I quit (sort of)


Last post on this blog. People will notice the lack of updates of this blog and my Synology pages, although they are updated from time-to-time.

The reason is simple; It takes too much time and I have too litle fun in return. Therefore, I decided to stop responding to email or forumposts and update stuff "when *I* want too" .... Let me try to explain...

A little bit of history

When I just bought my first Synology NAS, recommended by a co-worker, I liked the small, simple design and also the software that comes along with it. We thought how nice it would be if something like SABnzbd would run on this, so we wouldn't have to have our PC's running all the time. At the same time, some DiskManager came with an update that will allow "packages" to be installed. By reverse-enginering those packages, peeking around in the firmware, dissecting the AJAX calls and Extjs, I was able to discover how things worked. In the past, I developed for embedded systems, like cash registers and ATM's, so I'm familiar with C, cross-compilers and the ARM environment. By combining NSLU2 feed, the right GNU-gcc cross compiler, Synology was a bit late providing these, and a lot of tinkering with python, perl and unix scripting, I was able to make SABnzbd run on my synology machine. With help from others, I was able to compile the stuff to other environments too. To learn how the packaging system and GUI worked on the DiskStation, I created a few simple packages, some tooling I missed myself. Not wanting to be selfish, I released the information to forums and also the Synology wiki.

So, all of this was just a way to waste time, hacking, tinkering, developing stuff. I never had and never will receive any money for it. It was never intended to be more then just a hobby project. The only reasons I did set-up my webpages and packaging server was - and is - :

  • Main reason for writing the packages in the first place was simple: I just wanted those things on my Synology machine and couldn't find an alternative, so I wrote my own.

  • I used Open Source and information gathered from everywhwere and I'm a huge advocate of this idea. If you use something that is open and free, share it under the same conditions. It is not a religion or weird thing to do, it is just courtesy to other - much better - developers out there working on these great products.

  • I have a great job, which pays well and really don't need a -renewed- career in software development. I'm to old for that. Therefore, there is no need to brag about, or to find investors, or to compete with others. I don't mind at all if people are copying my stuff or Making money out of it. I really don't care.

  • It was very rewarding exchanging information with other people, discovering things, having a simple "hey, thanks for the great software" mail every now and then.

  • I really hoped my information, code and packages would help others to create packages for Synology. It took a long time, but nowadays, a lot of groups are working together and creating cool packages and setting up package servers. Those packages and coding are way much better then mine..

The downside

So, at this moment, there isn't much left to do, other then just updating the packages, creating new ones, finding out what the new update of DiskManager broke this time and so on. But there isn't much fun it anymore, I have to admit. 

  • It is not fun to receive 15 (!) voicemail messages on my mobile by a local salesman of Synology diskstations, who promised to a customer that SABnzbd package will work on the new released and diskstation, sell it to the customer who will complain later that it didn't. I never make such promisses, and I'm certainly not a company you can call 24-7 and demanding fixes. 

  • When Synology releases a new -beta- software of DiskManager or there is a new SABnzbd version, I will notice it inmediatly: My mailbox will get 30 a 40 emails the same day, asking me about new packages. I don't mind, but people ranting on forums that there is no update for my packages the same day that the new  - beta - DiskManager is released, is something I really don't like. Same thing goes for new DiskStation models. Even before they are released, people "demanding" that my packages works on them.  

  • I really hoped developers did get in touch of me, or people helped me find bugs in my software, and some did, which I really appriciate. But....most of my email is something like "Hey, XXX package don't work. When do you fix it ?" .Tried setting up FAQ's on this website, Forums, pointing them in the right directions. Creating a log facility, better error reporting, but on the end I spend to much time trying to be a helpdesk-via-email figuring out what the h*ll was wrong and wondering if anyone actually read the information I left about it (oooh...I have to press *start* to start package...now you tell me !)   So, I stopped responding to these emails, and I'm really sorry if your are one of those guys. 

  • Another stream of emails is about requesting package X or Y for the synology diskstation, most of the times software that was close-sourced and only able to run on Windows. Please contact the makers of that software and not me.

In summary, a lot of email and forum posts are quite demanding. Somehow, people do tend to have the idea that they can receive full service support like they -might- have from any commercial software vendor. But I'm not. I don't receive, and want to receive, a dime for it. It's only me, having a hobby and sharing the stuff I do in my own free time. 

So, I decided to find other new fun projects to work on and not help nor respond to any email about my Synology packages. I will update when I think I need to update, because I still use my own packages. Nowadays, a lot of people are creating packages, including SABnzbd+ ones, so there is no need to stick around here...

I really hope you guys understand..



Remco AKA "Merty" 

BTW: you can find maintained packages for synology here: