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-   -   Why are we in beta hell here? (http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16201)

Bohica 02-13-2006 09:30 AM

Why are we in beta hell here?
 
You know -- I have a fairly complex installation -- with ~ 7 clients, and a fairly large server. It was stable for more than a year on sage 2.x. I did not play in the version 3 beta. I decided I did not want to use a 'production' setup -- if you will -- for beta testing. So I waited for the official release. Sucker. Now I occasionally miss airings because of spinning sage icons, have had to reload sage server FAR more than I have ever had to in the past, and am waiting for the next beta release to see if it improves HD playback and other bugs. WAF quotient is raising by the day. With every new beta release -- I have to run around the house like some wacko helpdesk engineer upgrading clients.... sort of upsetting...

Dekard 02-16-2006 12:43 PM

I feel your pain. I'm a new user, only a month in. I've got 2 clients, one is my tv and the other my pc. And I have been struggling for a month to get ANYthing stable. Its a very frustrating experience. One that honestly has me thinking about selling all my licenses to the highest bidder. I spent over $850 just setting up this system and a $49 tivo would have given me better support. Heck, for that price I could have gotten two with lifetime susbscripitions.

This is not what I signed up for.

mlbdude 02-16-2006 01:01 PM

Why not just run the last release version? I have had 4.13 running for a few months without any issues.

Dekard 02-16-2006 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mlbdude
Why not just run the last release version? I have had 4.13 running for a few months without any issues.


I'm running the latest clients for my windows clients and my linux server.

mlbdude 02-16-2006 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dekard
I'm running the latest clients for my windows clients and my linux server.

Well then why not run the beta and try and help them debug the issues with your setup?

Dekard 02-16-2006 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mlbdude
Well then why not run the beta and try and help them debug the issues with your setup?

I DID NOT sign up to be a beta tester. I am a paying customer and do not wish to help them finish the beta on a product they are SELLING. Thats the whole point of this thread, in my mind, a beta quality product is being sold.

Call it beta if thats where its at but don't sell it as a finished product.

mlbdude 02-16-2006 01:33 PM

Well, unfortunately they don't have access to every PC configuration and setup that exists in the world. They are just not that big of a company. If you would like your issues resolved you can hope someone else has it and is part of the beta or help your youself.

JUC 02-16-2006 01:40 PM

wow--kind of surprised at the tones on this thread. I think it is virtually impossible for sage to put out a product that will work perfectly with every possible hardware configuration out there today--it just can't happen. My understanding is the release version is the one that works well for many and most people. Beta's improve on bug fixes that crop up with certain hardware and also add functionality. For those having trouble i hope that you have submitted support requests and possibly started threads asking for help. The sage team can't fix what they don't know. Also--the whole point of a trial period is so a user can install the software and try it out to make sure that it works with the hardware they have. I suggest every prospective purchaser to thoroughly test out the trial and try to get it running before they purchase.

btw-you can't legally sell your licenses without the express authority of sage...

JUC


edit: mlbdude-you beat me to it! I stepped away from my desk for a few minutes in between writing this up and ---you did it again! On top of things to say the least.

BergoniaC 02-16-2006 02:15 PM

Software is always in BETA
 
IMO all software is always in BETA. I have not seen or used software that did not need a patch or a update for problems. If the software works on my system, I don't upgrade unless the upgrade addresses a secruity problem. If I do upgrade, for more features, I always keep a backup of the working program just encase I have to revert back.

sleonard 02-16-2006 02:19 PM

No one is twisting your arm and forcing you to use beta versions. Just because the company releases the betas for those here that are willing to install and test them doesn't mean you have to d/l and install them. It's your choice, simple as that.

If you are thinking of the reply that the latest beta has a neat new feature that you want or need then, well, wait till that neat new feature makes release status.

Lester Jacobs 02-16-2006 02:23 PM

I learned long ago that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I've got a Sage setup with three clients and it is the only way that TV gets watched in my house. That being said I have to be very careful to ensure that the system is reliable and stable. There's not only WAF but CAF (child acceptance factor) to contend with. I'm running 2.2.6 and I have zero issues. I never miss recordings, the server doesn't crash, etc. I don't actually remember the last time I rebooted the server.

So since it's working so beautifully I will not be upgrading in the short term. I play around with version 4 on my "development" box but there's no way that it's moving to my production system in the near future. I value WAF and CAF far too highly for that.

