SageTV Community Why are we in beta hell here?

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#41
02-16-2006, 09:54 PM
 dbfresh23 Sage Fanatic Join Date: Oct 2004 Location: New York Posts: 894
Quote:
 Originally Posted by mayamaniac SageTV is very complicated software and not easy to make "stable" for all PC onfigurations.
Even more so for the Linux version since much fewer people have it and can offer advice on it. Trying to move it to another distro adds even more complication. Have you even tried it with the default ISO installation before all of this bashing(Dekard)? Are your linux skills up to the challenge?
#42
02-16-2006, 09:56 PM
 Crashless Sage Icon Join Date: Oct 2003 Location: Los Angeles, CA Posts: 1,224
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Dekard Older? I'm running the latest release version! The beta is better than the release? You must be joking.
That is precisely what I am saying. Have you tried it? If you haven't, you have no basis to continue arguing. If you have, and your particular problem is listed as fixed, but it's still broken, then we may continue.

But you still haven't said what your problem is, and until it's expressed, I'm convinced this is a worthless topic.

Quote:
 (I understand what you mean about the bug fixes in beta, but you and I are coming from two different worlds. Stable means it just runs. Not that I have to configure the heck out of it, try a multitude of different versions to find one that works for me or submit multiple bug fixes trying to find a fix for a product that is already supposed to be RELEASE worthy. Doesn't anyone here appreciate stable software?!)
I could swear we've had this same exact point played out on this forum before...I wonder if I could find it to save everyone's time.
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#43
02-16-2006, 10:01 PM
 davin Sage Advanced User Join Date: Jan 2005 Location: El Segundo, CA Posts: 138
Dekard, would you mind listing your HW/SW details? It may ring a bell with someone who has had a similar problem.
#44
02-16-2006, 10:36 PM
 PGPfan Sage Fanatic Join Date: Apr 2003 Location: Oldtown, Idaho USA Posts: 862
Thanks, Davin! That's step 1 to help out Dekard.

As for software business, I can speak about how it works(ed) at Microsoft while I was there. Simply stated, all software has bugs. A lot of them. What do you consider a 'bug'? At MS, a spelling or puncuation error in a dialog box or help file is considered a bug. Add that to actual functional errors in the code and the buglist can get very large indeed. MS bashers commonly say that there are 10's of thousands of 'bugs' in Windows XP which may or may not be correct but still begs the question "what is considered a bug".

Since there is no way to find and quash all 'bugs' in software, one has to determine an acceptable level to promote a software build to a "shippable" product build. For XP the bar was 85% as I recall. Of the myriad of hardware/software combination out there, most beta testers (in house and outside) found no bugs worthy of stopping shipment. Bugs were still found and added to the que to get fixed, but that got balanced with how likely the bug was to crop up in the installed user base, who's fault it was (MS, or a vendor supplied driver, is there a work around, etc.), and how will the fix impact the rest of the product.

All in all, it's a HUGE challenge and in my opinion, all things considered, MS did a GREAT job.

Now, the Sage boys have a huge challenge as well with a fraction of a fraction of the resources that MS has. They have done an INCREDIBLE job. These guys have been doing things that even MS said 'wasn't possible' like true multi-tuner capture, shared source EPG, etc. I don't want to imply that Sage is perfect as there is no such thing as perfect software, but these brothers do 'it' like nobody else I've ever seen. You will see on these forums that a lot of posts are folks with trouble they are having. I know from experience at Microsoft that the vast majority of satisfied users will NEVER comment in forums about there successes with the product. No different here.

For good or bad, we are always going to be somewhat of a group of beta testers and Sage (and ALL other software) will continue to have bugs, and work to correct them. This is the REAL nature of the software business. Fortunately Sage made some choices in the beginning that have paid off, like the 'requirement' that capture cards use a hardware encoder. Smart move, it reduces the possible hardware variabilities and makes a more robust platform. True that Sage 4.x isn't as stable as 2.2x was, wait until we get to 4.2x or 4.3x or whatever it will be. After all, we lived with 2.x for what, like a year and a half?

Stablility will get there in this version as well, just be patient!

