Author Topic: Do Plutohome workers read these messages?  (Read 2171 times)

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Do Plutohome workers read these messages?
« on: May 19, 2006, 05:22:57 am »
I know I'm not the only one wondering this.  I also know that there are a few responses from Plutohome employees every now and then.  But considering that this is a product with a VERY small community, I would imagine that if the Pluto Home company wanted to get their product out in the marketplace, then they can answer some questions and solve some problems that are posted in this forum.

With documentation very spotty, it is difficult for many of us to jump in and get a pluto system running properly.  I have posted several times in these forums to get help on playing files off a SAMBA server with no help from Pluto Home employees and some help from others who have had the same issues.  (Same issues=common problems!)  Recently, I had removed my old alarm system and installed a new MUCH more expensive one just to get it working with pluto since it is stated to be compatible.  Now, this doesn't work with pluto and I've posted asking for help from Plutohome, but without a reply yet.

I've read many of the other posts in these forums and virtually no one is asking for handouts.  It seems that many people are trying to help Plutohome succeed and are donating their own time to help this company advance its software.  So this begs the question, "Does Pluto Home want to succeed or not?"  If so, then my unsolicited 2 cents worth of advise to you is to develop your open source community as aggressively as you would develop your customer base.  Your open source community can augment your existing engineers in many ways including testing on products that you guys wouldn't even have thought of nor bought or in using the system in novel ways.  Already, some of the people in hear are working on some cool things that would benefit everyone.  Having a large community will attract more newbies since there will be enough people to help them get rolling.  But you first need to help this current group before it gets smaller.  I've added a poll to this thread so that you can hear it from others too, or so that I'm shown to be wrong.

This product has very good potential and I am sure all of us would like to see it succeed.  BTW, the argument that you guys are way too busy developing code to answer questions on this forum IMHO is BS.  It's not like the rest of us sit home all day twiddling our thumbs.  If we're willing to work on helping this project along during our nights and weekends, then it's not much to ask that one of you put in an hour of overtime once or twice a week to grow the community forum and answer some more questions.

Well, this was my commentary and I hope it didn't come off as harsh.  You guys really have something cool going and all I wish is that you'd focus a little more on these forums so that we can help you out.

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Do Plutohome workers read these messages?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2006, 01:59:46 am »
Pluto's support used to be very good. When I found this project, about a year ago, Pluto's team would post almost daily, especially arron.b whom I haven't seen post for a long time. Pluto used to even provide live support chat.
I'm not sure what has happen, perhaps Pluto wasn't getting enough return from the community or perhaps Pluto has been forced to downsize...

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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2006, 11:20:55 am »
Quote from: "robcb85"
Pluto's support used to be very good. When I found this project, about a year ago, Pluto's team would post almost daily, especially arron.b whom I haven't seen post for a long time. Pluto used to even provide live support chat.
I'm not sure what has happen, perhaps Pluto wasn't getting enough return from the community or perhaps Pluto has been forced to downsize...

Hi,

I agree that support used to be "live". But Pluto project grows and more and more staff is involved (read names in Mantis) and getting more and more busy. I think that someone from Pluto staff will be able to give full answer, but AFAIK there are occasional "blackouts" on forum, when staff is really busy. Right now, if you take a look at Mantis, there is huge effort going on towards new stable release scheduled for June. There is new GUI and I guess also some other nice things...

I can understand that perhaps also Pluto staff did have other expectations from going open source and speed of building community around that project.

But since they are giving their results back to the community for "free" (please read licences) I'm still happy with that. I also had times when desperately needed response and didn't get it in weeks, but hey, what is other alternative ? I must admit I haven't found anything similar to Pluto in this area and I'm still here.

But I think that we users could contribute to better efficieny of community. There are some contributors that know internals pretty well (MarcoZan, TotallyMaxed, ...) - so I have few propositions to challenge community :

- since Pluto stuff is busy right now, maybe we could establish separate community Wiki, with all contributed docs, code snippets, contributed work in general to help other starting working on project. I know that there is also possibility to contribute to Docs over your local pluto-admin intefrace but I'm not sure how to do that...

- to have unified place for questions, problems and kindly ask Pluto staff to help us there (maybe now there are quite some duplicating questions running on Mantis, yahoo, etc... taking more time to solve one by one...). I think that Eugene or Aaron wouldn't mind helping in more efficient way.

- to gather all useful informations that are present in forum postings into wiki....

Anyone thinking in this direction ?

I have closely watched quite few open source projects and I can't see any big difference between support from professional staff (if exists) ....

