For years I’ve been using Synergy to control my Mac & PC that sit side-by-side using only one keyboard & mouse. Unfortunately I encountered a longstanding issue that the company behind Synergy (Symless) refused to addressed even though it was the 2nd most commented issue in the github repository.
When I received an email inviting me to pay for the “beta” of Synergy 2.0 I went ahead and paid the $19, hoping the issue had been fixed because it’s been a huge problem for me. After downloading Symless Beta4, I realized I’d been duped. The software was nowhere near beta quality – it was not even feature complete. There was no facility to change any of Synergy’s configuration settings at all (or even restart it, etc.)
Worse, it barely worked, it frequently disconnected and when it did work it was incredibly laggy on the client machine. This is alpha quality software at best.
When I complained about my disappointment in the beta user forum, rather than receive an apology, Nick Bolton – the owner of Symless implied that I wasn’t smart enough to understand how a beta process works. It is possible that things work differently in the UK where Mr. Bolton is from, but calling your customers stupid is not a way to make them feel better.
He stated that the reason to make the “beta” a paid experience was to be able to limit the number of testers to a manageable size. I don’t buy that argument for a minute. Apparently Mr. Bolton has never heard of invite-based betas. Then he went on to delete my forum post stating my opinion regarding this paid beta (fortunately Kelvin Tran quoted me as shown below.) To make matters worse, Mr. Bolton revoked my ability to post in the beta forum.
So I went ahead and tried a competitor to Symless / Synergy called ShareMouse. And let me tell you, it just works – with none of the long-festering issues that Nick Bolton’s team has ignored for more than a year.
I decided yesterday that I wasn’t going to bother with Nick Bolton any longer until I woke up this morning and refreshed the browser tab of the issue I mentioned earlier. Mr. Bolton, apparently embarrased by the many negative posts to the issue, deleted 52 comments and locked the issue for further comment (and locked me out of the repo.) That’s what ultimately prompted me to write this post.
It’s clear to me now that Mr. Bolton has no respect for his paying customers (I should have known that after waiting more than a year for this issue to be addressed.) I realize Mr. Bolton is learning how to run a business, but covering up your mistakes and muzzling your paying customers is no way to do it.
Symless has offered a refund, but the issue was never about the money, it’s about setting the right expectations – this is not beta software. Furthermore, you should fix major issues prior to working on a major release. Nick further exacerbated the problem by effectively calling me stupid for expecting beta software to be feature complete and somewhat functional.
Vote with your hard earned money and switch to ShareMouse.