So I opted to pay for support and I got an email back from one of the 3 US companies listed in the Moodle support pages telling me that it would be $400 an hour for telephone support and there was no limit on how many hours that could be nor was their any guarantee that they would fix the problem.
There site says "Regardless of the type of support that you need, you will receive a response within 24 hours", which didn't happen. 52 hours later I finally got a response.
Their site also says, "Because of our expertise, we are able to provide extremely cost-effective and reliable Moodle support services." ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! When did $400/hr. with no guarantee for a fix become "extremely cost-effective and reliable"????
Come'on Moodle. I want to support more open source software, but at least Microsoft has enough confidence in themselves and their products to charge a flat fee to fix something with a guarantee to fix it or your money back support policy.
Anyone have any recommendations on what to do next that might actually be helpful or a truly "cost-effective and reliable" support service.
I could not find your previous posts.
#1 Do you have a currently operating Moodle 1.9.6 ?
#2 How soon does your problem become critical ?
#3 Do you have a need to upgrade to 1.9.7 ?
#4 Do you have backups of your 1.9.6 Moodle installation ?
#5 What are you running Moodle on ? ( Operating System , type of server )
While I'm happy to help like I have been trying to in your other thread, there is only so much I can help with I can suggest a Moodle Partner who we have delt with, however they're located in Australia so timezones may become an issue.
Don't blame the Moodle project, your beef is with the support company you contacted, not the open source project Moodle. They are two seperate entities, unlike Microsoft who develop the software and do the support in-house.
It's very frustrating. At least when you pay someone for a program, they have an obligation to make sure it works or they'll have the law on their doorstep. Opensource software, although it may be financially beneficial, allows it's creators a safety net of saying "How can we have support staff? It's a free program". So they never have to be legally responsible for anything they produce. And no can take legal action when they're product causes someone financial damage because it's free. I'm about to lose a dedicated hosting customer because I can't get Moodle working. To make matters worse, I got an email this morning saying that they have finally had it as well, and are asking me to stop working on it and they are going to have a board meeting tonight to discuss whether or not to continue using Moodle. And this is what happens to many of the opensource projects. They eventually fall by the wayside because the word-of-mouth damage finally catches up to them.
Anyway, sorry don't mean to start a debate here. The frustration on my end has just multiplied because I filed a complaint with the moodle project group about the ridiculous fee and they sent me an email back telling me that if I wanted "free" support to check the online forums and if I wanted to pay for support to call one of their partners. So obviously no one is listening on that end either. No number to call, no one to contact, it's just a crazy maze of dead ends and no one wants to be ultimately responsible for anything.
Sorry, sorry, sorry... I keep ranting. Okay, back to the issue at hand. I would love to talk to someone, I don't care where they are. If they'll fix it I'm happy to pay. Please send along your recommendation.
And thanks again James.
You really are ranting that nobody cares - it's not true.
The problem is that when some new kind of issue pops up most people don't know what has happened. If you add a letter 'A' in the middle of some php file accidentally and it breaks the whole code of your site it is rather hard to find the reason unless if you are a real professional like most Partners are - the service is expensive but they are professionals so usually you do get help and fast.
Another thing is that we have lots of people here in moodle.org helping others because we like to help others - but first guess may not always be the correct guess. I have been hanging here some years now and have seen many similar cases but still each case may be different. But I will never take private calls or payment from my service. If you take my advice and try http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=139516 there is a good change that re-uploading files solves your case. If the problem is in the new version of moodle 1.9.7+ and if several people start to have the same problem with access to admin/index.php somebody will file a bug soon and the issue will be fixed in a couple of days - most likely.
And I do understand your frustration - life is full of such choices where people decide to do some things on their own and break (or think that they broke) something - yet your site is not permanently broken, it can be fixed...believe or not...
You can't tell me you would pay $400 per hour with no limit or guarantee. What if it takes them 4 hours before they realize there's a bug, which is what this looks like to me. I would have to pay them $1600 at that point and nothing would have been resolved.
There are only 3 US companies that can fix this.
I haven't touched anything but the config file and this error isn't coming from their. It's in the scripting behind the login system.
So, yes I'm ranting, but not unjustly.
I write Cold Fusion code for a living, so I am aware that a misplaced semicolon can break and entire site. This is not the problem unless it was already in the Moodle upgrade code to begin with.
And I also realize that it can be fixed. I fix things for customers all the time. I appreciate everyone in the free support forum. They've been awesome. I'm only frustrated with the organization as a whole, because they are not standing behind their product and because their so called "partners" and not providing reasonable expectations at reasonable rates.
