Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by on Monday December 19 2016, @09:50AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the how-to-run-a-business dept.

An Anonymous Coward writes:

After leaving a negative review and opening a support ticket about HRDSOFTWARE, a customer was told that he needed to download and install the latest version; then they would be able to provide support. He followed their directions, and once the download was installed, the program started, displayed the splash screen, and then completely shut down. After calling the support line to ask them to explain what they were doing, they informed him that he was blacklisted and the file they directed him to download blocked the software on the computer from running. PDF of ticket.

This thread on a ham radio enthusiast forum details the customer's complaint along with the expected peanut gallery postings. Discussion spread to other fora, accusations flew of favoritism and deleted posts. One co-owner pops in to say he's fixed the user's problem. Then something interesting happens on page 37. The other co-owner of HRDSoftware steps in and apologizes, reinstates the user's software, and spends the next 25 (and counting) pages engaging with the community and talking about how he can improve things going forward.

This story started out being about how users get punished for giving negative feedback, but now it is also about how to be a responsible business owner and respond to your userbase.


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @10:00AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @10:00AM (#443043)

    I hate your site and I hate your users! Free Software means I can take all your code and launch my own news site with blackjack and hooters! Can't take the coddddde from meeeeeeee.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @10:15AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @10:15AM (#443046)

      Free software. Can't brick it.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @10:28AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @10:28AM (#443051)

        Yeah, it just doesn't work out of the box half the time.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @10:36AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @10:36AM (#443054)

          Not a problem because you can always fix it yourself, then submit your patches to upstream, where your contribution will be rejected because the bugs you fixed weren't on the maintainer's to do list, but the maintainer will still try to pressure you to work on something else which is on the to do list, and then you tell the upstream maintainer to go to hell.

          And people wonder why free software doesn't work out of the box half the time.

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @11:40AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @11:40AM (#443073)

            I've been involved with (although not a major code contributor) in the free software movement since the 90s. While I have been told 'that concept isn't planned for this software' I have never had a bug report go unfixed (although a few only made it into a 'new' release that either couldn't or would not be run on my system for other reasons.) And in many cases even feature requests will get implemented, unless they are non-trivial to implement. (meaning on the order of months of work or rearchitecting. Things that would take a few hours/days/week often got done the next time they were working on that part of the code.

            Having said that, there are a number of projects out there that could rather be called 'clique-ish source' or 'pseudo-open source'. Those projects mostly live under the guise of being open without communal development, then spin back into closed source projects later on while claiming it is all because of a lack of community engagement. (SWGemu Core2/3 were/are examples of this. Hint: the entire backend codebase is proprietary, while incomplete frontend code was LGPL'd only with illegal licensing restrictions, and now AGPL'd. Still no working JTL support 10 years later either!)

            • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @12:28PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @12:28PM (#443088)

              Clique-ish pseudo-open source is the cathedral model, and it's the way RMS intended. GNU projects belong to the FSF, and RMS claims the right to appropriate any changes you make, but only if he wants them. It's droit du seigneur applied to software. If RMS wants to fuck your wife then you can't stop him, but if your wife is ugly then you can fuck off.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @04:33PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @04:33PM (#443190)

                If you don't like the way the FSF handles a project, you can always fork it. If you do it right, your fork may even end up being the official GNU project; see egcs.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @07:27PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @07:27PM (#443271)

          Dude. HALF the time? WOW!

          You have been very, very lucky....

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @07:31PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @07:31PM (#443275)

          And don't get me started on the user interfaces and usability.

          FUCK ME the OS community suck as this so bad they could be making millions as prostitutes....

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Monday December 19 2016, @01:36PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 19 2016, @01:36PM (#443111)

        Free software. Can't brick it.

        HRD was free software for the first decade or so of its life.

        Its an interesting UI. A lot of remote radio control software tries to precisely emulate the physical radio, which means minimal retraining (assuming the purchaser knows how to operate the physical radio...) while also meaning minimal usefulness. HRD UI is (was?) hard to describe, like scrollbars in scrollbars in scrollbars to change frequencies and also has (had?) a very nice bookmarking and range labeling system. Even had a crude but semi usable spectrum analyzer like function.