-PGPfan
#45
02-16-2006, 10:57 PM
 Dekard Sage Advanced User Join Date: Jan 2006 Location: Atlanta, Ga Posts: 249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by dbfresh23 Even more so for the Linux version since much fewer people have it and can offer advice on it. Trying to move it to another distro adds even more complication. Have you even tried it with the default ISO installation before all of this bashing(Dekard)? Are your linux skills up to the challenge?
i'm not really sure what you are referring to. I'm using a simple install cd, the exact latest image provided by Sage.
#46
02-16-2006, 11:07 PM
 PGPfan Sage Fanatic Join Date: Apr 2003 Location: Oldtown, Idaho USA Posts: 862
Dekard, are you on broadband? If so, you might consider getting a copy of Gentoo that Sage is using that doesn't have any Sage installed in it. If you can get it running stable, and with the latest driver builds in it, that will go a long way towards identifing where your troubles may lay.

Only at that point would I re-try the Sage.iso of it. Like I mentioned, I'm no Linux guy (I use Windows XPembedded, myself) but this is how I'd go about trying to resolve your issues.

-PGPfan
#47
02-17-2006, 06:58 AM
 stanger89 SageTVaholic Join Date: May 2003 Location: Marion, IA Posts: 15,186
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Dekard ] Maybe I'm missing the whole point of this post but you seem to misunderstand. I'm talking about release software here. Not beta. If you want to make another point or clarify this one I'll take another look. Seems you are confusing my post to be talking about beta software when I'm talking about release.
My point was simply this: As a developer, how do you know when your software is stable/ready for release?
1) It's stable for you (the dev).
2) It's stable for your users.

1) is easy.
2) is hard, you have to rely on bug/problem reports from your beta testers and user community.

Sage is a small company (used to be just Jeff and Dan, not to long ago), they simply don't have the resources to rely only on 1, they have to rely heavilly on 2, otherwise they wouldn't be able to hit their price point or maintain their free upgrade, free EPG policy.

As such, it is the responsibility of the users to report problems. And I'm probably as guilty as the next guy of not filing problem reports from time to time. But if you like Sage, and have a problem, file a report so they can fix it.

As Andy said, many times here I've seen complaints from (usually a single or few users) that go on for versions, inevitably, Narflex will drop in and mention that nobody reported it.

I have no doubt that Sage puts out a release version with known bugs, it happens with all software. But I also have no doubt that Sage puts out code, that to the best of their knowledge, is stable and release worthy. That's one of the great things about them, Sage's betas are (in my experience) as good, if not better than many programs' release code.

I understand the desire to not have to deal with problems, but if you have one report it. A debug log and steps to reproduce the problem are usually all that are needed. Heck, they may even have it fixed already and will be able to point you to a version with the fix.
#48
02-17-2006, 07:45 AM
 tmiranda SageTVaholic Join Date: Jul 2005 Location: Central Florida, USA Posts: 5,469
I just had to chime in on this one. Here is my take:

- If you want something that is very simple, works just about all the time, and is cheap buy TiVo.

- If you want something that is complicated, feature-rich, works most of the time, and is cheap, buy Sage. (I just bought another two client licenses and a MediaMVP license 30 minutes ago.)

- If you want something that is complicated, works just about all of the time, and is very expensive, buy ..... well I'm not sure that exists in the consumer market.

Look at the aerospace industry (as I believe Dekard said he is involved with). Those planes are extremely complicated and work just about all of the time and as a result they are extremely expensive. They are designed, redesigned, computer simulated, modelled, tested, refined, re-tested and re-tested. As a result they are very stable and VERY expensive.

If you wanted Sage to have near perfect reliability on nearly all configurations it would cost thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per license. I'd never buy that and neither would anybody else. I'll settle for decent reliability at a low cost. If it really bombs you can get your money back from Sage.

