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  1. #1
    sbz
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    Arrow The fundamental problem with Untangle: Hardware Compatibility

    This has been on my mind for a while:

    Recently, I've been spending more time around the forums and this has brought to light the core problem with the Untangle platform IMO: Hardware Support.

    The HCL is a joke in the wiki, and the forums are plagued with loads of posts with hardware problems and confusions. I understand this might not be a problem with the ultra-sophisticated linux pros around the forums, but untangle is really pushing this thing hard in standard markets such as Education and SMB.


    Did you know there's even an untangle education representative? Thats really great, it is. Monetizing untangle is important, and I agree with that. But whats not OK is pretending that standard school-based IT staff can readily deploy this thing on various hardware. They can't, its not versatile.

    The perfect example is some of these forum posts: Here Woah! thats a big one! 12 pages of hardware experiences, really?

    It's a rough situation, and honestly something needs to happen. I love untangle, and this is not a flogging, when it works, it works well. But these hardware problems are killing me.

    Untangle cannot live in the middle of "nerdy-linux network gateway solution" and "Education/SMB-ready solid solution", theres no middle ground to be found there.
    It's either ready for the real world, or not.

    What’s going on? What’s the plan? To be clear, it really would be a non-issue if untangle went the "appliance path" and just sold the unit. But instead, they offer their non-technical gang a pathetic Hardware Compatibility List and vague suggestions of "unofficial" appliance suppliers.

    I'm a big fan, and welcome discussion here...

  2. #2
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    So, you're offering to start testing various hardware configs against various loads and setups and then cleaning up the hcl with all this updated information for the community?

    Or is your post asking why everyone else isn't spending their resources doing it?

  3. #3
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    Yes, it is a fundamental problem. And that fundamental problem is solved fundamentally with resellers.

    Untangle doesn't need an HCL, Debian has that. Perhaps a link to the debian wiki needs made? Perhaps not... Linux isn't windows, Untangle isn't going to change the minds of every hardware manufacturer out there to all of a sudden support linux.

    If you don't want to do the home work and guess work required to find a working hardware platform. Get on the Untangle web site, click the partners link, stuff in your zip code and pick up the phone. Problem solved...

    You see, I DO hardware testing. But that information isn't free. It cost me quite a bit to get. The least you can do is buy a box from me if you want the information. Proactivens is in a similar boat. Or any other reseller that takes a half serious approach to this. The hardware support issue is half the reason we are here.
    Last edited by sky-knight; 06-03-2010 at 09:30 AM.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  4. #4
    Untangle Ninja dwasserman's Avatar
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    For me its clear, you can build your system or call a partner near your area and buy the box builded, tested, configurated, and most important to HCL: integrated in a coherent design in your envoirment.
    The world is divided into 10 kinds of people, who know binary and those not

  5. #5
    Untangle Ninja raditude's Avatar
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    The HCL was created a long time ago (5.x???), and UT has gone through huge upgrades since then. I have never ventured into that post, mainly because like any Linux distro (and believe me I dont consider myself a Linux Guru), when you are using your own hardware, it is trial and error to get it working due to non-uniform driver support. UT used to sell hardware if I recall, but then you had folks who wanted just the software, or a gazillion different tweaks to the hardware, that a small company just can not expect to support, when you are a "software" company, thus it was dropped and you had "resellers" who have picked up that part of it (there are a lot of them that post on here all the time), who can build to any specs.

    For the SMB's I work with, they have/had old hardware and we just worked with it to get it setup and operational, did our testing and rolled it into production. Some folks on here use old desktops, with minor modifications, others prefer server grade platforms, it all depends.

    The OP makes some good points to consider, my thought is to put in the wiki or somewhere that IF a company/SMB/EDU wants/needs an "appliance" seek a certified reseller. There is just too many hardware choices/options out there for the HCL to cover, and moreso the issue I see with it is that when a new version comes out every 6 months or so that HCL has to be tweaked. Microsoft can maintain an HCL because their OS is out there for 5-10+ years, and even with them there is hardware that is not on their "certified" HCL that works.

  6. #6
    Untangle Ninja proactivens's Avatar
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    I agree with skynight. The forums are filled with hardware woes, but had the OP's came to the forums and done a search first, they may have made a better educated purchasing decision. Take the T110 for example, how many people have posted in the forum about the T110 hell they have gone through with untangle? Is it untangles fault that dell T110's dont work with its software, is it dells fault the T110 doesnt work with untangle's software, or is it the buyers fault for purchasing a server without doing their homework first?

    I dont know about other resellers, but I have spent well over $10k in hardware research in the past 2 years figuring out what does and doesnt work. Don't expect me to be forth coming about what hardware im using in my appliances, I've spent way too much money to give that out for free.

    I agree with you on the unofficial hardware vendors thing, we do need a qualification program so we can get their seal of approval. We also need to have more visibility than just a wiki entry.

    Last note, untangle did sell hardware, it was called the XD server. They bailed from it in October of 2008 to focus more on software development.
    www.nexgenappliances.com
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  7. #7
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    But that is already happening!

    If any serious customer calls Untangle looking for pre-sales tech support they end up referred off to a local reseller if they don't have their own hardware they want to try...

    The only thing I can think that can be done beyond this is a link on the check out page to the partner link. The problem there, is for example, you can't buy an Untangle capable device from me without licensing something from Untangle first. I won't sell a box to put just open source on it, it isn't worth my time to do so.

    The real fix here IMHO is for Untangle to start supporting the channel fully. But they don't want to stop direct sales.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  8. #8
    Untangle Ninja raditude's Avatar
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    I agree with Sky-knight hardware testing is costly, I am not a reseller, but have done a lot of testing on different systems at the companies I do work for. The information is not uploaded to a forum HCL, because it changes too often, but when questions come up on the forums most that have done testing on similar hardware (resellers included) respond with advice freely, problem is a question searched for that hardware might be from v6.x, and not apply to v7.x the same way....

  9. #9
    Untangle Ninja proactivens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sky-knight View Post
    But that is already happening!

    If any serious customer calls Untangle looking for pre-sales tech support they end up referred off to a local reseller if they don't have their own hardware they want to try...

    The only thing I can think that can be done beyond this is a link on the check out page to the partner link. The problem there, is for example, you can't buy an Untangle capable device from me without licensing something from Untangle first. I won't sell a box to put just open source on it, it isn't worth my time to do so.

    The real fix here IMHO is for Untangle to start supporting the channel fully. But they don't want to stop direct sales.
    You hit that nail right on the head. Direct sales or partner sales, not both. I've lost deal to untangle direct, and they have lost deals to me. They win in both cases, but I lose in the first.
    www.nexgenappliances.com
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  10. #10
    Untangle Ninja Solignis's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree, you need to do your homework before you go out and just buy a machine and then hope it supports Linux at all let alone Debian.

    Personally I love the way the Untangle community has formed. The idea that you have "homebrew" rigs that run great for people like me. Then for people that need a little more uh assurance you have resellers like Sky-Knight and Proactivens who can provide a solid built rig that can be backed by support for people who require it. Untangle is IMO inching into a perfect place that will suite them well.
    “Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.” - Linus Torvalds

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