We often get review units of products, then dont review them because we cant get them to work. NewsForge staffers and freelancers vary in technical ability, but I believe the level of IT talent shared by our editorial personnel is at least as high as youd find in most small or medium-sized businesses, and well above the average home user level. If we cant get a piece of hardware or software to work, chances are that most of its intended customers wont be able to, either. Why do companies persist in shipping products this flawed?
One of our freelancers just gave up on installing a collaborative calendar and shared-file program on his server. Our hope was to test this product -- which is not free, but acceptably priced for business use -- as a group, and write a group review of it. Since this was a groupware product, that seemed appropriate.
But our freelancer, a skilled sysadmin and coder who runs a small Web hosting service, had so many problems trying to get the software installed that after a days work he stopped trying. Maybe he could have gotten it going with help from the companys tech support people, but I told him not to bother. Hed already spent more time on this install than I believe any "normal" customer would -- and more than either of us have spent installing most free software for Linux!
For the rest of the tale, turn to NewsForge.