The big difference is that community handles majority of all questions (and it took years to establish big communities). When for instance you post to Asterisk mailing list, you get response from other Asterisk user, not from Digium prof. staff (they jump in only in major problems, bugs, etc...).

So I guess we should all ask ourselves what can we do for Pluto Community instead of waiting for results to come by themselves or by paid staff that is fully busy :)

Let's put together our efforts to gain more efficient and user friendly community. I'm sure that Pluto staff will lend us helping hand...

Just my humble opinion,

regards,

Rob.

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The Open Source Community Challenge
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2006, 06:00:04 pm »
Hi Rob,

I agree 100%!  I think your proposal is a GREAT idea!  Let's do it.  The only problem a see with this is that in the beginning we will need to lean very heavily on the few of us that know the most about the internals of pluto.  I hope they're willing to play along.

Quote
- since Pluto stuff is busy right now, maybe we could establish separate community Wiki, with all contributed docs, code snippets, contributed work in general to help other starting working on project.


Ok, this is now done.  I have established a wiki at newbielink:http://plutohome.elwiki.com [nonactive].  Give it a couple of days for it to be up and running.  I will try to get this done by this weekend.

Quote
I know that there is also possibility to contribute to Docs over your local pluto-admin intefrace but I'm not sure how to do that...


I have also tried to contribute to the local pluto-admin docs, but couldn't figure out how to upload them.

Quote
- to have unified place for questions, problems and kindly ask Pluto staff to help us there (maybe now there are quite some duplicating questions running on Mantis, yahoo, etc... taking more time to solve one by one...). I think that Eugene or Aaron wouldn't mind helping in more efficient way.


I'm not sure if the wiki would be the best place for that.  Wouldn't it be better to have all questions posted only in this forum?  Or how about an subscription email list?  This way, there is only one place to look for answers.  I did not know that there is a Yahoo group for questions, too.  This must be annoying for the Pluto Home people to look at multiple locations to answer questions.  I agree with you that we should make this more efficient for them.

IMHO, I think the subscription email list would be best for question/answers because most people will read their emails sooner than log into this forum.  Maybe someone has a better solution?

Quote
- to gather all useful informations that are present in forum postings into wiki....


Great idea.  Let's start compiling a list so that we can add it to the wiki.

I'll post an announcement on this forum when the wiki is ready.

Sevak

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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2006, 04:06:01 pm »
Hi all

As often happened before I share Rob's thoughts, with particular emphasis on the attitude or approach that new user should have with Pluto.

I'm playing with Pluto since july 2005, and as every not-so-expert user I was initially expecting to find a series of howto clearly explaining everything.

Afterwards I realized that this is what one may expect from a long date open source project, but not from a project that used to be developed as a commercial product and that only recently switched to open source.

If you think about a freshly started open source project, usually you have NO sw, NO howtos, but only discussions on main developing guidelines.

This would be very boring by a user point of view, and I think that no one of us would even think to join an open source project from where you can't download even a single alfa version.

Keeping the above in mind, Pluto starts with impressive design and development work already done but it lacks of some documentation.

To me this is anyway an excellent deal, even if this means that in some situations I have to bang my head. At least I have a reason forcing me to  learn more ...  :roll:

Moreover, open source sw does NOT always mean that any issue is easily and promptly solved with support of the community.

Just to make an example, I'm having bad times setting up a linux box with exim4 + mysql +vexim for handling virtual domains and users because there are very few docs, forums are not that helpful and the only somehow reliable doc I've found is written in german (and I don't understand german ...).

And we are talking about exim4, vexim and mysql .... are they not enough "open source"?

Back to business. I fully agree on the wiki idea, because this would be a place where we can share some infos structured by a user point of view (best practice, code snippets, tips, whatever..) and that we can freely organize with suggestion from (but not depending from free time of) Pluto staff.
I surely have no problem in sharing my little knowledge (thanks Rob for credits, I owe you another drink even if I think this time you put me in some troubles ...  :lol: ) and to give my contribution to make this wiki a good starting point for pluto newcomers.

I also share Sevak's concern about spreading the support questions in too many places, that in the end is also a Rob's concern.
Concentrating all support questions et similia is of course the best option (also from a knowledge management and information retrieval point of view), but it is anyway clear that in the end one tends to post questions in a place where answers are coming faster.

Maybe Aaron could give his opinion on that, so we can avoid to reinvent the wheel or make each other's lives a nightmare

Any opinion is warmly accepted.