Tom
#49
02-17-2006, 11:16 AM
 Dekard Sage Advanced User Join Date: Jan 2006 Location: Atlanta, Ga Posts: 249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by stanger89 My point was simply this: As a developer, how do you know when your software is stable/ready for release? 1) It's stable for you (the dev). 2) It's stable for your users. 1) is easy. 2) is hard, you have to rely on bug/problem reports from your beta testers and user community. Sage is a small company (used to be just Jeff and Dan, not to long ago), they simply don't have the resources to rely only on 1, they have to rely heavilly on 2, otherwise they wouldn't be able to hit their price point or maintain their free upgrade, free EPG policy. As such, it is the responsibility of the users to report problems. And I'm probably as guilty as the next guy of not filing problem reports from time to time. But if you like Sage, and have a problem, file a report so they can fix it. As Andy said, many times here I've seen complaints from (usually a single or few users) that go on for versions, inevitably, Narflex will drop in and mention that nobody reported it. I have no doubt that Sage puts out a release version with known bugs, it happens with all software. But I also have no doubt that Sage puts out code, that to the best of their knowledge, is stable and release worthy. That's one of the great things about them, Sage's betas are (in my experience) as good, if not better than many programs' release code. I understand the desire to not have to deal with problems, but if you have one report it. A debug log and steps to reproduce the problem are usually all that are needed. Heck, they may even have it fixed already and will be able to point you to a version with the fix.

I have filed a bug report, I'm still waiting for Sage's response.
#50
02-17-2006, 11:18 AM
 stanger89 SageTVaholic Join Date: May 2003 Location: Marion, IA Posts: 15,186
Quote:
 Originally Posted by tmiranda - If you want something that is complicated, works just about all of the time, and is very expensive, buy ..... well I'm not sure that exists in the consumer market.
One example would be the VWB MediaReady 5000. Which runs Sage and is (I assume) qualled on the specific configuration it ships with.

Quote:
 Look at the aerospace industry (as I believe Dekard said he is involved with).
Me actually

Quote:
 Those planes are extremely complicated and work just about all of the time and as a result they are extremely expensive. They are designed, redesigned, computer simulated, modelled, tested, refined, re-tested and re-tested. As a result they are very stable and VERY expensive.
Here's a classic example:
Aviation certified Garmin GPSMAP 376:
http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap396/
$2695.00 Consumer model Garmin GPSMAP 376C: http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap376c/$999.99

Same thing (essentially) but the aviaiton one is 2.6x the price due to the testing it goes through.
#51
02-17-2006, 11:18 AM
 Dekard Sage Advanced User Join Date: Jan 2006 Location: Atlanta, Ga Posts: 249
Quote:
I understand what you are saying. I didn't realize the company was only 2 people. That makes it more of a community project, for sure. Still, version 3 has been reported as a unstable beta solution. One would think instead of adding features and calling it version 4 they would stabilize 3 and release that. When they moved on and went to ver 4 then released it without it being stable it makes it look like they are not as interested in a stable release as they are in moving to the new release. I understand the excitement of getting a new product complete, it is a joy! Still, take the time to do it right and the rewards will be greater!
#52
02-17-2006, 11:23 AM
 Dekard Sage Advanced User Join Date: Jan 2006 Location: Atlanta, Ga Posts: 249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by PGPfan Dekard, are you on broadband? If so, you might consider getting a copy of Gentoo that Sage is using that doesn't have any Sage installed in it. If you can get it running stable, and with the latest driver builds in it, that will go a long way towards identifing where your troubles may lay. Only at that point would I re-try the Sage.iso of it. Like I mentioned, I'm no Linux guy (I use Windows XPembedded, myself) but this is how I'd go about trying to resolve your issues. -PGPfan

Getting Linux or windows stable hasn't been an issue, i've been running into a myriad of small bugs in the sage client and server. Mainly they have revolved around the client or the server showing all the signs of being unstable. I could name a list of issues from constant crashes, video quality having severe issues, loss of connection, stuttering... and on and on...

Yes, I understand every one of these problems can be solved with the support of Sage or the group. But it seems like pushing off work onto us\me when Sage isn't handling it internally. And saying they are a small company and we should just understand (like other posters have) is an excuse, really, for poor development and poor support. If it was open source I'd understand and we wouldn't be having this discussion. But this is paid software, one they are promising is stable, reliable and easy to use.

