About dialogs with credits are important. In the past when developers were developing for developers it was a way of getting acknowledgement for hard work put into an application. Getting your name and e-mail in an about dialog was a badge of honor. It also notified would be developers on who to talk to to get info on contribution or sending a patch. This was when people were mostly in ‘the know’ about e-mail net etiquette.
As more and more people start using Linux on the desktop, many of who have different cultural norms shaping their net etiquette behaviour, we run into the issue of having to kindly tell people that it is immensely annoying to get spam from people seeking support. Sometimes we are in a bad mood or our own style of writing can be interpreted as hostile when trying to point people to the proper support channels. This could leave a first time user feeling like Linux isn’t worth the hassle of getting seemingly abusive replies when all they want is to get their computer working. If we want Linux to be easy we need to be able to easily point users to resources where they can get help on using their system. Asking them to innately understand cultural norms that we take for granted (I go to bugzilla for bugs, forums for distro help and mailinglists for development ideas) is asking for our userbase to consist of just Linux enthusiasts.
My simple suggestion. Add a big old I need support button to the about dialog which pulls a URL or text blurb which is set by the distro vendor. I like the idea of a URL where it can send users to some sort of wizard on the distros website (heck I would like a standard wizard module which sends upstream issues upstream and distro issues downstream but that is just wishful thinking). Paid customers of a commercial distro would get their support site (heck an IT department could even set all their desktops to filter to an internal support request form) and the community distros can get casual users to their resources.
Note that Ximian back in the day used to do something similar where each app had a way to get to an irc support channel. The idea was good but in reality I think the one time I tried it out there was only a bot in the channel. Taking that similar idea and instead pointing users to appropriate support sites would be the bee’s knees and save me from having an aneurysm when someone e-mails me asking for a network driver for such and such a device because they found my e-mail in the NetworkManager about box.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]