Friday, January 7, 2011

Open Letter to SeedStudio

A while ago I purhcased a couple of relay shields from your site and was recommending them to my project's users . Unfortunately, you discontinued the original product and no documentation, nor any forwarding or upgrade information, is available.

Even though a new version of the product now exists, it is not immediately obvious to my users whether the new product is compatible with the old, and whether it can be used as a drop-in replacement.

Other open hardware manufacturers retain documentation for even discontinued products available indefinitely (example here), because even though the product is discontinued, there are many instances of it in possession, and sometimes open source project maintainers need to support products that they don't have in their hands (such is my case).

It would be much appreciated if you could consider making the documentation for the old version available, and providing version compatibility notes on both old and new devices so people without deep technical knowledge could be sure that the new version of the product can be used instead of old. Including a link to a new device on old device's page won't hurt either.

Thank you for consideration,


PS: The text above was sent to you a few months ago, but there was no response. Since then, it came to my attention that not only relay shield was upgraded, but also the UartSB V2.2, and possibly others. The pattern is obvious - you're upgrading devices as soon as you run out of stock of components you could get for the cheapest price. That's OK, everyone has to make a living. However, if you respect people that make your bread and butter just a tiny little bit more, you might get more respect, which will definitely make your sales better. On the other hand, if you are an uncertainty, you are a risk. If you are a risk, you are a threat. Threating your customers is a bad business strategy.

For now, I will only recommend your products only if there is no other alternative, and a clear link to this post will be included next to recommendation. Your competitors' products will be recommended instead, even if the price is higher. Good luck.