The Yocto Jester

The most notorious *non*-official Yocto Project resource ever!

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I don’t provide free PRIVATE support!

The title says it all, right? But why am I doing all the video sessions then, as well as hang out on IRC? Well, here’s what this article is about.

I do provide community support.

Whenever I do help somebody, explain something, look into a question or error message, I am doing it for the community. Community means to me, first and foremost:

In this form, support is a collective effort. A number of people share their time and knowledge, in order to help a number of people. This includes that the outcome of collaboration can later be found and re-read by others, like on the Yocto Mailing list or the IRC logs. Therefore, even if the original problem maybe cannot be solved, it can be helpful.

It is: “giving back”

None of this is the case if we are talking in private. Nobody else can help, nor profit.

Chances are that you are doing this for a living.

Lets be honest, about nobody gets into YP technology “just for fun”. Its just not meant for it. So if you have a question or problem, then the chances are close to 100% that you are either doing this because it is your job, or - in a lower number of cases - some form of learning assignment.

Don’t get me wrong, I highly encourage learning and studying. But that doesn’t mean that you need a 1:1 mentor. Its almost the opposite: you will learn more and faster in the open.

For the professional case, I know that there are situations where you do not want, or even are not allowed to share the necessary details for solving something in an openly recorded/logged way. But: That is your problem, not one of the community. You are earning the money if it is solved. So if you expect somebody to help you in that, share the money. That means: pay for the support you expect to receive.

Why should I help you get money for free?

“But this is not really my problem, its being caused by…”

I’m really sorry, but it is your problem. Like I said, you’re probably doing this for earning money. If your board vendor screwed you, go complain to them. Do not buy from them next time. If I’m doing the “community” support to fix the crappy BSPs they ship, I’m effectively subsidizing their business. And I won’t do that.

I’m not going to fix the stuff somebody else sold you.

And last but not least, I won’t ruin the business for others.

While I am in the highly comfortable situation that I do not need to make money this way, others in fact do. There are many highly skilled and experienced contractors and trainers out there whom you can ask and hire. Doing the same for free actually means that their rates suffer, because their services are under-valued: “Hey I can just ask that guy online for free!”. Well for sure you can, but not me. Hiring those who are part of the community helps the whole project because then people can keep on working on it.

For me its a hobby, for others its business.