If you don't want to get into debugging yourself and can't find someone who do it for you for a reasonable fee, then wait a month or two, most little glitches will get fixed, and then the upgrade may work for you.
It is also not clear from the other thread whether you followed Mauno's suggestions. Corrupted uploads/installations are quite common, more than I would have ever thought. And people running under Microsoft stuff seem to encounter more problems than others. Another common source of problems are non-core modules and blocks which don't get upgraded automatically with core upgrade and malfunction afterwards.
It's PHP 5.2.5.
Sorry I gave him a link of the other post, but realized that the answers to his questions weren't complete.
#1 Do you have a currently operating Moodle 1.9.6 ?
We did. They were using it.
#2 How soon does your problem become critical ?
The school board is meeting tonight because they are frustrated that I can't get this working. So they are looking at other solutions I believe.
#3 Do you have a need to upgrade to 1.9.7 ?
No, they just asked me to do it.
#4 Do you have backups of your 1.9.6 Moodle installation ?
Yes, we can revert back. But Moodle's release people, whomever it is that's responsible for that, sent out a message saying the word "Security Issues" in 1.9.6 so it was recommended to upgrade. So, now they are hung up on the issue and want it upgraded.
#5 What are you running Moodle on ? ( Operating System , type of server )
IIS with MySQL
When I choose to participate in an open-source project, by using the code, I have to realize that the responsibility is ultimately and entirely mine. I have to be prepared to research and learn and contribute.
Fortunately, there's often a community of people who also participate by doing things such as writing documentation, contributing to forums, and helping solve problems.
Many of us, especially in the United States, have become accustomed to living in a consumer culture. We feel entitled, and often make the mistake of demanding things like support. This is inappropriate in the context of Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS).
For many years, I worked entirely with proprietary "products" from Microsoft, Macromedia, Adobe, etc. There are prices to be paid for the privilege and entitlement of being a consumer, a "customer".
It took time and effort, but I'm almost entirely out of that world. Only rarely do I have to boot into XP on the desktop, and web development is entirely FLOSS. About six months ago I did a job that required Dreamweaver and Contribute. Please, God, never again...
The expectations and protocols of an open source project can be difficult, and they're all different. People can be petty and annoying. But it's worth it.
I'd strongly suggested reading ESR's FAQ on "How to Ask Questions". He's another one who can be difficult, but knows what he's talking about.
Sorry if I've been didactic. Bad habit, from years at the front of a classroom. I'm working on it...
I appreciate the feedback and yes I have tried my best to remain calm about all of this and respect that the forum is a support group and they are not the ones that created the bug. We're all just trying to help each other. I get that.
My issue is that someone, wrote some bad code and now the upgrade process has a glitch. And there is no phone number you can call to get a resolution. And yes, in the US we are used to spending money for a product and then expecting their to be some kind of guarantee or warranty that we're not throwing our money away.
I always want to believe that people genuinely want to do right by others. However, unfortunately I have had too many experiences teaching me that when people aren't going to be held directly responsible they will do things half ass.
I guarantee you that if the guy releasing the moodle upgrade to the world had to put his phone number on the upgrade screen saying call me if you have any problems. He would bust his ass and test the upgrade in multiple environments and scenarios before he released it because he wouldn't want people calling him to complain.
Anyway, sorry to ramble about this. i don't want to get into a debate about opensource vs. consumer products, but I guess that can of worms has already been opened.
Nice to meet you Jonathan and I have book marked the page you recommended above for future reading once I get this issue resolved.
What I've been noticing lately is just more proof of the "Law of Unintended Consequences". It's how we make progress-- fixing the problems caused by our last fix. That said, I'm grateful to everyone who submits code.
Been working mostly in Drupal lately, and there are significant differences between the projects. Not better, just different. I've gotten into the habit of googling for issues before I install anything. So many people contributing so much, there are bound to be conflicts and incompatibilities. But once I know what the problems might be, I can make a choice about whether it's worth the potential troubleshooting. And, as I solve my problems, maybe I can even contribute to the evolution.
To quote Travis
"So they never have to be legally responsible for anything they produce. And no can take legal action when they're product causes someone financial damage because it's free"
Clause 26 of the Windows 7 License states
"LIMITATION ON AND EXCLUSION OF DAMAGES. You can recover from Microsoft and its suppliers only direct damages up to the amount you paid for the software. You cannot recover any other damages, including consequential, lost profits, special, indirect or incidental damages."
