Open Source

Linksys just lost a customer.

The other day I was trying to administer a couple of web sites of mine from home. One of them was down and I thought a traceroute would be the best first approach to understanding what was going on. When I ran traceroute I got the dreaded:

traceroute to www.mydomain.net (IP ADDRESS HERE), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets 

1  * * *
2  * * *
3  * * *
4  * * *
5  * * *
6  * * *
7  * * *
8  * * *
9  * * *
10  * * *
11  * * *
12  * * *
13  * * *
14  * * *
15  * * *
16  * * *
17  * * *
18  * * *
19  * * *
20  * * *
21  * * *
22  * * *
23  * * *
24  * * *
25  * * *
26  * * *
27  * * *
28  * * *
29  * * *
30  * * *

Ashes, ashes we all time out!

Okay, it didn't report that last part, but you get the idea. So I contact my hosting site and they tell me that my ISP could be blocking the traceroute packets. Sooooo I contact my ISP and they tell me it's probably my router. Soooooo I contact Linksys. And then it all goes to pot.

First they tell me they can't REALLY answer my question because my router is more than a year old. THEN the customer support rep asks me the dreaded question "Which version of Windows are you using?" 

HUH?

Why make that assumption in the first place? In the second place, why does it matter? The routers' administration is done 100% via web browser. It shouldn't matter what operating system I use. For all intents and purposes I could be administering the router through my Treo 680 - it shouldn't matter.

But, for some strange reason, it didn't matter to them. Linux was an unknown. Yeah right. So I run to the netcraft.com site to find out what OS the linksys.com site uses. Just as I thought: Linux running Apache.

So Linksys uses Linux to serve up their web pages but doesn't support Linux for their products. Seems to me that's a double standard. Not only that - but the parent company, Cisco, uses Linux to serve up their web pages AND they held the Cisco/Linux project. Do a search on the Cisco web site for Linux and you'll get 3,290 results. Do a search on the linksys.com site for linux and you'll get about 30 hits.

I told the help desk person two things: I write for CNET and that I would be getting rid of my Linksys router in and replacing it with a router made by a company that supports Linux the help desk jockey said "You may do that."


Of course I may do that. And I will. Why? I made it very clear in the post-phone call survey I filled out. Why? Because the idea that a company can not spend a few extra scheckles to ensure it's product-knowledge is up to par with the rest of the planet is outrageous. There are whole countries switching to the Linux operating system. You think they might need routers? Oh sure, you can set up a router using the Linux operating system (which I might do instead of purchasing another router) but that's not the point. The point is, companies need to join the millennium. Support needs to be broadened to be inclusive not reductive. 

If you can't tell, this makes me mad. I've spent over a decade fighting the Linux fight. I feel like after this much time more people (especially in the tech industry) should get it. 

So I would ask you this: Do you (or your company) support the Linux operating system and/or open source software? If not, what can you do to change that? Or better yet, what WILL you do?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

Editor's Picks