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Updates and Minefields

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rpvw, May 17, 2017.

  1. rpvw

    rpvw Well-Known Member

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    It is a common practice, in some parts of the world, to drive herds of cattle into minefields to see what is going to blow up.

    Obviously the cattle are not terribly impressed by this, but they have little choice or say in the matter.

    Please cPanel developers - don't treat us like cattle. Not only is it something of an insult to the customers that pay your wages, but we deserve much better and want, and should receive, a polished well tested and proven product - not one where something blows up or is broken almost every time there is an update or upgrade !

    Perhaps the ridiculously accelerated release schedule is putting you guys under intolerable pressure to make deadlines, and stuff is getting pushed out without adequate testing, oversight and audit.

    Perhaps the whole policy needs reviewing ?

    Perhaps I just need more whiskey ...........
     
    #1 rpvw, May 17, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  2. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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    What tier are you running on your servers if I may ask? :)

    Also, that cattle thing is a terrible picture, jussayin...
     
  3. rpvw

    rpvw Well-Known Member

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    Running the 64.0.21 RELEASE General Availability - Recommended tier.

    I am aware I can drop down to Stable (although for some reason not to LTS which claims to be unavailable even though the Downloads | cPanel, Inc. page lists the current LTS at 11.64.0.21 which is exactly the version reported under Stable and Release.)

    I rather hope the next 64.0.22 release (at Current at the moment) will fix much of what is broken in 64.0.21

    Indecently, whilst I should love to be able to take credit for the Minefield analogy, I must attribute it to Andrew Orlowski, who used it in an article about some unrelated software in The Register.
     
    #3 rpvw, May 17, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  4. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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  5. rpvw

    rpvw Well-Known Member

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    Yes the SSH issue, and the EA4 issues we are seeing (acknowledged and fix pending), and the silly new size of the log output box in the updater interface which I guess was intended to make it 'Mobile Device' friendly, but somehow forgot to make it friendly for users on normal screens, the shortfalls of the 2 new editors in the file manager (although cPanel could be forgiven as they are only using someone else's badly constructed and tested code), the lamentable instability of cphulk that seems to fall over and gets restated on every update (or when the wind changes direction - I haven't quite worked out what is causing it yet), the failure of pdns to bind to its UDP port after a server reboot leaving DNSSEC un-resolvable for any domain using it, the failure of the name servers to run after a reboot (I have to wait for tailwatchd to restart and activate them)

    Some trivial, and some (SSH and EA4) quite important, although all manageable, they are all stressful for conscientious server administrators trying to service their own customers.

    And there may yet be more, undiscovered, adventures to be had :-D
     
    #5 rpvw, May 17, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  6. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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    The issue I linked to, a security update of course.
    Agreed, annoying. Not a show stopper though.

    I wouldn't list this under the cattle metaphor. The Ace editor is the best File Manager editor cPanel has ever had, IMO. Taking some getting used to for sure, but again, this isn't a minefield issue, is it?

    I'm not aware of this issue.

    Have you reported this issue?

    Speaking for myself only here, your feedback is as always, a good thing. Leading cattle to their deaths in minefield is a bit over the top though.. ;)
     
  7. rpvw

    rpvw Well-Known Member

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    Did I intend to be controversial ? Yes, of course I did !

    I could have used analogies of Rats or Guinea Pigs used in pharmaceutical labs, or Cats and Dogs still used in the makeup industry. Whatever I used would have upset someone. and probably have caused equal controversy or distress.

    The real point is not to dissect the minutiae of the errors or omissions, but rather to provoke a conversation and awareness of what I see as the underlying issue, that of the burden on the developers of the upgrade schedule, and the resulting, and inevitable, reduction in testing and quality control time.

    My belief is the vast majority of cPanel administrators would, of course, like to see the latest features and developments, in a rock stable environment, delivered before they even knew they wanted or needed them - however, since we know that isn't going to happen in a real world, I am equally convinced that most would accept a slightly slower delivery for the sake of quality and stability.

