Note to Parallels Staff re: 3.0 Release

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by radesix, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. radesix


    Parallels Team

    Congratulations on a great product concept and successful implementation to date. We understand that virtualization is new technology and 3D graphics implementation is a complicated issue to resolve and are certain your developers have put in many many long hours to make this product successful. We also understand that your company has been thrust into the spotlight and is experiencing some growing pains as a result.

    The latest release of Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 is clear evidence of the organizational challenges facing SWSoft.

    With all do respect, the latest version certainly does not coincide with the level of product maturity implied by your marketing department in the run up to general availability. As you are well aware the public has been anxiously awaiting the support of 3D graphics for more than six months. Avid supporters of and previous purchasers of Parallels were offered an opportunity to "pre-purchase" an upgrade based on the perception of readiness put forth in your advertising.

    In our opinion it is misleading and deceptive to offer statements such as:

    2. Play the hottest 3D games!
    OpenGL and DirectX support lets you explore a whole new world of 3D games and applications right on your Mac. Play Half-Life 2 and work in Sony Vegas at near native speeds right in your Parallels virtual machine.

    Only to have those statements clarified AFTER purchase with language such as:

    Dear customers
    Please, remember, what Parallels Desktop 3.0 is the first released virtualization software to deliver 3D support to the Mac. There are still some limitations on using the 3D support, please consider the following:
    ° The current version have been tested with and has the confirmed 3D support for the limited number of applications listed in the Release Notes
    ° There are also some issues possible with running your 3D application due to the copy-protection mechanism used in it.

    Ethically, this information should have been disclosed prior to purchase. We believe better alternatives should have been explored such as:

    1) Full disclosure of the major open defects prior to purchase
    2) Waiting to release version 3.0 until more thorough testing had resulted in a significantly improved release than what exists today
    3) Retooling the beta program once again to allow more thorough external testing

    We understand the open public beta model used in previous releases proved a difficult to manage customer feedback process. When you retooled your beta program by closing the public beta and supporting only a limited number of external testers by invitation only it appears that we might have drastically reduced the number of hardware/software configurations tested resulting in a higher number of defects escaping from integration test to general release.

    Some possible solutions are:

    Perhaps the language used in marketing materials should be revised to more accurately reflect the state of the product at time of release so users can make an honest and educated assessment on whether the time is right to upgrade. We understand the external market pressures dictate a shortened schedule; however, quality and integrity must remain a priority. Maybe the marketing department itself needs some realignment.

    A closer look at software development standards and methodologies such as IEEE 12207, Capability Maturity Model, Personal Software Process, etc can help your developers reduce the defect count prior to beta testing. If industry standard practices are being followed there is room for significant improvement in their execution.

    Perhaps the beta program should be expanded again but in a more controlled fashion. Perhaps an online feedback mechanism that didn't consist of only free-form text should be explored. There are ways to improve the defect recording process to ensure that you receive meaningful feedback vs. a lot of the garbage you received previously.

    In summary, we feel that the primary goal of this release was to introduce 3D graphics functionality. To that end, we are disappointed in the extremely limited 3D support AS A PURCHASED PRODUCT and some of us feel deceived and/or conned. Some have even lost confidence in your marketing and product support capabilities.

    Your management team must recognize that you have the opportunity to take the virtualization application marketshare by storm but are also on the brink of squandering that opportunity due to a history of shoddy product support/customer service and now a paid release not yet ready for prime time.

    Bottom line, this release should have been a minor 2.x update or a 3.0 beta. Not a paid upgrade. Hopefully most of us will continue to support your efforts as the product is continually improved. However, I personally will not accept and pay for a 4.0 release unless significant product, development lifecycle, and organizational improvements are made.

    Best Regards
    Shaun Williams
    Sr. Software Engineer
  2. justflybob


    Well said, radesix. Well said.

    Time will tell if SWSoft gets the message or not.

    BTW, you don't happen to have a law degree alongside your BSEE or BSSE, do you? :)
  3. radesix


    No law degree. Just a BS in Information Systems and an MS in Software Engineering.
  4. gideony


    Well said, Shaun. I think you nailed it.

    Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact Parallels was so impressive in previous iterations I doubt the frustration would be so acute. But I know I feel my faith in them was severely compromised by this situation.

    Everything else seems to be quite nice... but things like video playback working strangely with DirectX on (in various cases), and other issues people are having besides gaming is very discouraging. Some of the other features are nice, sure... but they are certainly not things I care for enough that I would even consider it a primary version upgrade. Like many who do use Parallels, I really don't have windows open THAT often except when doing very specific things - its systems are too far removed from all the application interaction so essential to mac use. If the 3d was really intact in an appreciable way, however, it'd seem fair.

    At any rate, I was going to do a review over Parallels 3.0 for blogcritics, and I still may, but if I do - it won't be particularly favorable regarding the business practices involves or the reality of this DirectX support. Generally, however, this version offers little worth discussing in any great detail aside from what it didn't deliver.

    Gideon Addington
  5. kastorff


    Well done, radesix.
  6. radesix


    I agree whole-heartedly. I also expected basic issues such as music and video playback to be fixed as well. I still can't listen to music or watch videos due to extremely choppy playback through Windows Media Player.
  7. Stevamundo


    Well said. I also had and still having problems with choppy audio and video in WMP and RealPlayer in Vista.

    Also I'd love to see the 100+ fixes that supposedly has been fixed in 3.0.
  8. Rayman


    You said it all... and said it well, radesix.

    Very disappointed with Parallels.... too much deception.
  9. radesix


    Just curious if the Parallels staff cares to comment?
  10. qad


    As someone using both Fusion and Parallels, I'd like to point out that the video playback problem \ mp3 playback \ realplayer \ vlc issues seem to exist for both virtualization software. I'm guessing there's something related to the nature of virtualization and playback that is causing this problem, just like the issue with time unsynchronization for servers.
  11. gideony


    Oh, no doubt there are some very real technical hurdles... and I still prefer Parallels over my experience with Fusion (though I've not tried the new Unity version yet) if you're going to advertise on graphics, etc... you'd think, at minimum, you could get video functioning properly.

    But I do know that, more than anything else, I use Parallels for the access to Internet Explorer so I can view windows media files in a non-hobbled environment - not something I can depend on now. Vista business can't manage any sort of decent streaming video, and has been an issue for versions.

    But, again, it isn't that parallels isn't great, amazing software - it's that this entire 3.0 business and 3d support, etc is quite shady. I'm not going to RETURN parallels, because I do need what it offers currently - but that being what it is, I still feel.. shall we say, screwed?

    What's this mean in the future? It means that I will rigorously investigate other options, and will not willingly hand over money to this company in the future. Leopard, of course, may make Parallels moot - and after this, I don't feel terribly bad regarding that issue. Parallels has a tremendous amount of good will aimed at it, and has deserved it - until now. But they used that good will and trust to bilk a lot of us, intentionally or not.
  12. buzzdat


    Just out of curiousity, why would you need to access windows media files through virtualization? The major networks all support safari - I watch content all of the time natively on my macbook pro. For offline content, the combination of vlc, perian, realPlayer, and Flip4Mac provide access to every file I have encountered. And I deal with a *lot* of multimedia files.

    I totally agree that the graphics "prowess" of the 3.0 upgrade was massively overstated by Parallels marketing, but there's probably a better way to accomplish media viewing natively on your mac.
  13. Amber242


    I am sure Parallels will not answer to this. They're now "a big software house" - so they don't care for customers anymore.

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