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Can open source save live help?

Last year open source helped moribund products gain traction. This year it's doing that with moribund applications.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive
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Last year open source helped moribund products gain traction. This year it's doing that with moribund applications.

One such application is live help, as when an operator conducts an online chat or VOIP call with you on a Web site. I've been hearing about this for a decade, but it just never seems to go anywhere. I hardly ever see it implemented.

Maybe that will change with the launch of Shine Live Help, a GPL help application iRadeon built that includes direct support for SugarCRM. The code was released in December, and the first bug fixes went out last week.

Vice president-strategy Jeff Minich said the product was built to help iRadeon's own support teams, and is now offered as part of a suite with support contracts as low as $60/month for 5 users.

"Since we're a SAAS provider we get some complex user questions that have to go into the case management system we have saved with SugarCRM, some that have to be escalated. It's an asynchronous process on the back end – multiple actions and multiple people – so if you can stick that to live help and archive it, you can have it available next time."

And since it's GPL, you can just download Shine Live Help and run it free. One tech services operation Minich declined to name is already doing that. "They contacted us because they were using a proprietary offering, and they wanted to make sure they didn't have to pay for the GPL version."

They don't but if they make improvements those have to be offered back as part of the GPL contract. To spur such improvements iRadeon has begun a Shine Code Prix with prizes up to $2,500 for the best contributions made through March 11.

In addition to such things as Mambo and Asterisk integration, Minich sad, "we're also looking for some general improvements, some surprises." Video, whiteboards, anything that will make live help a standard feature would be great.

 

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