[ubuntu-uk] Ubuntu Support Line

Alan Pope alan at popey.com
Wed Mar 28 11:09:15 BST 2007

On Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 10:43:00AM +0100, Chris Rowson wrote:
> I wonder if anyone has ever thought about setting up an Ubuntu
> community support line?

Given how many companies are having difficulty providing paid-for support, I 
am unsure how we as volunteers can provide such a service cost effectively.

> Does anyone think that setting up a voluntary 'community help desk'
> telephone line could help promote the take-up of Ubuntu amongst
> non-technical people.

Possibly but I can see some issues with it compared with electronic support. 

Telephone support requires a dedicated brain at each end of the phone 
line, it's a synchronous process, and has *only* one brain at the helping 
end. A forum or support tracker has many eyeballs watching it, and whilst 
there may be nobody in your timezone who is looking right now, someone in 
another zone might be able to solve it. That person may be in an office, or 
even on a train (answering mails offline) where taking a phone call just 
isn't practical or even possible.

A text medium is also great for getting people to cut/paste logs/errors. Ok, 
you can ask someone to pastebin a log file, but you have to sit and wait 
whilst they do it.

> I had this idea whilst reading the other thread about including
> sources of support on CD inserts. I can't help but think a telephone
> number would make a service especially appealing.

It is to those who have a broken internet connection, dial-up only, ubuntu 
broken install and so on. Or those people who are just starting out and need 
a helping hand.

> Routing it to VoIP
> makes manning the telephone line a non-hardship too, as the 'operator'
> can simply sit and go about their own thing until a call comes
> through.....

...and when a call comes in there is nothing else you can do whilst you are 
on the phone. I can answer support tickets pretty much anywhere, and walk 
out of the room to change my babys nappy, check the curry, pop to the shop 
etc. When you are tied to a 

> I'm quite interested in this concept and willing to set it up if
> anyone else has any interest in it.

If you can iron out the above I suspect it could be a very valuable 
proposition. Even a money spinner if you used a "premium" or "national rate" 


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