        The guy who wrote it and released it eventually got tired of it all and sold the complete rights to three guys who wanted to take it commercial which is going to be highly problematic. First of all in the modern era of software piracy you don't get that much more for pay vs free software. Secondly you can make a lot more money extorting radio manufacturers than individual hams (hams are well known for cheapness, making their own antenna wire by gripping a solid copper penny tightly in two hands and stretching it into a 80 meter dipole). Thirdly the new version of the software is competing against old downloads and installs of the free version. Fourthly the software barely (or didn't) support one dude, now they intend to support an entire commercial team? Fifthly free software scratches the itch of people who dogfood their own software, whereas commercial apps (of which there are competitors) merely checkbox marketing feature lists of stuff nobody wants but marketing, which means the existing community is completely uninterested in where the software is being led to. Sixthly the ham community is famous for extreme complaining, for example 99.9% of hams don't have any trouble, don't even blink, at soldering PL-259 connectors or anderson powerpole connectors or surface mount soldering but oh my god every single ham who's ever had the slightest problem with any of those makes damn certain everyone on the planet knows that they can't do it, therefore no one can do it and they go on and on about it, so something like paid ham radio software support must be absolute hell on earth for both sides. Seventhly this is like the 80/20 rule turned up to 99/1 or something, where almost all the performance gain in using the software came from the ancient 00s versions and any improvement today is a performance gain deep in the decimal places, so other than supporting new hardware there is little to gain by buying in, the gain you get in usability was huge by installing a free version in '08 or whatever, but the gain you get from paying up in '16 is it'll support some hardware you don't own and maybe never will.

        I toyed with the idea of writing something sorta similar to HRD from the "free '00s era" run on a rasp-pi and interfaced on a web browser, on a phone or tablet. Its an interesting user interface problem, of how to "dial in" something like 8 digits of precision and use it in a hobby where you scroll around a lot and nothing is channelized while there are a large number of ranges and point sources to be plotted or clicked on or navigated thru.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @03:24PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @03:24PM (#443151)

          > (hams are well known for cheapness, making their own antenna wire by gripping a solid copper penny tightly in two hands and stretching it into a 80 meter dipole)

          Thanks for the laugh!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @12:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @12:58PM (#443105)

      I find your views interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @01:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @01:48PM (#443116)

        >I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

        By all means. [fsf.org]

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @02:19PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @02:19PM (#443129)

      Do it, faggot! Linodes are cheap!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @05:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @05:40PM (#443215)

      You know.... usually I wouldn't bother feeding the troll. But obvious troll obviously doesn't know that HRD WAS free software for a LONG time. Not sure if it was open source or not. Then the core coordinator decided he could turn a buck by privatizing it.

      So, douchebag, you're probably welcome to investigate whether the source code was/is available and compile your own version from that. (You'll only have a couple of decades of radio interface development to tack on.) Come to that, you're VERY free to write an identical interface from scratch.

      Got your jollies off me yet, troll?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @10:56AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @10:56AM (#443683)

        You sound the like the guy with HRD (Rick) who started the whole mess!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @01:34PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @01:34PM (#443753)

          Of course I sound like him. I'm chewing somebody's ass.

          Differences are: 1) I'm not the co-owner of Soylent, and I'm not blacklisting the person and going to brick the troll's browser by making a fake version of the Soylent site. 2) I have no authority regarding the troll, and I'm not going to try and leave him hostile voicemails. 3) In the HRD story, the guy just left a bad review of the software and wasn't being a douchebag. Unlike the troll above.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GungnirSniper on Monday December 19 2016, @10:14AM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Monday December 19 2016, @10:14AM (#443045) Journal

    If they're Oracle-like the best way to proceed is in the other direction. They do not have good judgment if this idea even got out of a brainstorming session.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by zocalo on Monday December 19 2016, @12:19PM

      by zocalo (302) on Monday December 19 2016, @12:19PM (#443083)
      Definitely look into other options, although given the niche nature of the tool there might not be that many other options. I'm wondering though whether the abrupt about face was not entirely down to the negative PR and may have had something to do with Obama signing the CRFA into law [thenextweb.com] and the possibility they might get taken to the legal cleaners as well.
      --
      UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ledow on Monday December 19 2016, @11:42AM

    by ledow (5567) on Monday December 19 2016, @11:42AM (#443074) Homepage

    Do no business with a software company where this is even possible, let alone where they've put that system in place and got it to the point where support actually use it.

