Q: Do you sell proprietary enhancements of SavaPage?
A: No, we don't. We know that some companies make money by selling proprietary enhancements to free and open source software (e.g. a “Community Edition” and an “Enterprise Edition”). This is not our business model. We create Free / Open Source Software because we believe in user freedom and independent code audits. We certainly do not sell out our ethics by introducing the very thing we want to avoid: proprietary software.
We do, however, ask for a higher annual subscription fee to use SavaPage functionality that integrates SavaPage into proprietary toolchains. Our reasoning for this is simple: testing, debugging and maintaining these features takes a disproportionally large amount of time and effort. Moreover, they are often prone to regressions that we have no control over.
Examples of such features include PaperCut integration, Microsoft LDAP user synchronisation, Google Cloud Print integration, OAuth SSO with various proprietary web portals, a Java Client App for Microsoft platforms, and various commercial payment gateways.
People solely using Free Software would never need or want to use these features in the first place, as these features require proprietary software to be useful. Nonetheless, all source code is AGPL-licensed and available on GitLab. In a way, it can be compared with Debian's contrib repository.
Q: Does SavaPage support tracking & control of MFD copier functions?
A: No, we don't interface with proprietary MFD hardware or firmware to track off-the-glass copying and scanning. Practically speaking, this frees us from the burden of creating a solution for each and every MFD vendor, and costly certification programs. But more fundamentally, we opt for a generic copy and scan solution based on Open Standards and Free Software.
First of all, off-the-glass MFD functions must be viewed in perspective. Why do users copy anyway? In most cases copying is plain convenience. Although a print or reprint of the electronic source document, with desired number of copies, should be the most obvious initial course of action, walking back to a workstation to do so is considered cumbersome. It is up to organizational policy how to enforce desired behavior in that respect: disabling the copier function on the MFD could be a measure.
In those cases where the electronic source is not available for printing, alternatives must of course be considered. For instance, a supervised MFD can be assigned for copying in a confined place. In that way costs can easily be determined manually and, with the help of a SavaPage Web App, charged to a personal or shared account. You can use the SavaPage Job Ticket system for that purpose, since it is designed to also handle copy jobs next to print jobs.
A more fancy solution would be a dedicated network scanner, controlled by SavaPage with SANE API. A scan, even with ADF (Automatic Document Feeder), could then be started by and previewed in the User Web App, ready to be stored or mailed as PDF, or to be printed and charged accordingly.
As you see, solutions are within reach. Please contact us if you have any questions or ideas.
Last but not least, there is one crucial argument against MFD copying. Since proprietary firmware works in mysterious ways, the copy result might not be an exact copy of the original. As the notorious Xerox Scanning Bug shows, taking copied numbers and text for real may lead to real danger and has serious legal issues.
Q: Why is creation of support tickets and issues not open for everyone?
A: Although everyone can sign up for our Community Forum we do not have an open door policy for our private quarters. Imagine what would happen if the front door of your private home was open, so everyone could walk in and out all the time. It surely would take you a lot of time to address every anonymous guest, and keep the house tidy. We want to prevent these things happening to our SavaPage residency, as we want to use our resources efficiently, for the benefit of our paying-the-rent residents.
So, please ring at our front door first. Give us a call, send us an email, and introduce yourself, so we can get acquainted and start a conversation. We are truly interested in your story, and are happy to give you the keys of our Support home to keep the conversation going in a private and trusted environment. Residents have access by default, and are handed the keys together with their Member Card.
The same argument applies to our Issues home. Issues stem from support conversations and are entered and maintained by authorized SavaPage agents. As they are of concern to all, and to maintain privacy, issues are abstracted from their originator, and are made public, so its content and status can be inspected by everyone.