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Support Issues & Generalness

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by shannon, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. shannon

    shannon Well-Known Member

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    Something just occured to me while reading the "Trying to get support" thread, and rather then take someone else's thread off in a new direction, I figured I'd start a new one for this...

    After a year running cPanel (and paying a whole lot more a month then the $20/server people will be picking it up from Rackshack for shortly!), I have to say, support has been..... leaving something to be desired.. Don't get me wrong, I know the cP team is busy, and those times when I have actually emailed @cpanel.net for anything, I've gotten fairly quick responses (Granted, I think I've done it twice in a year.. once a sales inquiry, and once regarding some idiot and his DMCA notice regarding the Default cP theme...)

    For instance, what ever happened to bugzilla? It proved invaluable to me MANY times trying to track down little issues that cropped up and see how others had encountered/fixed them. Then one day it just disappeared.. replaced instead with a bug form that (I assume) emails the cP team, but gives no way to search previous entries/etc. No word from anyone as to what happened, and I (along with someone else) even asked here in the forums (about a week apart) "Hey, anybody know what happened to bugzilla?!".... but no answer, nadda, nothing.

    Of course, it had a bad side... mainly letting everyone know just how many bugs have existed in cPanel that will apparently *never* get fixed (ie: Counter.cgi with SuExec permissions problems, FileManager Permissions Problems, etc, etc, etc). Things that are extremely MINOR annoyances, but when the issues sit unresolved for months and months (and now, over a year on the counter.cgi issue, that I know of, and I would assume, longer then that in reality)... it begins to weight into the "Do these people really care?" category.

    I mean, the basic problem with the FileManager permissions problem (the bug I know of in it off hand) is that the FM *never* shows the "World" permissions checkmarked, even if the file is set to 777. I'm sure it's an extremely minor issue, as the user and group checkboxes work just fine, and it's JUST a display issue (if you set the permissions, they'll stay, but then if you go back again, they show as not set once more!)... So it's not exactly a coding issue on the scale of say, writting a new IMAP server.... yet it's an issue that's sat unresolved for months on end while other features get added.

    Adding features is great... but if something is already in the system, it should work. If it doesn't, fixing it should get atleast the same priority as adding new things, if not higher. Bugzilla atleast gave everyone the ability to look up and see if a problem was already reported, and if it was, maybe someone else had a solution to it.. if it wasn't reported, then you could report it... and maybe hope that someday someone would take the time to read the bug and go hunting.
     
  2. SageBrian

    SageBrian Well-Known Member

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    Wow, what an interesting approach. :) Making sure things work before adding new things to it. That might revolutionize the industry.:cool:
     
  3. jamesbond

    jamesbond Well-Known Member

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    Well in my opinion the problem is the following.
    Cpanel is being developed by only 1 person, Nick (bdraco)..correct me if I'm wrong.

    He has some people that respond to "easy" tickets, and if it's a complicated issue you just get an easy answer which is not a solution to your problem:)

    With all that money that is coming in every month, I think the time has come for DarkOrb to expand.
    Wouldn't it be a good thing to at least hire another excellent developer who works on optimizing and fixing bugs while Nick can go on adding new features?
     
    #3 jamesbond, Apr 11, 2003
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2003
  4. SoftmegUK

    SoftmegUK Well-Known Member

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    as it has been said before, one guy working flat out will do a lot better job than two guys trying 2 communicate with each otha...
     
  5. jamesbond

    jamesbond Well-Known Member

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    This may be the case on the short term, but on long term it is not good to have such a huge project depend on 1 person.
     
  6. shannon

    shannon Well-Known Member

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    Yes but there *are* things that could be done by someone else to lighten the workload for Nick so he could focus on just what he does best.

    I'm not knockin the work Nick has done, and for one man on a mission, he's done great as far as cP is concerned... but there is only so much one person can do alone, period. cP is great, we know this, if there was a better solution for end user control panels we wouldn't be here right now. I'm not suggesting that Nick get a partner, and the two of them sit down and write every line of code together, that would be ineffective and horrid. I'm suggesting that someone do some of the more mundane things that Nick's too busy to mess with.

