I would
> like to withdraw my previous proposal and put forward the following one. I
> am very grateful for your time so far.

OK.  I think it's probably a good idea to start over here.  You could
start by saying something like "Hi, I'm ... and I'm interested in
starting a support business for Octave.  It seems like there's probably
a big market out there for this sort of thing and I'm a bit surprised as
to why no one is already doing this.  Is there anything I should know?
Anyway, here's how I think it could work.  [... some details...]  What
do you think?"  Or, if you are reluctant to share too much, then maybe
ask if there are people who would be interested in discussing this off
list.  Then maybe we could have a meaningful discussion.

> 1. We will provide a mirror for GNU Octave. We will not have a separate
> version.
> 2. We will provide support contracts for GNU Octave, designed and provided
> under terms set by us.

OK, anyone is free to provide support for Octave.  That's part of the
reason for the GPL in the first place, so that users have more than one
option for support.

> 3. A proportion of the revenue obtained directly from the support contracts
> for GNU Octave will be donated to GNU Octave for development of new features
> and general work. The proportion will be determined by us given current and
> forecast profitability. The features and work that is completed using these
> funds is to be selected by us (but still requiring approval by GNU Octave
> maintainers) in the interest of commercial customers;  developers are
> selected by GNU Octave provided there is equal opportunity and equity in
> selection, and GNU Octave is transparent about equal opportunity statistics.
> Developers selected must be job-seekers and complete the work under contract
> to GNU Octave as the contracting party and mentored by GNU Octave
> maintainers, i.e. they cannot currently be employed in a public or private
> institution.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but you seem to be under the impression that
"GNU Octave" is some kind of legal entity that can make decisions.  "GNU
Octave" is the software and what we sometimes call the "Octave Project"
is just a group of volunteers.  There is no business behind it that can
hire people.  And, like Juan Pablo, I don't understand the part about
"job seekers".  What difference does it make who does the work?

> 4. The GNU Octave group is completely transparent in the spending of all
> funds provided to it by commercial sponsors.

The FSF, which currently collects funds for the Octave Project is a
charity in the US and must disclose how it spends the contributions it
receives.  When the FSF transfers funds to the Octave Project, the
spending must be accounted for and in accordance with the rules
governing 501c(3) charities in the US, and the charter/by-laws of the FSF.

> 5. A non-exclusive relationship. i.e. we are completely free to sell and
> develop and make available other solutions, services and products.

OK.

> 6. GNU Octave will consider rewording some sentences on this page:
> https://www.gnu.org/software/octave/support-expectations.html. Note, we will
> be approaching things from a commercial perspective of trying to make
> customers happy. For example, “Unfortunately, there are a few people who
> behave as though the community owes them support as well as a 100% Matlab
> compatible system, all at zero cost. It shouldn’t really be necessary, but
> we’ll say it anyway: working with these people is no fun. If you approach
> the Octave community this way, you are sure to be disappointed. You should
> also not be surprised when your requests for help are ignored.”

Sure, we can consider it.  But this is my position on what it is like to
deal with people who wish to take advantage of unpaid support provided
by volunteers.  It is a statement from the Octave Project.  You are free
to market your services however you choose, provided that you adhere to
the license terms of GNU Octave.

FWIW, I think the biggest barrier to starting a business supporting
Octave is that the community already provides pretty great support *for
free*.  That's the real value of Octave.  It's not the code.  It's the
people who are working on it.  Maybe it would be easier to get people to
pay if you could hire all the top contributors and get them to enter
into an exclusive relationship with your company such that they only
provide support to paying customers and stop providing gratis support.

jwe


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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Sebastian Schöps
John W. Eaton wrote
FWIW, I think the biggest barrier to starting a business supporting
Octave is that the community already provides pretty great support *for
free*.  That's the real value of Octave.  It's not the code.  It's the
people who are working on it.  Maybe it would be easier to get people to
pay if you could hire all the top contributors and get them to enter
into an exclusive relationship with your company such that they only
provide support to paying customers and stop providing gratis support.
I would imagine that companies prefer to have support guaranteed. This is typically not the case if you have to rely on volunteers. By the way, I know several small engineering companies (consisting of a few employees) that have offered solutions based on octave in the past. I think this is also the business model of moxoff.

Sebastian
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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

John W. Eaton
Administrator
On 03/02/2017 03:05 PM, Sebastian Schöps wrote:

> By the way, I know
> several small engineering companies (consisting of a few employees) that
> have offered solutions based on octave in the past. I think this is also the
> business model of moxoff.

What do you mean by "solutions based on Octave"?  Is that the same as
providing bug fixes and enhancements for Octave?

jwe


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Re: Possible inclusion in commercial support list

Sebastian Schöps

> Am 02.03.2017 um 21:56 schrieb John W. Eaton <[hidden email]>:
>> By the way, I know
>> several small engineering companies (consisting of a few employees) that
>> have offered solutions based on octave in the past. I think this is also the
>> business model of moxoff.
>
> What do you mean by "solutions based on Octave"?  Is that the same as providing bug fixes and enhancements for Octave?

No, they do implementations of tailored solutions which happen to run in Octave. So they earn their money with coding but not with fixing of bug in Octave. My point was that there is a demand for businesses around Octave.

Sebastian
 


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