But of course nobody can admit fear of firing, so we find all kinds of justifications.
Some time ago, the CIO of a large New Mexico county where I lived was challenged about his unwillingness to even discuss the possibility of trying some MySQL. Finally got to the truth of it when he played his trump card -- "There's nobody to sue."
At least I think that was the truth. Couldn't have had anything to do with all the gifts and goodies, the pens and notebooks and bags and conferences and other little bribes...
People being bought with "...pens and notebooks and bags and conferences..."
Hummm...I remember reading a blog post not long ago about people around here being bought with little badges under their avatars...never underestimate how cheap some can bought...
I think it would be best to discuss it directly via phone with a Moodle partner and not here in forum.
Often is is not easy to find the reason for a problem in a server environment that is not fully controlled or not completely know. So its often not possible to say exactly whats the time to solve it. Sometimes its not possible to solve it, because we find on a server restrictions that block Moodle or create problems.
So its not possible to give you a guarantee that the service will be successfull in a defined time.
If you think that the first partner who answered to you didn't give the support you like, ask an other one.
If you bring your car to a garage to repair something, maybe that they say, we can try our very best, but there is no guarantee to solve the problem in the way you like. We can ask our best specialist, but may be that he says, its not possible to do this. Buy a new car.
I think that's debatable assertion. Maybe in a program 5 lines long but in something the size and complexity of Moodle it all gets a bit more "fuzzy".
Same reason if you read the EULA for any (e.g.) Microsoft product it will tell you that it's not their problem if it doesn't work. It doesn't mean Microsoft (and the Moodle community) doesn't try to fix problems when they turn up. One hopes so anyway
BTW.... I read the original thread and you can't really complain if you don't follow the advice you have been given!! I suggest you read Mauno's suggestions - he knows what he's talking about. Stick with it, it'll be something stupid
I've never been part of a "project", but isn't their someone that controls the structure of it, the process in which certain parameters are laid out, strict variables that are required for certain things to work properly, etc.
I can't believe it's just a free for all, build whatever you want however you want system. Right?
Of course.... you have convinced yourself now that it can't be something you did wrong I don't know, I'm just saying.
So... are you going to switch off XML strict headers and check for errors and in the logs so we can fix this problem??
It's a shame you are using a Windows server otherwise I would have offered to have a quick look for nothing. Don't do Windows, sorry
Thanks for the help.
Here's the email from them... Note the telephone support rate.
We offer an annual Moodle support contract ($2,000/year) which includes 5-10 hours of usability, administrative, and telephone support. More information is available online at http://classroomrevolution.com/moodlesupport/.
If you would prefer to contract per diem for Moodle support, we can provide usability ($200/hour, min. 1 hour), administrative ($300/hour, min. 1 hour), and/or telephone ($400/hour, min. 1 hour) support for your remotely hosted Moodle site.
$CFG->xmlstrictheaders = FALSE;
to the config.php file.
So, the problem still has yet to be fixed by someone who knows more about the upgrade process of Moodle's core system, but at least I can bypass whatever it is and keep this system up.
Thanks again to Mauno and James and everyone else for all the help and input.
First I tried adding $CFG->xmlstrictheaders = FALSE; to the config.php file. Still not luck.
Then I followed the instructions on this link:
After executing the mySQL commands, for the first time I get an an error message when I go to admin/index.php. Here's the error:
Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 41943040 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 71 bytes) in /home/clefr/public_html/emersonloustau.com/moodle/admin/mnet/MethodTable.php on line 77
Can anyone help me with this?
I'm trying to install the weekly build of moodle 1.9.x on a hosted server (Namecheap). If it helps, my site is located at emersonloustau.com/moodle.
PS: I've been following all the posts to the forum as everyone has been tackling this issue, and I am grateful to everyone who has been pitching in to figure this out. Go team!
Start with this information...
...if that doesn't make sense or doesn't work, let us know and we'll think of something else!
Let us know how you get on.
Good to see you still around. ;)
I am VERY new to this Moodle thing and really struggling to learn, I found a series of videos at lynda.com. I may buy these so I can see how stuff works. The help files on the moodle site leave more questions than provide answers.
If you know of a better alternative (like a IRC chat room) please let me know.
I am actually learning this to help a friend with an on-line ministry. They need a way to provide classes for new volunteers. Once I figure this out, I'll probably look at ways I can develop to help others also.
Thanks for the email. I am actually shocked someone would send me one as I am probably one of thousands who have logged onto the moodle site.
