MailScanner support

Julian Field mailscanner at
Thu Feb 27 18:21:37 GMT 2003

At 17:41 27/02/2003, you wrote:
>On adding another 2cents... you might like to check what a small company
>called Open Systems Consultant ( do.
>They _sell_ their open source software, provide free mailing list support and
>payed e-mail support on a yearly or per-task basis.
>This goes like this, they produce a top-notch radius server called Radiator
>(_nothing_ is close to it in features, configurability _and_ support), they
>sell it for a price based on number of servers (see
> and you can freely download a version
>that has a couple of modules encrypted and self-disables 1 month after
>The first time we bought it to be installed on a customer ISP and we bought
>the 1-year mail support contract. Anyway, any time I had a problem I first
>asked in the mailing list and everytime it got answered by one of the tech
>guys (there are only 2 visible, one doing development and the other answering
>questions about configuration that posts and answers daily to the list).
>They have the kind of commitment you have to mailscanner (e.g. more than once
>I got a patch implementing a feature I asked for the day after I mailed, it
>made it to the main code in the next release).
>The only problem of this model is that the software is _always_ paid for. For
>a radius server you usually have a case than if you are authenticating dial-
>up users you probably are a medium to large sized organization or ISP. This
>is not the case with mailscanner where plain individuals use it.
>Anyway, it is an alternative way of making for-profit open source software.

They definitely have some good ideas, such as a capped email support 
contract, or unlimited email support for a different rate. I can't 
distribute a "restricted" version of MailScanner as you all have all the 
source code anyway, so it would only take anyone 5 minutes to work out how 
to get round it.

How about something like this? (these for sites with up to 10,000 mailboxes)
         E-mail support, 4 hours max per year £300+VAT
         Once you use up your 4 hours you could purchase another 4 hours.
         Membership of closed high-priority mailing list per year £100+VAT
         Per-incident £100+VAT per hour (as this is likely to need very 
urgent attention)
         Installation/upgrading MailScanner, SpamAssassin or virus-scanners 
£70+VAT per hour

Please remember that out of these fees I have to pay
         VAT (17.5%)
         Employers National Insurance (about 15%)
         Employees National Insurance (about 10%)
         Income tax (about 25 - 30%)
The result is that I actually get roughly £30 per hour if I charge £70+VAT.

For big sites over 10,000 mailboxes I reckon the rates might need to be 
negotiable, as requirements are probably going to be different. For example 
the per-incident situation is going to need faster fixes as it will 
probably be something pretty dire for them to need my help in the first place.

What does anyone think of those rates? Would you be prepared to pay them? 
I'm trying to come up with a system within which you can buy priority 
access to my time. If I happen to make a nice income out of it too, then 
that's very welcome.
Julian Field
MailScanner thanks transtec Computers for their support

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