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One-stop open-source support launched in U.K.

Already successful in Germany, Credativ's open-source support center is now offered in Britain. Aim is to cover myriad community-built apps.

Open-source support specialist Credativ has launched the Open Source Support Centre, which aims to support a range of community-developed software, from Linux to MySQL.

Launched in the U.K. on Tuesday after running successfully in Germany for the past two years, the OSSC enables users to access a wide variety of skills in different open-source distributions.

The supported distributions include Debian, Ubuntu, Suse, Red Hat, Xandros, Gnome, KDE, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Kolab Groupware, eGroupware, Asterisk, Apache, Samba, Nagios, and Xen.

Available support packages range from the Basic package (at $276 per month, two hours' support with an eight-hour response time) to the Comprehensive package, which includes 24-hour support year-round.

The company has also developed a cost model whereby a customer's users and systems are all covered under a single agreement. With about 30-plus specialist support engineers in the U.K. and Germany, the company believes it is able to offer a comprehensive support service.

"We have been running this scheme with great success in Germany," said Chris Halls, managing director of Credativ. "With 30 engineers, each experienced with three or four distributions, we can cover most distributions."

The company is also offering the option of exchanging unused support hours for alternative services available from the Credativ team. For example, the hours can be exchanged for services such as optimization of security and advice on how to improve the quality of a user's computer systems.

Halls believes there is plenty of demand for this type of support for open-source distributions. "There are companies offering support for open-source, but not in the way we are offering it," said Halls.

"This way you can work with one service provider that can support a large number of open-source projects," he said. "Currently, if an organization is using several different types of free software distributions and applications, multiple support agreements are necessary."

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.