It simply does not live up to its promise.
#53
02-17-2006, 11:29 AM
 Dekard Sage Advanced User Join Date: Jan 2006 Location: Atlanta, Ga Posts: 249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by stanger89 Here's a classic example: Aviation certified Garmin GPSMAP 376: http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap396/ $2695.00 Consumer model Garmin GPSMAP 376C: http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap376c/$999.99 Same thing (essentially) but the aviaiton one is 2.6x the price due to the testing it goes through.
To be fair, you have to admit that I'm not complaining about the price. I make a good living and can afford to spend $850 setting up a media pc\server. I don't mind doing it. What I do mind is when I spend almost$200 for Sage licenses and the product doesn't do what its advertised to do.

Others may be willing to accept paying good money for bad products and say 'well, you get what you pay for'. I've got better things to do with my money then waste it buying products and then taking billable hours and converting them into time to setup\debug\beta test something that claimed to have been setup\debug\beta tested by the developer.

For that same money I could have gotten a heck of a nice ________. Instead of buying whatever else, I have spent it on Sage then spent *countless* hours trying to setup\debug\beta test an unstable product. That hurts.
#54
02-17-2006, 12:03 PM
 SprDtyF350 Sage Aficionado Join Date: Jan 2004 Location: Southern Maryland Posts: 436
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Dekard If we, as consumers, accept whatever garbage that software developers want to shove down our throats what will we be left with?
I think I understand what you mean but irregardless your attitude sucks!! If you don't like it, don't use it.. Nobody is twisting your arm, or holding a gun to your head. I don't think you give folks enough credit for having a brain. If the software really was junk.. I really don't think most of us would still be using it just so we could bang our heads on the wall..

I have been using Sage for a couple of years now and have found that getting the hardware combination right is key. Yes, it is a little trial and error. I now run a 4 tuner server with 3 clients, and 4 MVPs and I can't remember when the last time was I had to re-boot the server. And yes, I am using Version 4.

Lighten up....
#55
02-17-2006, 12:21 PM
 stanger89 SageTVaholic Join Date: May 2003 Location: Marion, IA Posts: 15,186
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Dekard I understand what you are saying. I didn't realize the company was only 2 people.
Just to be clear, I said "used to be", there's more people but Sage is still a very small company, probably the smallest of the PVR developers if I had to guess.

Quote:
 That makes it more of a community project, for sure. Still, version 3 has been reported as a unstable beta solution. One would think instead of adding features and calling it version 4 they would stabilize 3 and release that. When they moved on and went to ver 4 then released it without it being stable it makes it look like they are not as interested in a stable release as they are in moving to the new release.
FWIW, the only feature they added to 3, was the inclusion of Studio. And I'll say again, I have no doubt that they thought 3 was stable (I know I had no problems with 3).

Please understand, I'm not trying to make lite of your issues, but more, I'm trying to make you understand "why" it is the way it is.

For the record, I, and many others have completly stable SageTV setups. My setup has be stable through every release since 1.x. I'm not saying there haven't been bugs I've encountered, I have, and they've been fixed (or at the very least, acknowledged), but I can't recall experiencing a showstopper yet.

My server has been up for 143 days now. I only take Sage down when an update is out. I run the latest version (beta or not) within days (if not minutes) of it being released. And I'm not alone in these results, the same sentiments are echoed by many others here.

The point is, there must be something different about your configuration that Sage has not encountered before, and with the limited resources they have, the only way they can fix them is for users to report them.

I can understand your frustration, but just because you've had problems, doesn't mean everyone is experiencing them, or "accepting" them, or that Sage is knowingly releasing a "buggy" product. If Sage new about the problems, they'd have fixed them, or at least be trying to fix them.

#56
02-17-2006, 12:25 PM
 dbfresh23 Sage Fanatic Join Date: Oct 2004 Location: New York Posts: 894
Quote:
 Originally Posted by SprDtyF350 I think I understand what you mean but irregardless your attitude sucks!!
I think you hit the nail on the head!

