Untangle unravels

Posted: December 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: computing | 5 Comments »

After some minor hacking earlier in the year I’ve been okay with Untangle’s performance, until this week. A couple days ago I noticed Untangle wanted to do some updating. I went in and backed up the configs and a few key files, checked the appropriate files were listed as protected in the admin interface and let ‘er rip via the web interface. Untangle goes about it’s business then reboots…. BAM… no love, boot errors. Shite.

After tossing together a USB stick with SystemRescueCD to investigate it becomes clear that Untangle replaced my /boot/grub/menu.lst with a fresh copy. It didn’t just update and add a kernel entry, it just replaced the file altogether. All my grub kopt options for booting the encrypted LVM volumes = gone. Mother fu**er.

Yes, I read the disclaimer. I know customizing virtually anything on Untangle voids the warranty, no user-serviceable parts inside, this tag not to be removed except by consumer, parental guidance is advised, call before you dig, breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement, blah, blah, blah.. So why does this piss me off??

1) /boot/grub/menu.lst and /boot/grub/grub.conf (just for good measure) were both listed as “protected” in the admin interface. According to Untangle that means they should not be touched. I took that at face value.. you say you’re not going to touch something, then don’t.. EVER. Give me an error the update can’t be completed if necessary, but don’t just ignore a file is listed as protected and update it anyway.

2) Even if it’s not listed as protected, why would you ever update a Grub config by replacing the file? Grub has a proven process for updating kernel entries that every major distro has used for years. If Untangle used the standard process then it would have picked up my kopt parameters and added them to updated kernel entries and all would have been well with the world. But just replacing the config file carte blanche? Poor form.

3) To add insult to injury -- there wasn’t even a kernel change, so there was ZERO reason for updating the file. Untangle did it just for fun.

So yeah.. I can handle a system with a few unique hooks and a closed internal vm, but pissing on standard practices for updating the underlying core Debian distro.. dealbreaker.

Untangle is out, done, later.. thanks for the good times, wish you well.

5 Comments on “Untangle unravels”

  1. 1 Untangle Forums said at 7:50 pm on December 30th, 2011:

    […] Thanks, but it's time to go.. […]

  2. 2 Rudi said at 3:44 am on February 27th, 2012:

    Ouch……. I was just about to purchase Untangle or our hosting operations when I saw this……

    thanx for the headsup.

  3. 3 admin said at 4:30 am on February 27th, 2012:

    @Rudi – in all fairness, UT is a very solid product if you’re looking for an out of the box solution. I do like the UI and it really does deliver solid functionality. The problem I had is it’s truly a “product”. I incorrectly assumed that being a Debian core, it would be hack-friendly. I was wrong.

    If you don’t need customization and plan to use it only as intended then I would still give it a serious look.

    More discussion on the topic happened here: http://forums.untangle.com/feedback/28296-thanks-but-its-time-go.html

  4. 4 Rudi said at 4:38 am on February 27th, 2012:

    I read that article and understand their viewpoint, but I hate vendor lock-ins and think it would have been nice(r) if they had more flexibility for a more advanced admin to be able to make some changes as he sees fit.

  5. 5 admin said at 4:12 pm on February 27th, 2012:


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