Distinct Lack of Discipline Leads to Confusion

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by CAOgdin, Jul 13, 2009.

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  1. CAOgdin

    CAOgdin Registered Member

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    One of the first principles of disciplined programming is that when you release a new "build" of a product, you increment the build number, so there's no confusion about which one is newer.

    Acronis appears to have skipped that lesson in Computer Science.

    There are two CONFLICTING versions of TrueImage Workstation Echo components, both numbered v9.7.0.8353. The two affected files are TrueImage.exe and TrueImageService.exe. One set with that build number is installed with the latest update of Workstation Echo. A different set are offered from download from http://kb.acronis.com/sites/default/files/content/2005/12/1514/failed.to_.read_.html

    Here's my analysis:
    TrueImage.exe
    Installed
    Version: 9.7.0.8353
    Size: 14,369,424
    Date: 6/23/2009 (might be local install date)
    Downloaded
    Version: 9.7.0.8353 SAME VERSION #!
    Size: 14,709,226 bytes DIFFERENT SIZES!
    Date: 7/2/2009 (as unzipped)

    TrueImageService.exe
    Installed
    Version: 9.7.0.8353
    Size: 8,715,760
    Date: 6/23/2009 (might be local install date)
    Downloaded
    Version: 9.7.0.8383 SAME VERSION #!
    Size: 9,164,933 bytes DIFFERENT SIZES!
    Date: 7/2/2009 (as unzipped)

    What are we, who rely on Acronis for a reliable product, borne of a disciplined development process, to think of this kind of thing? A simple "a" after the downloaded build number would make it all so clear! Could it be a simple oversight, a mistake? Yes. But, a robust, disciplined approach to development wouldn't let this kind of oversight or mistake to be released to customers!

    Are these differences among two files with identical build numbers relevant, or irrelevant, and to whom? Should we who have installed the latest update (8353) update these two later files, too, or are these two files intended for older builds already installed to bring them up to buidl 8353 status?

    I believe this is indicative of the entire problem with Acronis' development process, and may be an example of a root cause for the persistent problems we report here, version after version!
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  2. CAOgdin

    CAOgdin Registered Member

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    WARNING: Use of wrong modules will kill your ATI

    Having observed that Acronis is--as usual--unwilling or unable to provide guidance in response to my query, I've been forced to experiment.

    Having installed Acronis TrueImage Workstation (ATIW) Echo v9.7.0.8353 already, and seen it work, I decided to try the newer versions of those two files.

    WARNING: DON'T DO IT!

    While the Knoweldge Base Article says these are for "Workstation Echo," they will make an exisitng build 8353 install inoperable. ATIW will launch for a scheduled image backup, then immediately fail with some irrelevant message. Clearly, these modules do NOT replace their counterparts in the build 8353 distro.
     
  3. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello CAOgdin,

    Thank you for using Acronis Corporate Products

    TrueImage.exe and TrueImageService.exe files mentioned in this article were created to fix the issue with multiple "Failed to read from sector..." error messages, and it is normal that they have different sizes, because they differ from the initial ones.

    The version of the new TrueImage.exe and TrueImageService.exe files is 9.7.0.8353 because these files should be applied to build # 8353, and this was done to avoid misunderstanding (for example, the build of the SnapAPI module used in build #8353 is build #380, and sometimes our customers doubt that they use the latest build of the SnapAPI module). Since the issue requires a manual interference, the build number was left the same one for a visibility.

    CAOgdin, you are correct, you shouldn't do it if you don't experience the issue with multiple "Failed to read from sector..." error messages during partition analysis or backup.

    Thank you.

    --
    Oleg Lee
     
  4. CAOgdin

    CAOgdin Registered Member

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    Thank you for the confirmation, Oleg, although there are three things you haven't addressed:

    1. Why has Acronis issued two completely different instances of the same components with the same version number?

    2. What's being done about making sure it doesn't happen again the future?

    3. Why hasn't Acronis updated the table at http://kb.acronis.com/sites/default/files/content/2005/12/1514/failed.to_.read_.html with a warning based on my information, so other people who have installed v9.7.0.8353 aren't mistakenly lured into the same trap that will render their software useless?
     
  5. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello CAOgdin,

    Thank you for your response.

    I should mention that the build number of these files was left # 8353 specially to avoid the misunderstanding.

    Here is the quotation from the article:

    Therefore, if you have Acronis True Image Echo Build 8353, you should download and replace the files with the respective Build # 8353.

    Actually, I don't understand your idea. What should we change? The article contains a fix for the appropriate error, and there is no need to touch the application (i.e. to replace the files) if it works flawless.

    We are looking forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you.

    --
    Oleg Lee
     
  6. CAOgdin

    CAOgdin Registered Member

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    Oleg, you wrote, in part..."Therefore, if you have Acronis True Image Echo Build 8353, you should download and replace the files with the respective Build # 8353."

    And I've demonstrated that if the customer does that, their True Image product will not even perform an Image Backup.

    It would appear, then, (at least in some cases), the "fix" is as bad or worse than the problem.

    And, if the patch DID work, what's wrong with putting "a" after the build number to differentiate the two versions of the components, so system administrator can tell in a glance whether the modules have been updated or not?
     
  7. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello CAOgdin,

    Thank you very much for clarification!

    We've never experienced this issue before. Actually, the files you were replaced are the same ones, but with changed settings written to avoid "failed to read data" error messages. Other contents were left without changes, so it should not affect any program functionality, except error messages ignoring.

    Could you please clarify, what exactly happened with the program after files replacement? Could you please provide me with the exact sequence of actions that lead to the issue you report, so that I can reproduce it?

    It was done to avoid confusion from customer side. Oleg has answered this question correctly:

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexander Nikolsky
     
  8. CAOgdin

    CAOgdin Registered Member

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    As I previously explained, when the two files from kb.acronis.com are installed over top of the like named files in a full, fresh install of ATIW 9.7.0.8353, the program does not launch any scheduled task. Furthermore, any attempt to launch the task within ATIW GUI, there is no response: No log entries, no error reports, no NOTHING. Restoring the original files restores normal operation.

    That is why is is CRUCIAL and PROFESSIONAL to never issue two different code streams with the name version number. With more than 52 years experience in the computer industry, I can say with certainty that the only people I've ever seen issue a change in code without a change in version number were rank amateurs, not professional programmers. When Acronis does it, it makes those of us who are experienced professionals suspect that Acronis' "configuration management" policies and practices are not up to industry standard.
     
  9. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    USA - Back in a real State in time for a real Pres
    Good on you CAOgdin. :D I'd say more but I like it here at Wilders.
     
  10. CAOgdin

    CAOgdin Registered Member

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    Why should a public forum between a business and their customers be a place for euphemisms, soft-pedaling or pulled punches? All that does is convince the other party that they're doing fine, just the way they are.

    I still say, "One returns food to the kitchen only in a restaurant to which one intends to return." I don't WANT to have to abandon Acronis products, but if they don't start listening to the (sometimes harsh) opinions of their customers, that's the ultimate result for me, and for others, too. We want quality, reliable products we don't have to pay 90% tariff to upgrade every year to (hopefully) get bugs fixed and features documented.

    Among the best of my colleagues, there's a belief that "There's no criticism, only feedback." The feedback may be positive ("Do more of THAT!") or negative ("Don't do THAT!"), but if accepted, it's all material for improvement. It's disdain for feedback, and disregard for user's wants and needs, that drives software companies to oblivion.

    I have always believed in candor and frankness. Some may find my methods unsettling, but there's never any doubt about my position on the issues. I really WANT Acronis to succeed...but they seem to take every opportunity to undermine that outcome.
     
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