A Noobies View - Needs to be said

talentpod1 posted 1st of July 2009 in Community Voice. 6 comments.

Sorry this is  a repost - the typo monsters got me.

I must say this is the first time I have posted here. However I thought I had something worth reading and wanted to share it all with you.  As many of you will see, I am a fairly new member to Unity.  I started using dolphin several months ago and was amazed.  I am currently the CTO of a project aimed at helping non-profits.  This project has been in the works for a little over a two years now and is close to launch.  I share this with you because it relates to what I feel needs to be said. 

I have been in the web development industry since 1995.  AOL was still text based, and I was stuck in a hospital bed at William Beaumont  Army Medical Center.  I had nothing to do for over a year in bed but learned  to use computers;  use the net as a gateway window to the outside world, and take my mind off my troubles.  I discovered I had a "knack" for this computer stuff, and ended up setting up the patient record system for the hospital.( some of you may have read the story of my dog Buddy calling 911, I have Epilepsy from  an open skull fracture in case you are wondering)

After I was released and sent home, things were bleak.  I was not in the best condition mentally or physically, and became somewhat semi-unsocial.  The computer was my way to cope.  In the computer I controlled my world.  It did what I told it to do, nothing more, nothing less. 

If I got an error, it was because I asked it to do something that I had not defined yet.

I went on to college and other places.  I got my MCSE, A+, etc. etc.  In my spare time, which seemed to be dwindling by the blink, I kept up with current trends, ideas etc. (Keep in mind this was well before blackberry, or anything of the sort.)

I was using a P.C.  I never got into the whole Mac thing although i was raised on apple like many of us were.  I own one but its  a paperweight.  I have not found the time to figure it all out.

One of the things I liked about BoonEx, Dolphin, and Unity was that it was open source.   That says that the code is available to be tinkered with; modified if you will.  That fact releases users from the containers that most software solutions tie you down to.  I was also impressed with the number of members and activity. 

The first time I installed the software, it took me about 2 hours.  I checked and rechecked everything just to make sure I got it right.  EVERYTHING worked fine.  I read and followed the instructions.

Then I came to a point where I wanted to start making some changes.....I used the search capability within BoonEx and Unity and so far have found every answer to every question; quickly, simply, and in plain English.  This was too good to be true!

To date, I have not had to contact customer support, or any other BoonEx entity for help.  Although I am surprised at this, I am also amazed.

Here is the core for this posting:  You now know my background, I'm not a computer whiz kid.  I am  a typical user with certain circumstances, that has had no problems with any part of Dolphin to date.

I have made some adjustments, and my team had modified things from time to time; as is normal with any large scale development project.  But what we got was what we expected.  It was an open source starting point.  That's what any open source product  is.  A starting point.

I have been reading a lot on D7 lately and subsequently  been on Unity a lot more than normal in recent weeks.  I have seen a lot of bashing talking about old releases, even the current release of Dolphin.  I wanted to make this as clear as I can:

 

OPEN SOURCE IS JUST THAT OPENSOURCE.  You are not buying an out of the box solution, ever.  You are purchasing a modifiable rendition of what it can be or what you might want.  The rest is up to you.  BoonEx has no control over your server or your live environment.  You get the basics and have to work from there.  WORK is the key word.  All open source should be treated as Beta.  Learn it, Know it, Master it.  If you cannot, hire someone who has.  There are enough resources here on Unity not to mention Google and now YouTube even to make it easy for someone who has familiarity with the system to do almost anything.  How long does it take to get familiar with it?  It took me about 2 months to get comfortable with it, but that was while I was doing other things as well.

I know people have been kind of going to the negative with the pre-release of D7.  I downloaded and installed a test version, I have yet to get it to work fully.  But here's the "ketch":  I didn't expect it to work.  It's an alpha of an open source project.  The fact that most of it did work impressed the heck out of me.    

I have also read where people are mad at some of the BoonEx people for taking a business trip to see what other companies are doing.  All I can say is get over it.  Honestly, I don't even know what that is all about.  I for one have not had a true vacation since I don't know when; but I can tell you that a business trip, regardless of the pictures taken is not considered a vacation in my book.  It's a time for networking and "spying on the other guy".  Enough Said.

In closing I will say the following:

Everything on the net should be treated as a living organism.  We are only limited by our imagination and our skill set.  What we choose to do with our knowledge effects everyone around the world every day.  We are unified in that aspect.  Our brothers and sisters will continue to press on even if we fall, and develop the future for tomorrow we can only dream of today.

 

If you like this post let me know.  If not let me know.  I am what I am, It is what It is. 

 
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DeeEmm
Like the post.

I too am an advocate for open source software, but I would respectfully disagree that all open source software should be regarded as Beta this is not the case.

