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I’m really disappointed with Cacti. It’s a great concept with great intentions, but implemented poorly. It’s been a long time since I’ve been angry with doing normal tasks in software, but Cacti really pisses me off every time I work with it. The main concern I have is that any change can break the graphs for an entire host.

Imagine if you were creating a chart in Excel. “Ooops, that should have been an XY scatter graph, not a line graph.” You make the change, and BANG — all of your data is gone, and the graph is broken. The only way to fix the situation is to delete the entire spreadsheet and start over with new data. This is what it feels like every fucking day when working with Cacti.

I wish I could switch to something else, but I have 260 servers and 4,500 graphs now. I don’t want to rewrite all of my polling scripts and templates for a new system. Hell, I’d pay $2,000 for a graphing system that imports my entire Cacti setup and doesn’t suck shit at the same time.

In Cacti’s defense, it is in active development, which still gives me a little hope it might improve. Not much hope, since it’s written in PHP and uses RRDtool as the backend. I will never be able to create (correct) multi-series graphs because the RRDTool guy shot himself in the foot with that one. Who the hell makes a graphing package and leaves out the ability to have multiple Y axes with independent scales? I spend a good portion of my script writing trying to massage my data to fit on a normalized graph. Fucking bullshit.

Many open source projects are like this — great ideas with half-assed code, annoying UIs, and assholes on the mailing list. (Although, Cacti’s support forums are somewhat helpful) Is the rule of thumb here, “you get what you pay for?” In that case, I think I’d rather go back to paying for software. Fuck open source, I just want it to work!

Hold on. My KDE4 taskbar disappeared. Where is that “kicker” binary that they used to have in KDE3? Gone. Wait, why is Firefox consuming 1GB of memory? WAIT, why is Pidgin consuming 650MB of memory!?

Ctrl Alt Backspace. WTF, that’s disabled by default in Jaunty now? Who the fuck made that decision?

You get my point. The idea of Open Source is great, but I believe it has become too chaotic with a complete disregard to good programming models. Closed source (pay) software can be horribly shitty as well, but at least there are consequences to half-assed code: you’re out of business.

I love Linux and Apache in the server role. It does a great job, because we make money with it. There is a strong motivation around the world to make Apache into a great product, because it’s directly related to our profit margins. My KDE4 taskbar will never make money, which is why the developer wrote it one-handed while simultaneously jerking off to his World of Warcraft in-game girlfriend.

Excuse me now, I need to search for some graphing software. (And jerk off to my in-game girlfriend)

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31 Comments

  1. Very yes. Write more please!

    • I will. šŸ™‚ My hatred of Cacti has not ceased, and I haven’t yet found a suitable alternative… However, there are many other subjects I will write about provided the database servers will stop bitching long enough for some breathing time.

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