    If the software doesn't work offline, your business is reliant on them being co-operative.

    And they did it because you didn't like something about their software? God, just delete it yourself. Why would you touch a company, even with after-the-event common sense?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @12:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @12:37PM (#443095)

      Why? Because you want access to a dataset in the cloud, which the company owns, and the software provides access to that dataset. In such a situation, forget the software, reverse engineer the API, and if the company is uncooperative, invest in proxies.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by ikanreed on Monday December 19 2016, @05:06PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Monday December 19 2016, @05:06PM (#443203) Journal

      Did you know that this is quite easily possible with a great deal of auto-patching software you(yes you) use?

      Every single app on your phone is aware of your user identity if the company that made it wanted to fuck you over.

      Every single application with an authorization component can lock you out for little-to-no reason. While a firefox or a linux might have a really hard time doing that, in general, you can be fucked over by software companies at any time. And that's not even getting into cloud storage of your data.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday December 19 2016, @08:09PM

        by HiThere (866) on Monday December 19 2016, @08:09PM (#443296) Journal

        For some reason I've never trusted cloud storage of data...and I don't use gmail...and I don't (yet) have a smart phone.

        But while I do, to the extent feasible, keep myself from being exposed to this problem, if a company ever did this to me I would use extra care to not only publicize what they had done, but to avoid all *possible* contact with them. For a much lesser transgression on the part of Microsoft I switched first to Apple and then to Linux back before Linux had a decent word processor. (I never really considered StarWriter decent. I composed in HTML using a text editor instead. But I also bought several Linux word processors trying to find something better. Eventually StarWriter improved until it was better than composing in HTML, the others either stagnated or just disappeared.

        OTOH, I wasn't able to get my wife off of Apple until a couple of years ago, and she still misses her old applications. I kept a MSWind95 machine going for her until it died this year (no internet connection, of course).

        But the key here is local control. If you don't have local control, then you don't have control. You may have promises otherwise, but promises aren't truth, and you can't enforce them. At best you can ask someone else to enforce them on your behalf. Perhaps they will. eventually, but if they do they'll charge you for the service.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @08:33AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @08:33AM (#443622)

        Did you know that this is quite easily possible with a great deal of auto-patching software you(yes you) use?

        Yes, but I also know that if such a thing was to happen, I can replace pkgtools with portage just as easily as I replaced pacman with pkgtools or rpm with pacman before that.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by requerdanos on Monday December 19 2016, @03:00PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 19 2016, @03:00PM (#443143) Journal

    I quit with and don't recommend Windows because of their unrepentant spy-backdoor-controlfreak attitude that is frankly just what rms has been screaming about all these years. That's a bad thing that eliminates (not "reduces") trust in the company/software. So I use Linux and make do without any lost features due to not windowsing.

    I quit with and don't recommend ubuntu because of their unrepentant opt-out phone-home position. (It would have been fine were it opt-in only, like popcon.) Sure they reversed position, but they still think it was the right thing to have done and don't see anything wrong with it. Shuttleworth actually ridiculed users that criticized the move; rolling back the feature doesn't mean they are no longer a malicious organization, just one that got caught. Can't trust them, or at least it would be foolish to do so.

    Now we come to the thread linked in TFS, "Ham Radio Deluxe Support hacked my computer [qrz.com]".

    Side note: No, the software didn't hack your computer, but it certainly seems that it was malicious and damaging.

    In reading through the forum posts, it seems that one of the co-owners "Rick" was being an ass and being very, very malicious, and a different co-owner disagreed and tried to undo (most of) the damage, and then Rick came back and said he's sorry for being an ass over and over again and he won't do it again because they aren't letting him near customer service anymore.

    This is bad, to be sure, and reduces trust in the company--but it's better than the situations with respect to Microsoft and Canonical. The HRD folks are repentant and said they're sorry and will do better in the future. Neither Microsoft nor Canonical ever did that.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by pkrasimirov on Monday December 19 2016, @10:22PM

    by pkrasimirov (3358) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 19 2016, @10:22PM (#443397)
    Some people learn slowly. I will leave this here in case some of them care: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @12:51AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @12:51AM (#443461)

    When the Federal Government comes calling, the vendor will not be very happy that they bricked the hardware. This must violate at least one law.