[talk] So Netgate bails on FreeBSD

Izaac izaac at setec.org
Wed May 30 11:44:05 EDT 2018

On Sat, May 26, 2018 at 05:19:41PM +0000, Mark Saad wrote:
> I think I’ll stop there, except to note to Izaac, we get calls from
> PAN customers all the time.  pfSense can’t line up against PAN.  This
> can.

I just shit-canned eight PANs and replaced them with pfSense on some
ancient Dell R210s the other week.  I investigated what it would cost
out-of-pocket to have a) them shredded and b) the remnants shipped to
our rep.  I still may.

It felt really, really good.  And performance is better in nearly every
respect.  The only issue is "selling" the idea to the our paranoid
customers who associate the Palo Alto name with some fantasy of
excellence.  So far, it's been effective to list the suite of packages,
e.g. Suricata, and impress them with the sheer weight of text on
multiple lines.

And this is the real problem.  It's not about the technology.  It's
about perception and market inertia.

You've 100% done the right thing in coming out with a completely
detached product marketed at the space.  There's no way pfSense would be
satisfactorily whacked into an "Enterprise" form to make those people
happy.  "Based on the experience of developing" is about the most you
can get out of it.

But this market has nothing to do with technology and everything to do
with the promotion of irrational decisions.  The prey are executives who
desperately want to spend money on a thing so as to give the appearance
of having "done" something about it to their board.  The predators are
experienced.  They understand how to cultivate fear and offer relief.
They know how to weasel their products into positions from which they
can sell additional services.  They know how to cultivate drones who
constantly push the product into further integrations and refuse to
consider leaving.  Textbook psychopathy in a sales force.

Just read the commanding tone of this communication I got from them a
month ago:

   Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2018 21:54:41 +0000
   From: XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX <XXXXXXXX at paloaltonetworks.com>
   Subject: Time to take a second look


   [You] previously evaluated Palo Alto Networks. Unfortunately, we
   went our separate ways. Since then, we released new hardware at lower
   prices and our new operating system with enhancements for cloud,
   phishing attacks, and more. It is worth another conversation.

   Let’s do an overview next Thursday afternoon? Let me know what time
   works best for you.

   XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX | Business Development Representative, XXXXXXXX
   XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX | Palo Alto Networks

Re-read it with the words "hey baby" in front for amusement.

I'm happy that I don't think you can compete with them at that level.
Be better.  I'd hope and expect that if you build your strategy around
being a competent alternative, you may have some luck -- and I genuinely
wish you guys luck.

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