    I should welcome the opinions of other server Root Administrators on this subject, and perhaps you can all either tell me to retire to the bottom of my whiskey bottle and keep my thoughts to myself, ignore this conversation entirely which will have the same effect, or we can start a movement (with full orchestration and five part harmony, and pictures with circles and arrows on, and writing on the back explaining what each one was) and persuade cPanel to SLOW DOWN - even if its just a little ;)
     
    #7 rpvw, May 17, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  8. Havri

    Havri Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    Unfortunately, to a certain degree I feel the same as rpvw. In the last one and a half or two years something in the development process changed at cPanel. Maybe some new development sprints, maybe someone new that makes some wrong decisions... Who knows... What is for sure is that the pace is a bit too rapid and things don't get tested out properly and long enough.

    Of course, that doesn't mean it's all bad. cPanel always found a way to fix things in the long run and they managed this forum well by answering users' questions. Besides, many improvements were made to the cPanel stack and services.

    In conclusion, the direction is good, but the testing phase is a bit neglected. Maybe in the test environment everything is working properly, but that's not the purpose of implementing new features and upgrades. Production is the real test.

    Thank you.
     
  9. rpvw

    rpvw Well-Known Member

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    I felt that the readers of this thread deserved a fuller perspective than I had perhaps given.

    The difficulties and complexities of producing commercial or fos software are not really within the scope of these forums. Suffice it to say that the moral and ethical obligations of producing good and reliable software generally outweigh the easy way out of hiding behind some 'fit for purpose' legal loophole.

    It is easy to critique software for not having this or that, or not working as one might expect, or not being as fully tested as it might be. Yes, I freely admit that I have been guilty of poor reviews without making any effort to extol any of the virtues.

    Guessing at what commercial software users/buyers might want or need or demand next month is nothing short of a lottery, especially when they come up with something that you didn't even know existed, and when you add the requirements of staying ahead of, or at the very least of keeping up with the competition, it looks nothing short of magic.

    cPanel have, for the most part, performed brilliantly as far as development and features are concerned. We, as users, should make as much effort to commend their successful work as we do to point out any failures. It is pretty much impossible to create any software these days without some bugs coming to light, especially when it relies on third party contributions that may contain their own issues.

    And now (and I can hear your sighs of relief from here) we get to the bit I started with – that of development schedules and quality control.

    I used to be involved in developing software, nothing as grand as cPanel, but we had several thousand users (and we got it all wrong, and it cost us a lot of money when our lead developer suddenly passed away) and I am acutely aware of the difficulties of testing and quality control.

    The industry probably couldn't bear the burden of extended quality control and testing departments, we would scream and shout about necessary price increases and how we couldn't afford the software any more, and software developers would close their doors. So what are the realistic options ?

    Software houses can write and dump their code on end users to debug and audit – not very ethical but cheap and profitable. Conversely, they can spend huge amounts of time and resources on producing what will end up being a perfect, but completely out-dated and superfluous software suit that nobody can afford, nor wants any more!

    There must be some middle ground – cPanel have kinda-sorta got this right, but I defiantly agree with Havri that, whilst the direction is good (in fact I would say excellent) the testing phase and quality control still needs work, and that might need a slight slowing down of the release targets, or an overhaul of how the quality control and testing is done.

    On method I have never seen (doesn't mean that it hasn't already been tried) is to encourage end users with some discounted license for running RC software on development environments. This gets the software out into the real world, rather than the limited lab testing environment, and has potential to fast track the discovery of issues and bugs before general release. I don't know if this is viable, just an idea to kick around.

    I guess the most important result to emerge from this thread would be to ask users to take the trouble to give cPanel feedback – good as well as bad – they deserve to hear what they are doing right as well as what we perversely take delight in complaining about.

    So cPanel developers, keep up the great work, and please don't get frustrated if you only ever seem to get negative feedback.
     
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