Anyway, look forward to your response
Moodle partner companies do set their own rates, just like a commercial company would. I am somewhat surprised as you are over the response you got. That does seem excessive. We recently had a similar experience while trying to hire someone to work on upgrading our Drupal website. Quotes we got from recognized Drupal partners just to upgrade the site from version 5 to 6, and add a few custom features, ranged on the low end from around $15k up to $60k. We decided to do it ourselves.
Tell you what! I see you're in Portland. How about you email me and I will see that you get your questions answered at no cost. We can arrange a time where you can talk with one of our senior tech's and we will get you where you want to go. I'll do this just to let you know that the spirit of open source is alive and well with most Moodle Partners. I do want to say that Moodle is a modern web 2.0 application with all the complications that come with that. Some server and SQL knowledge is presumed.
Anyway, I understand bugs, no one can predict everything, that would be a totally unreasonable expectation. I just think someone should say here's the new version, if you have any trouble contact this person or group to get issues resolved for the first 90 days or so after the release. My gripe is that the persons job it is to create that link and post the notice that the new upgrade is now available should take some responsibility initially to make sure the upgrade is working for everyone. Once the bugs have been worked out then okay, let the forums do the support, because then enough people will have dealt with the upgrade. But when no one has any idea what the problem could be because it's brand new, it's hard to get help from the forum.
Anyway, I obviously feel very strongly about this issue and am having trouble letting it go. Even though my issue is temporarily has a band-aid on it.
Again, thank you for the offer and I will keep your name and company handy. And you don't have to offer free support. I really appreciate that. I'm happy to pay if it's something I've broken. But I didn't break this, the guy that released the upgrade broke it. There's a problem with the code. I tracked it down, but I don't know enough about PHP to fix it myself. I'm a Cold Fusion programmer.
What's the name of your company?
The issue of the 'bug'. I'm not saying your problem isn't a bug in Moodle. I'm not... there are plenty of bugs in Moodle and you might have found one. But, you can't complain without some justification. How can we reproduce this so it can be fixed? Logic dictates (well to me anyway) that as large numbers of people have successfully upgraded without experiencing the problems you have then it is more likely to be a mistake you have made, a configuration problem on your system or a strange edge-case due to your system being an unusual configuration.
The point about the 90 days support is much more interesting. That's a great idea but who is going to pay for it? I presume that you downloaded Moodle for free and have made no financial contribution. Well, good for you - that's the idea of Open Source software. However, you can't then expect what is (effectively) paid for support. Paid for support is certainly available to you from lots of sources - some better than other and some more expensive than others. Your choice.
Personally, I think these forums are an excellent source of (free) support but you have to be prepared to listen and try things that are suggested (calmly).
Meant to say... all Moodle releases are done with a great deal of care, good will and as much testing as we can reasonably do. Also, it isn't one person it's a collaborative effort of (usually) very experienced software professionals.
you are basicly right. I particularly liked the words that Jonathan Cartland said about moodle as a project, not a "product".
If you check http://www.rushwebsolutions.com/ Travis is used to certain business model and he is selling his products & services for his customers. The same way Partners are selling their services and moodle support and there is nothing wrong in that business - no matter if one support hour might cost $1 or $400. Some "philosophers" get $4000/hour from one lecture that they can use several times and some companies are still willing to pay - and most popular psychiatrists don't even need to talk, they may just listen...
But - like Martin said in http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=139516 there was a tiny bug in the previous version of moodle 1.9.7 (not anymore in the latest 1.9.7+) that was caused by one '&' that should have been '&' in security issue MSA-09-0030: New detection of insecure flash player plugins ( http://moodle.org/security/ ... MDL-20841 itself is hidden from normal users - security level of this bug does not allow us to see the details). It broke XHTML of Notations page when debugging was set to DEVELOPER - still it is not clear why the site that Travis was upgrading had XML strict headers set to 'Yes' - default value is 'No' and it does not get changed by itself so either Travis or some other administrator of this site has enabled xmlstrictheaders most likely from Administration > Server > Debugging (to get all possible debugging info?). Many people have suggested others to use DEVELOPER debugging in these forum posts and it may have been enabled or Travis may have enabled it but does it really matter who did what...ideally upgrading should just have rolled on but in this case it did not as a combination of several mistakes made by several people - and a tiny bug in the core code of moodle that Travis did not create.
Such things just happen - like accidents. Afterwards it is easy to speculate who should have done what but it does not make things any better.
What I don't understand is that Mr Gett ingPaid (alias Figaro alias Steve H) pops in with his Clinton/Woods infidelity stories and old link to "Partner monopoly" posts that have been discussed and rules made clear in the past...