It is a common misconception that open source is second rate or not an 'out of the box experience'. I know that this is largely borne from the axiom that 'you don't get nothing for nothing', but it couldn't be further from the truth.

I will cite just one example - the internet that you are so fond of, runs largely see more on open source operating systems, powered by open source software.

There are many many other examples.

Regarding peoples criticism of the dolphin product, I both agree and disagree, some people seem to be overly critical and maybe have too high an expectation, I have voiced criticisms myself in the past - mostly as being involved in the open source community, I have developed certain levels of expectation for certain products.

In my opinion, if you pitch your product as a home grown - 'take it as it is' product, the odd bug / missing feature / forgotten promise will go uncriticised - But pitch your product as a world class market leader then the expectation rise accordingly.

Additionally, as the user-base increases, so do the expectations.

DM
talentpod1
perhaps i should have made the "beta" ref. a little clearer. I was not say its all beta by def. what I was trying to say is that the Dolphin platform is a starting point that we should be prepared to build off of.
DeeEmm
It is a starting point - and I guess this in part is what I'm getting at when I say that some are overly critical and expect too much - The expectation for some is that Boonex should add all and every feature that anyone requests, with some it would appear that they almost expect someone to visit their house, install it for them, cook dinner and walk the dog too.

My own level of expectation is somewhat less than this - I simply expect it to be bug free and that the compatibility issues are addressed. see more I also have an expectation that base level functionality is included - ie that Dolphin meets or exceeds current benchmarks for minimum functionality. I don't expect that it has all of the bells and whistles of products like phpbb or the like, but I do expect that it has base features such as email notification.

It is very hard to judge where to draw the line between realistic and unrealistic expectation. As I mentioned before - I base my expectations on how Boonex present the Dolphin product to me. In my mind Boonex dictate the expectations by how they present their products.

My perception is that it is aiming to be a world class product - both feature rich and robust. It is presented in a professional manner as part of a suite of products. There is no reference to it being 'home grown' at all. Just take a look at the Boonex site - it's very visually appealing, it looks professional, it doesn't look like most open source project websites do - Geeks aren't usually good visual designers - these skills use opposite sides of the brain - very few people possess both artistic and technical skills in similar quantities.

Simply put - Boonex have already cut the cloth they now wear.

Another thing to consider is that many of us purchased licenses, in my mind it is now not a free product but one that I have paid for - I know others will argue that only license removal was for sale - Call me old fashioned, but I parted with money - I expect that what I bought works.

DM
bpowers84
While I can agree with your statement I too also find it difficult to agree with every aspect of it, I have been a member of Boonex for a short time also starting my site out with 6.1.4, then doing the infamous upgrade to 6.1.5 for the most part the upgrade was awesome it fixed issues I had already fixed myself with the help of a developer and also the forums.

Then 6.1.6 comes out and now not only has my site gone back to 6.1.4 for the most part as far as features that no longer work, Boonex also see more released an update for the RMS server, some of us are already members of another RMS service and now with the 6.1.6 some of the basic features no longer work.

I have also purchased a license as did "DeeEmm" my only thoughts are that Boonex says one week were releasing a patch, then the following week it's out, I don't adequate testing is being done before a release, you should have fixed an issue in a previous upgrade, then caused the same issue to resurface again in the next upgrade. My other issue with Boonex is the lack of communication every so often you see a Blog post about D7, questions have been asked and not answered by Boonex.

In regards to Dolphin 6.1.6 a blog post was made about this and in the blog it stated to report bugs in the Blog but then Boonex never responded to any of the posts in the blog.

I don't expect much from Open Source Projects just that they do what they say they should do, and that when an upgrade comes out it fixes issues in the previous build, and doesn't cause additional issues.
ZopfWare
Well said. I have been in the industry since the late 70's/ early 80's I ran one of the first 300/1200/2400 Baud BBS's (Cleveland IBBS to be specific) back when the only access to the internet was through CompuServe and it was ALL text based. I an several other coders at the time shared most of our code and ideas with eachother, and wound up standardizing the BBS industry (at the time) and got to benefit from the ideas and code of the others. We wrote all our code in 8080/Z80 assembler and a wonderful see more little basic interpreter from a guy named Bill Gates...Known as MicroSoft Basic.

For those of us who have been developing and installing software for years, we know that the success to open source software projects is the free access to code and the free exchange of ideas. There have definitely been times when I've been on Boonex that I wondered why everyone was talking about just anything...except what was important...the improving of the Dolphin code.

It's late and I ramble.... good post though :-)
talentpod1
Nice! I remember the BBS's as well. the nice little hand set you had to link to your computer. The first time I did that I think I was using an Apple IIGS with a 50 Meg. Hard Disk. Good times, and good memories.
 
 
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