I will only upgrade when version 4 offers compelling (to me) features. Version 4 has lots of features that many people consider compelling but none that I consider compelling based on my personal situation. In addition, the "noise level" (i.e. the number of people posting issues with v4 that appear to have some validity) seems a bit too high for my taste right now.

So my policy is to upgrade only when two essential criteria are met:
1) The release I want to upgrade to has compelling new features (to me)
2) The "noise level" is low enough to indicate that most bugs have been found and fixed and thus there's less likelihood of a "situation" developing when I upgrade.

Version 4 hasn't met those two criteria yet for me so I'm sticking to the tried and true. I'll let the early adopters weed out the bugs for me :)


Lester

aperry 02-16-2006 02:38 PM

I think that part of the issue here is that things were working great for virtually everyone using the latest version of 2.x.

On November 2, 2005, SageTV released version 4.0 (LINK).

On December 15, 2005, they released version 4.1 (LINK).

Prior to these two releases, there were several version 3.x betas, so it was naturally assumed that Version 4.0/4.1 was actually a stable release.

For many, this simply has not been the case. I, in fact, have one system running fine, the other having problems, symptoms of which are being experienced by others, and all we get told is to try backing out to a previous version of Java, turning off 3D acceleration, turning off FSE, using overlay instead of VMR9, and a few others, and being told to offer up debug logs.

I'm sorry, but all of that smacks of being in beta mode.

Don't get me wrong, I really like SageTV and will likely stick with it, but this recent flurry of various forms of instability is starting to make me wonder.

Also, I really do appreciate the folks at SageTV, as a thread like this (or the others reporting problems) would not have survived in the Beyond TV forums.

Opus4 02-16-2006 02:41 PM

Regarding waiting for problems to get resolved, forum postings about problems, etc.: I will periodically ask SageTV about something I see repeatedly on the forum & the response I often get is along the lines of: "No one has submitted a bug report or contacted tech support about that." The forum is a good place to discuss problems & perhaps get a faster response from someone who happens to know the answer, but this is not the place to report a problem & then leave it at that. There is no guarantee that SageTV will see the problem in those cases -- this forum is not an official form of support.

I see no harm in trying the forum first, but if you have a continued unresolved issue, the best thing to do is to contact support for a release version or file a bug report for a beta version. If you run into a problem and just assume it will get fixed because a) it is a problem, and/or b) you've mentioned it in the forum, then you could be in a long wait for a fix. If SageTV is not aware of a problem, there is no way they could spend any time on it.

For those of you who do report issues directly to SageTV: Thanks! For anyone else: there are links for contacting SageTV in my sig lines and in the main forum index, among other places.

- Andy

aperry 02-16-2006 02:52 PM

Yeah, I think many of us figure that if we are having a problem and so are others, let the other person submit the problem and deal with it.

I have submitted a bug about the sound stuttering when a recording starts and you're watching something else, but I did not submit one for the instability that my mother-in-law's system is having because it seems to be semi-stable now that I have turned off her 3D acceleration (really though, it seemed to stabilize once I turned on debug logging... isn't that always the case though?).

Crashless 02-16-2006 03:01 PM

I can't help but throw my $.02 into the fire:

IMHO, SageTV's 'beta' releases aren't betas in the traditional sense. At first, I too was very weary of running anything that had the title on it. But after taking the initial risk in installing it, I realized that Sage does an excellent job with their beta releases, and I've only experienced a couple in the 2.5 years I've been running it that didn't improve drastically on the previous versions.

If you're having a particular issue, back up your setup, and give the newest version a try. What's the worst that could happen? If you're already experiencing problems, it's WAY more likely that the beta will help with it than hurt it. Plus, you have to weigh the downtime associated with an upgrade vs the downtime you're already experiencing as a result of the problem.

And like Opus said:
Quote:

I see no harm in trying the forum first, but if you have a continued unresolved issue, the best thing to do is to contact support for a release version or file a bug report for a beta version.
Sage employees do read the forum, but the best way to get attention is to contact them directly via bug submissions, or support requests. I've gotten files to test against my problem directly from these means, and let's face it; Sage is much more interested in your problems than the collective forum is.

:soapbox:

I'll get down now.

Dekard 02-16-2006 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lester Jacobs
I learned long ago that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I've got a Sage setup with three clients and it is the only way that TV gets watched in my house. That being said I have to be very careful to ensure that the system is reliable and stable. There's not only WAF but CAF (child acceptance factor) to contend with. I'm running 2.2.6 and I have zero issues. I never miss recordings, the server doesn't crash, etc. I don't actually remember the last time I rebooted the server.