Anyway - Merry Christmas to Travis and the main thing is that customers of Travis - http://www.jeffersonbaptistchurch.org - are happy with fully functional moodle and we can continue our discussions here in moodle.org on other issues...
Merry Christmas to Figaro too - I know you won't leave us and you will continue running Partners down - but it's lame compared to blog posts year ago...
Yes indeed - Merry Christmas to all and especially to Figaro, keep up the the *good* work and keep taking the meds
And I have not considered becoming a Moodle Partner....
It's wrong kind of irony that we should never use (and I just did... )
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
90 days unlimited personal support. Woww. I'm not sure, what did Microsoft offer if you buy the latest version of the OS system called Windows7. No support for anything. What happens if your systems say: 'Hmm, this seems to be a bug, please report it to use.' Did you ever got a response or a solution?'
This Moodle course is the best and fastest software helpdesk I ever saw. You get answers to questions nobody had before. Here are a lot of people very helpful to solve newly found problems.
There is a public tracker for bugs. You can see how developers discuss the reported problems and try to find solutions. Sometimes they say, its not reproducable, its not a bug, or they devbelope a solutions. Thanks to all the people doing this job.
The group to contact if there are problems is twofold. There is the huge community and there are partners. Lots of partners are working in the community.
If you want a 90-day-unlimited-support after an update, go to your local partner, sign a service contract. They will be happy to serve you.
don't take this post too seriously or personally ( I think Partners are doing a great job and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Successful New Year) - but are you sure that Partners are able to give Travis that 90-day-unlimited-support...with or even without quarantee . I doubt it is true - no company is able to do that, not even Microsoft. Travis did not ask for 90-day-unlimited-support and web sites of Microsoft have several support forums and they do fix bugs weekly like developers of moodle do.
In my opinion the original question by Travis was not too harsh - it was a question about business ethics (if such term does exist...) - and as such it could have been posted to some other forum but part of the problem was related to installation problems so I guess this was the right place for these discussions. I won't comment this issue anymore but for a newbie on Partner pages or forums of moodle some things may not be clear - and as far as I have understood Travis was only asked to make the upgrading by the real customer - http://www.jeffersonbaptistchurch.org - upgrading failed, he got frustrated and asked some help from these forums and Partners.
In my opinion he had good reasons to ask those questions and we should allow people to ask also such questions that may sound ranting or whining - from our point of view.
If a Partner site says "Regardless of the type of support that you need, you will receive a response within 24 hours" the person who contacts Partner should get response (even automatic email) within 24 hours.
And when you said to Travis
"If you want a 90-day-unlimited-support after an update, go to your local partner, sign a service contract. They will be happy to serve you."
you should be able to keep that promise and be sure that also local Partners are able to keep that promise that you made.
Can't you Partners simply give clear answers to people like Travis:
What happens in such situations where issue is not solved in a couple of hours or days or can't be solved at all (by Partners)?
It should be easy to add some rules / notes to support web pages (Terms of Service) for such cases like some basic fee of service that is non-refundable (in any case) and some extra info about situations where costs of service might rise considerably higher than expected. A money back guarantee is essentially a simple guarantee that, if a buyer is not satisfied with a product or service, a refund will be made. Such tiny things are important for customers who are not sure about options - and possible costs.
Firstly, as far as I am concerned this is primarily a business matter between the company providing the support and the client and will differ from one MP to another in detail. I believe *our* basic support terms say that if we find a bug the limit of our responsibility is to report it in the (Moodle) bug tracker. However, if I had anything to do with it, if we can provide a fix we will. If we cannot, we will provide as much information as possible in order to facilitate a fix. I don't ever want to say to a (paying) client "tough luck, it's broken".
Having said the above, I don't recall us *ever* being in the situation of a show-stopping bug for a client that we could not fix or work around. But then we don't do crazy things like running Moodle on Windows
If I ever need to contact a Partner it will be definitely Howard Miller... http://moodle.org/user/view.php?id=1473&course=5
But we see each other here in moodle.org forums anyway almost daily so all I need to do is to visit Using Moodle course, ask something and wait some seconds...and flash...Howard is there when ever you need him...
Perfect Service, Howard!
While I know Bill Fornaught has been considering becoming an MP as you get "money for nothing and the chicks are free" that business model becomes less viable the more open moodle.com and MPs are. Keep moving to the light...
Oh - I thought he was?
No, Howard - it's not at all irony - I really appreciate Your attitude, activity, humour etc.