I did notice one thing though. The SageTV store doesn't mention (that I could find anyway) that there is no support with the Linux version. OEM doesn't always mean unsupported, maybe they should clear that up during the check out process. Basically if he didn't read through the forums before buying, he didn't know he was buying an unsupported product.
#57
02-17-2006, 12:33 PM
 lovingHDTV Sage Icon Join Date: Jul 2003 Posts: 1,019
I know when MCE came out a lot of people complained about Microsoft not releasing to the public, but only to OEMs.

This thread is exactly that reason for their descision. If you want something in between Sage and Tivo you can buy a pre-built MCE box, HP builds a very nice one. It will work for you out of the box, the media extender will work with Xbox and Xbox360. It can record and playback both HD and SD content.

You do give up some flexibility on how it can be extended and modified for your own situation, but if this appeals to you I would recommend going the MCE route.

My brother has done so and loves it. It suits his and his families needs. Maybe they are more inline with yours also.

As for Sage I have been using it since release 1.0. My 2.0 release was rock solid and was a joy to use. I chose to upgrade to 4.0 to get HD content capability. Since then it has been a battle, similar to the version 1.0 battle. I get the same complaints from my wife and children about Sage hung, Sage won't playback the recording, etc. I file bug reports, and am eagerly waiting the next release as it is supposed to address a couple of my specific issues. I expect it to get solid again, but share frustrations at the moment.

Software does have bugs, software has been and always will be sold early. I would at a software company that sells software for engineering. It costs about \$750k per year per seat. It has bugs and always will, so cost is not any kind of indicator towards quality. It is far more involved than that.

That saying I do this that rapid growth and capability comes from software being released as it is. If every company sat on their software until everything was perfect they would not be in business, and software growth would stagnate.

In the end it is just TV, if you miss the first showing you can catch in the summer as a rerun. If it was really really good, you can catch it as a re-run for the next 10 years.

All this is of course IMHO.
#58
02-17-2006, 01:31 PM
 aperry Sage Expert Join Date: Jan 2005 Posts: 680
Quote:
 Originally Posted by lovingHDTV In the end it is just TV, if you miss the first showing you can catch in the summer as a rerun. If it was really really good, you can catch it as a re-run for the next 10 years.
Not on all shows, but I see your point. I lost a particular episode of "Ed" back in my pre-Sage days because my local affiliate chose to show a Billy Graham special instead. When I asked when they would air the Ed episode, they said they had no plans to do so, but I could catch it in reruns. Two weeks later, it was announced that Ed would not be renewed, so I got no reruns. I think now, TBS is actually running old episodes, but I have long since moved on (except for my disbelief that my affiliate would pre-empt a first-run show to show Billy Graham)...
#59
02-17-2006, 04:26 PM
 mayamaniac Sage Icon Join Date: May 2004 Posts: 2,177
Quote:
 Originally Posted by dbfresh23 I did notice one thing though. The SageTV store doesn't mention (that I could find anyway) that there is no support with the Linux version. OEM doesn't always mean unsupported, maybe they should clear that up during the check out process. Basically if he didn't read through the forums before buying, he didn't know he was buying an unsupported product.
I agree, if there is none or limited support for Linux OEM version, then it should be clearly stated somewhere on the product page. But common sense will tell you that anything with the word "linux" on it means "use at your own risk". I can't even get Gentoo OS to install nevermind configuring a complicated software like SageTV, which is hard enough with Windows. So if I bought SageTV linux, I bet I would be pulling out my hair out too, although I would expect it to have many problems. I wouldn't come in the forum and rant about how could SageTV sell such an unstable product.

Anyway, this topic has been beaten to death. Everything has been said and understood, lets all move on.
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Mayamaniac

- SageTV 7.1.9 Server. Win7 32bit in VMWare Fusion. HDHR (FiOS Coax). HDHR Prime 3 Tuners (FiOS Cable Card). Gemstone theme.
- SageTV HD300 - HDMI 1080p Samsung 75" LED.
#60
02-17-2006, 04:31 PM
 Dekard Sage Advanced User Join Date: Jan 2006 Location: Atlanta, Ga Posts: 249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by mayamaniac Anyway, this topic has been beaten to death. Everything has been said and understood, lets all move on.
Peace!
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