Before you email me...


I get a lot of queries which fall into various categories. Until now I've largely responded to these individually. In future I may just point senders to this notice or just ignore them. Here are the categories of what is and is not welcome.

Consultancy and Funding.

PKI and OpenSSL consultancy is very welcome as is funding for my OpenSSL development or indeed funding for proposed OpenSSL development. You can see some of my past contributions and some brief future plans here.

OpenSSL.

My work in general on the OpenSSL project is currently unfunded and any consultancy will partly go towards aiding future development. I have a very large number of OpenSSL projects currently in the "stalled" state due to lack of resources.

There are mailing lists for OpenSSL clearly described on the website. I get lots of email from people asking questions that are either dealt with in the FAQ (that big button marked FAQ on the website)  the manual pages, the accompanying documentation or have been answered before. I've lost count of the number of times someone asks why they can't read a private key encrypted with a password in a program or why a Windows program crashes on the first BIO call.

The occasional person sends this query to both mailing lists (in almost all cases only one mailing list is appropriate) and when they do not get an immediate response email the entire core and development team. Presumably this is the same kind of person that emails Bill Gates whenever they have a Windows problem.

I occasionally get emails from individuals or companies requesting large amounts of technical assistance. Especially annoying are those from large multinationals often after they've not received a useful reply from other organisations with whom they have an expensive technical support contract. Indications of how urgent the project is don't help either. This is your project, not mine. You are getting paid to do it and I am not. A pointer to my consultancy services is usually met with a comment that they couldn't possibly pay for my services. Well, how would your company respond if I contacted them and demanded large amounts of free consultancy?

Spam.

Almost all spam gets deleted unread. The occasional one gets read so I can make a note of the company sending and ensure that I never do any business with them in future or send an abuse report to the appropriate ISP.

Academic Projects.

I get quite a few queries from students who have undertaken OpenSSL or PKI related projects and want assistance. In many cases the individual concerned has limited or no knowledge of OpenSSL or PKI and does not want to state in public mailing lists their request for help. I do not have the resources to be an unpaid private tutor and even if I did I would require appropriate acknowledgment of any contribution I made. In more direct terms: if you have taken on a course or project which is beyond your abilities and you want me to do the work for you (i.e. cheat) then don't bother asking because you probably wont even get a reply.

Website Issues.

Any questions or contributions to this website are appreciated.

Personal Correspondence.

If you've known me in the past and want a chat (yes oddly enough some people have actually met me) then an email is especially welcome.

And Finally...

If after reading all this you decide your issue is in the "acceptable" category then you can mail me at: shenson@drh-consultancy.demon.co.uk. If your query specifically relates to funding or consultancy then you'll get a quicker response by removing the "demon" part from the email address.