As if my previous post was’t enough, this week the ever annoying bad rep of Open Source in Israel showed its face yet again. This time, I’m talking about a recent talkback on the online magazine website. The talkback was related to an article relating to various telecom tenders currently in progress in Israel. As part of the article, the authod mentioned the existance of a new Call Center solution for Asterisk from EasyRun – one of the world’s better known call/contact center solution providers – being in the market for over 15 years now.

Here is a screen shot of the post:

For those not speaking Hebrew, I’ll translate. Talkback number 1 is from Alexander Argov, CEO of Tikal Networks informing the public that Tikal Networks also has a call center solution based on Asterisk, with a link to the demo. In itself, there’s nothing wrong there in my book – however, it would appear that others don’t agree. Number 3 says: “Well, if you are a part of this party, why do you need to advetise in a talkback?”, only to be followed by: “Well, Tikal is a Me-Too as always – nothing new there”. Well, comments will be comments and talkbacks will be talkbacks. However, numbers 6 and 7 are something else. Number 6 excuses Mr. Argov and his Sales VP (a Mr. Harari) as providing poor service and a poor product, warning people not to purchase Tikal based prodcuts. Now, number 7 goes the distance saying: “Selling a product that costs a single shekel for tens of thousends of shekels and giving poor service is something any 7th grade student can do. Don’t touch the solution provided nor any Tikal product”. Number 7 is currently simply stating: “Don’t touch Asterisk, the service is not good”. Number 7 seems to be incapable of distinguishing between the Tikal product line and Asterisk, and for him, they are one and the same. The end result is a bad rep for Asterisk, while the bad rep is actually intended to the solution provider in this case.

It would appear that in Israel, people mix up FreePBX, Asterisk and the solution provider as one and the same. The solution provider goes about saying: “I’m selling an Asterisk product, I’m state of the art!”, using the Asterisk name to leverage the sale. The customer belives that what he’s buying is actually Asterisk, while the only thing he’s actually buying is the integration service and support service. As long as people in Israel don’t realize that Open Source solutions mean: Free Software (Free as in Beer), Paid Support and Professional Services – the situation will remain the same for ever.