How to discourage clients
Recently I had need to interact with Emulex, and try to get my hands on a developer kit they offered.
I've come to the conclusion they don't want anyone to use it.
In their defence, their staff have been prompt and helpful the whole way. I just get the feeling some other things are getting in the way.
First, I contacted them to ask how I could get my hands on it. Their response included:
We have recently established a developer portal which I hope will be able to give you what you want. This is intended to be an unbureaucratic system but it is still necessary for us to do some administrative work.
And that it will be available in a few weeks. It also gave me a link where I could register.
So, I went off to register, and filled in a form describing me, my position in the company, my company... fair amount of detail, but nothing really unreasonable.
When I hit submit, I got a notice that the registration server wasn't working.
So I emailed the person who'd given me the link, and asked what was up. They promptly apologise, and tell me they'll jump on someone about it.
In the mean time, I ask for clarification about supported OS versions. The web site says OpenSUSE 10... which is quite dated now.
I am not sure where the SUSE 10 note came from but currently the SDK is based around Redhat 6.x (and so derived versions such as Centos etc.) and FreeBSD 9.
To which I helpfully respond:
You might want to have someone update the content here, then : http://www.emulex.com/products/software-developer-kits/targetconnect/info/overview.html This page clearly says RHEL 5 / SLES 10 : http://www.emulex.com/products/software-developer-kits/targetconnect/info/specifications.html
A while later, they tell me the rego server should be fixed now. I try again, get the same error, BUT... this time, I also get a confirmation email!
I log in, look about, and find no sign at all of the SDK. So I query them, and am later told they've enabled access to it, and that I just need to agree to the click-through license agreement.
Now, I may seem odd, but I like to read those things. But I can't. The modal box that's displayed containing it has a fixed width... which is far less than the box containing the license text, and there's no horizontal scrolling permitted. So I'm left with cut'n'pasting it into an editor to read.
Also, I need to fill in my personal details ... again. Wait a minute, I've already given these just to get a login! I smell tech-clueless lawyers.
The last part of the form lets me select which OSs I want to be notified about on version updates... nice. There's also a "don't spam me about new products" box. Opt-out like that is illegal in Australia, but they're not in AU, so I let it slide. At least they're offering the choice. But wait! When I click that, all of the OS Update checkboxes are selected, and I can't change them!
Well, now I have their SDK... but fuck it, they're simply not worth the work. I can use QLogic kit for the same price, and their drivers are free and open source.
Like Emulex's drivers used to be.
Conclusion? They don't want people to develop for this product line, or buy them.