Parole, parole, parole!

There was a nice Italian pop song back in the 70ties where a man chanted promises, one after the other, and in the background a woman sang only 3 words: “Parole! Parole! Parole!”, meaning “Words, promises, nothing else!”

Lately this song came back to my mind when I contemplated what to do with Mandriva’s newest advertisment about the Flash 2009 Spring. Well, all that Mandriva says about the Flash is true, not just marketing! It is a wonderful product, I love it! I have one of those, the 2008.0 version. And there the story begins.

For us spoiled users of Open SourceĀ  and free software buying a commercial product for over 60 Euros (including shipping) is a decision which requires thought and information. The first thing you ask: “When the next Mandriva comes in 6 months, will there be an option to upgrade my Flash?” – Exactly this question was asked and the answer was an unmistakable “Yes, we will provide updates a while after the release of the new Mandriva Linux.” And so they did. A couple of months after the release of Mandriva Linux 2008.1 (2008 Spring) we were presented the upgrade ISO images and everybody was happy. I carried the Flash stick around with me and advertized it wherever I went to.

Then came Mandriva Linux 2009.0 in October 2008 – again everybody asked about the Flash upgrade and Mandriva gave the same answer, “Yes, be patient, it will come.” December came and went by, in January people asked again and received an assuring “We are working on it”. Same happened in February, in March I opened up a bug report in Bugzilla about the issue and there a leading Mandriva employee even gave a time when they would focus on the issue. Then that time went by, 2009 Spring release was coming up and all inquiries about the still missing 2009.0 upgrade ended up at a wall of silence (the bug is still marked as “New”!).

Now the release of Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring went by and one of these days I received another advertising mail from Mandriva: “Mandriva Flash 2009 Spring is out!”. Still no word about the long missing 2009.0 upgrade. People asked about the new Flash and about its upgrades and Mandriva again promised that there will be upgrades.

In the Mandriva forum people still asked about upgrades for their 2008.1 Flash – it took a direct request to a moderator to ask a leading employee at Mandriva about the status of that issue. The answer came at once, “Upgrades for the 2009.0 Flash to 2009 Spring is in Q&A, it will be available in 2 weeks.” Yes, and what about the old upgrade? No answer to that one to this day.

One may say that it is up to Mandriva to offer upgrades or not. Yes, it is. But they promised these upgrades in an official way and users built their decision to buy on these promises. When they made that promise it became part of the product, I would not be surprised when somebody takes them up on that, returning his 2008.1 Flash asking for a refund, according to consumer laws in the EU.

Parole, parole, parole! Is that what I should answer to those who ask for a recommendation to buy the Flash?

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