There are two seemingly very different classes of Linux support: home and business, but both lack for the same thing: emotional and decision support, not technical support.
For example, I got involved in an email exchange recently with the director of a government office in Ottawa whose IT troops maintain multiple racks of IBM Xeon servers running Red Hat Linux. In Canabucks (currently about $0.86 US) he's paying Red Hat about $120,000 a year in licensing, has contracted client side support from an out-sourcer, and has five of his IT staff committed full time to babysitting the applications, mostly trivial (from a complexity and load viewpoint), running on these machines. Now the out-sourcing contract is coming up for renewal in the next budget year, the hardware is almost three years old and overdue for replacement, his IT head is insistent that going back to Windows Servers will reduce costs and downtime, and he's feeling real pressure from above to fund a study on switching to Linux on an IBM mainframe.
So what should he do? I told him to go all Windows. Why? because the social and political support he needs to run Linux isn't there, his people are clueless, and the vendors - including his own IT staff - have their own agendas.
He got into this a few years ago because an IBM consultant told him it was a good idea, his bosses approved of working with the particular IBM outsourcing partner pre-selected for him, and because he saw the appearance of gushing pro-Linux features in both the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Ottawa Business Journal as reassuring proof of its political correctness.
Now he's got nowhere to go but backwards - mainly because he lacks the emotional and management support needed to expand beyond the beachhead created when he brought Linux in, like a square peg in a round hole, as a cheaper, more effective, substitute for one piece in a much larger organisational mosaic where it simply doesn't fit and therefore has to grow or die.
In a different form, that lack of decision support affects the home user in much the same way.
Consider, for example, some dear bloggie questions that I've invented here to illustrate the core home Linux support issue:
So what do these imaginary people have in common with lots of real people? They're about to be turned off on Linux because they can't get a simple answer to a simple question.
So how do we fix that? Local entrepreneurial support. Nothing else will do.
The bottom line is simple: whether for home use or business use, the Linux community either extends the notion of support to include decision makers and gets it under control, or abandons Joe average to the mercy of his local PC shop or other IT shark.