The UPS Follies

Eric Raymond has a splendid rant about the lossage that goes by the name of UPS systems. They are, he says—at all price ranges—garbage. They don’t, as a rule, meet their specs, have reasonable display of errors, or allow for intelligent monitoring of their operation.

Here in Tampa, Florida, a UPS is a necessity. During the summer we get daily thunderstorms that sometimes make the power blink off for a second or two. Just long enough to cause a reboot. Modern Unices are much better at recovering from this sort of thing than they used to be but you sill don’t want unexpected reboots, especially when you can get another before the first reboot finishes.

Like Raymond, I have suffered through the annoyances and inconveniences that using a UPS brings. I used to buy the best ones I could find but, as Raymond notes, that makes no difference. You might as well burn your money. So now I just grab one from Sam’s or Best Buy and throw it away when it dies. I wouldn’t mind spending a little more to get a decent product but that doesn’t appear possible.

Raymond says that making a good UPS isn’t hard and needn’t be expensive. He suggests a little disruption from the bottom. He’s volunteering to write the firmware but doesn’t have the hardware chops to put the rest together. If you know something about that and are interested in improving everyone’s life, let Raymond know. One of the commenters suggested doing a Kickstarter or similar fund raiser to get things going.

Even if you can’t help out, read Raymond’s post. It will make you feel better in a misery loves company sort of way.

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