    Things like bugs that have sat for ages, like the file manager bug, or the counter.cgi bug. Things that quite honestly, Nick probably hasn't looked at in so long that it wouldn't matter if the person who dug into it was him or someone else who wasn't as intimately handy with the cP codebase.

    Or general support issues. for instance, as someone who's used Bugzilla as a dev in a production enviroment with many people submitting to it, I'd feel safe to venture a guess that Bugzilla disappeared for one of two reasons:

    1) So many duplicate and bugs that were not really bugs posted that he got tired of spending more time deleting/flagging crap then actually coding/working.

    2) Someone realized that having a publically accessable database containing every unfixed bug/glitch/security hole that exists in the system was not a good idea.

    Both of these can be solved. #2 by only letting registered cPanel admins into it. (ie: a link in root WHMs as the 'quick and easy, but not totally secure' method). and #1 by having someone other then Nick go through and prune out the crap first. Bugs start new, person checks new bugs regulary, sees if they are dupes, makes sure the problem really exists, tries to find out what they can about it, makes the appropriate notes, and then assigns the bug to Nick and makes an educated guess at a priority. Then Nick avoids all the hassle and crap of seeing 50 new bugs all marked "MySQL Table Corrupt! Fix it!" with no other details.

    Yes, we have the forums here for researching problems... but part of the nice thing about Bugzilla was being able to see a list of all bugs, and going "Ok, here's 5 new things I need to be aware of, because they're probably going to bite me in the butt in the next day or two".
     
  7. rweiss

    rweiss Well-Known Member
    PartnerNOC

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    Agreed

    You guys are totally correct in what you're saying, and I'm hoping Nick / the CP People read this forum.

    I think DarkORB leaves a bit to be desired in many ways. It's not like I don't like CPanel, obviously I'm impressed with it and that's why I coughed up the money for it and am using it to host clients.

    Still, when it comes down to it, companies like Ensim and Plesk seem much more like "real" companies. Their websites are far more professional, they have "real" sales people, they have a better support system in place, documentation is far better (the packaged CP documentation is for version 4, and includes screenshots of the very ugly and outdated "default" theme).

    I mean, DarkORB has created a VPS system (the vserver files listed on the download page) and has created no documentation (that I can see) or propoganda of any sort about this stuff.

    Okay, so I'm lacking focus here.

    What I mean to say is that I think DarkORB could really gain some credibility and even win over users of Ensim/Plesk if they were to make a few changes.

    What changes?

    1. New, professional-looking website which is up-to-date, bright, and nice looking (take a look at Ensim's site or Plesk).
    2. More developers -- what would happen if, god forbid, Nick had a medical emergency and had to spend a few weeks in the hospital -- would no bugs get fixed? Would no features get added? A company shouldn't be so heavily dependant on one person.
    3. REAL Salespeople that work regular business hours -- they could accept sales calls and during "spare" time actually make calls to existing users of plesk/ensim and try to get them to switch.
    4. A "real" company with a professional image -- not sure if DarkORB is incorporated, but it'd be a good idea. Also investing in a professional phone system rather than their current system might be better. I don't mean that they should go all out, just try to have more of a professional image. Also, the little things do matter -- like misspellings in the CPanel documentation (and DarkORB themes / error messages). Hire a proofreader.

      [/list=1]

      I hope it doesn't seem like I'm making fun of CPanel... as I said, I really like it. It's one of the most full-featured control panels and has a lot more potential than the others. I just think that certain changes are in order -- and would be of great help to DarkORB.

      Okay, so who agrees? Anyone, anyone? I really think that in the end, this would make DarkORB/CPanel far more profitable. What we need here is business development in general. I think DarkORB's current mode of thinking isn't focused enough on the future.

      Just my thoughts. Nick, if you're interested in help with the items that I've mentioned above, let me know and we'll chat.

      -Russ
     
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