So since it's working so beautifully I will not be upgrading in the short term. I play around with version 4 on my "development" box but there's no way that it's moving to my production system in the near future. I value WAF and CAF far too highly for that.

I will only upgrade when version 4 offers compelling (to me) features. Version 4 has lots of features that many people consider compelling but none that I consider compelling based on my personal situation. In addition, the "noise level" (i.e. the number of people posting issues with v4 that appear to have some validity) seems a bit too high for my taste right now.

So my policy is to upgrade only when two essential criteria are met:
1) The release I want to upgrade to has compelling new features (to me)
2) The "noise level" is low enough to indicate that most bugs have been found and fixed and thus there's less likelihood of a "situation" developing when I upgrade.

Version 4 hasn't met those two criteria yet for me so I'm sticking to the tried and true. I'll let the early adopters weed out the bugs for me :)


Lester

I have a very similiar strategy to you because I support so many pcs. If I went around updating every time a vendor offered me a patched update I'll be in a continous upgrade\repair cycle.

However, this isn't my case. I'm using RELEASE version software, not beta. And I paid for the privilege to do so. I have no option of using an older version or rolling back to an older version since I just started using Sage.

In consideration of your posting, perhaps Sage\Frey should put up another section on their file server. In addition to 'Beta' and 'Current Release' perhaps just add 'Newest Stable Release'.

edit: grammar

Dekard 02-16-2006 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Opus4
Regarding waiting for problems to get resolved, forum postings about problems, etc.: I will periodically ask SageTV about something I see repeatedly on the forum & the response I often get is along the lines of: "No one has submitted a bug report or contacted tech support about that." The forum is a good place to discuss problems & perhaps get a faster response from someone who happens to know the answer, but this is not the place to report a problem & then leave it at that. There is no guarantee that SageTV will see the problem in those cases -- this forum is not an official form of support.

I see no harm in trying the forum first, but if you have a continued unresolved issue, the best thing to do is to contact support for a release version or file a bug report for a beta version. If you run into a problem and just assume it will get fixed because a) it is a problem, and/or b) you've mentioned it in the forum, then you could be in a long wait for a fix. If SageTV is not aware of a problem, there is no way they could spend any time on it.

For those of you who do report issues directly to SageTV: Thanks! For anyone else: there are links for contacting SageTV in my sig lines and in the main forum index, among other places.

- Andy

I've reported my issue to Sage and am currently waiting their responce.

Dekard 02-16-2006 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sleonard
No one is twisting your arm and forcing you to use beta versions. Just because the company releases the betas for those here that are willing to install and test them doesn't mean you have to d/l and install them. It's your choice, simple as that.

If you are thinking of the reply that the latest beta has a neat new feature that you want or need then, well, wait till that neat new feature makes release status.

Please note myself and the OP are jokingly referring to the fact that their 'official releases' are actually beta quality. We are not using the beta installs rather using the latest official releases.

Dekard 02-16-2006 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BergoniaC
IMO all software is always in BETA. I have not seen or used software that did not need a patch or a update for problems. If the software works on my system, I don't upgrade unless the upgrade addresses a secruity problem. If I do upgrade, for more features, I always keep a backup of the working program just encase I have to revert back.

Developers are supposed to write stable, broadly useful code. When it behaves the way Sage tv 4.x has been it looses the ability to be successful in the market place since so few people can and will go through these problems to make it work. Only the devoted and hardcore will go through this.

If Sage feels the same way you do about software development they had better be prepared to be a small company since a small percentage of people will deal with these hassles. Instead we will sacrifice features for stable, mature solutions from a vendor willing to provide them.

edit: grammar

Dekard 02-16-2006 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aperry
Don't get me wrong, I really like SageTV and will likely stick with it, but this recent flurry of various forms of instability is starting to make me wonder.

Also, I really do appreciate the folks at SageTV, as a thread like this (or the others reporting problems) would not have survived in the Beyond TV forums.

Your post really reflects how I feel. Especially these two points, which is why I am quoting just them.

1: I really like Sage tv too, but I just started using it. I don't have the background you do with it. No fond memories of times the system ran two months without a reboot. No times when it actually worked for EVEN ONE WEEK without needing a reboot. Sigh... I just wish companies would MOVE SLOWER and stop adding features untill they have everything working.

2: Admins, mods and developers are to be commended for allowing this post to continue. I do hope it serves a purpose and helps further the development of Sagetv and Frey. THANK YOU!


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