Regards
Marco

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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2006, 07:25:15 pm »
Hi Marco,

I agree with your views on how we should approach Pluto's open source project and to not be so demanding on them.  Personally, my favorite open source project is Gentoo.  They have an amazing wiki at gentoo-wiki.com.  I'd like to try to get the pluto wiki to that level.

So, the wiki is now created.  Luckily, we've got your expertise to help out!  :D   I think as we get more people involved, they'll also start figuring parts of pluto out so they'll be able to contribute, too.

Rob's been working on some very cool projects that I'm looking forward to seeing in the wiki.

Rob/Marco, you can reach me at sevakprime on yahoo's IM or jabber.

Cheers,
Sevak

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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2006, 02:13:58 pm »
Quote from: "sevprime"

I agree 100%!  I think your proposal is a GREAT idea!  Let's do it.  The only problem a see with this is that in the beginning we will need to lean very heavily on the few of us that know the most about the internals of pluto.  I hope they're willing to play along.

Ok, this is now done.  I have established a wiki at newbielink:http://plutohome.elwiki.com [nonactive].  Give it a couple of days for it to be up and running.  I will try to get this done by this weekend.
Sevak


I think every initiative that would improve Pluto support is a good one. But personally I have one problem with putting any kind of effort into Pluto.

I've been using (very bad choice of term here) Pluto since early in 2005. At first I was amazed at how fast I could get different services installed, working and talking to each other. Then I hit the steep learning curve you got to climb to get it do anything really useful, and over the next few months I made some progress in some areas, and none in others. So I was sort-of-happily limping along, but seriously thinking that if the areas where I couldn't make anything work don't get better soon, I might have to send the puppy back to the kennel. And then what happens? I decide to rebuild my server, and that involves reinstalling Pluto. So I start with a clean install of 2.0.0.39. No points for guessing if it works. And you all know how helpful the Pluto people have been about the .39 problems. So, over 6 weeks of nothing, no lights, no security cameras, no PVR, no access to my A/V library. Nothing.

I got a thread going in the Orbiter forum. I've been trying to work out a problem in the media navigator that's been driving me nuts, even when Pluto was working. After four round-trips, I still haven't managed to get anyone to seriously look at the issue - all I'm getting is the "Oh no, it couldn't be broken" attitude I see all over the forums.

The only reason I'm even trying is that when I think about ditching Pluto I think about losing the synergy (hey, my post is buzzword-compliant!) that Pluto achieves between all its pieces. So I'm still here. But every time I sit in front of the powered-off Media Director I also think that I could wipe Pluto, install MythTV and have a working PVR in a day...

So, to get to the point before I have no readers left, I'd be happy to help support a live but struggling project. But I have no time for a project and a project team that's so focused on some future commercial release that it becomes totally useless to the open-source community it created.

Well, that's it from me. I'm off to sign up at the wiki. Just keep swimming.

Itai

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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2006, 04:47:42 pm »
That's a lot of buzzwords!  I doubt I can keep up!

Itai, I understand your frustration completely.  Before finding plutohome, I already had a working MythTV, Edna for streaming music to different rooms (and to my computer at work!), motion and zonealarm for security cameras.  I liked the idea of having everything integrated.

We can sure use your gained experience on the wiki!  Anything that you've already learned or figured out is probably something that someone else is still scratching their head on.

Well, I hope you stick with Pluto, because I'm sure you can contribute much to the project since you've been playing with it for so long!

Later,
Sevak

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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2006, 04:00:24 pm »
Quote from: "sevprime"
We can sure use your gained experience on the wiki!  Anything that you've already learned or figured out is probably something that someone else is still scratching their head on.

Well, I hope you stick with Pluto, because I'm sure you can contribute much to the project since you've been playing with it for so long!


Well, I haven't given up yet. I'm just not sure how useful my experience would be... I could tell people how to maximize spent hours while minimizing success, how to walk away from a Pluto system, how to stop caring about having no TV...

But enough of all this positive thinking. Hey, is anyone setting up a mailing list? I agree that would be the best place for discussions and questions... this forum is too cumbersome. And once we figure anything out on the list, we can imortalize it in the Wiki.

Itai

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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2006, 01:46:01 am »
I am in the situation as most who have contributed to this thread, been a long term user of pluto and felt like walking away so many times.  Usually back at trying to get stuff working within a couple of days as I really like the user interface and have spent so much time already on trying to resolve issues.

I am also happy to contribute where I can.  I am just about to perform another reinstallation as udev seems to have killed itself whereby it is no longer detecting one of my cards.  The only positive aspect is I can now build a pluto system in about 2hrs complete including recompiling the kernel and some drivers.  :)

NOS