The Trouble With Talend [Update]

[updated 26/09/2016]

This morning I got another promo email from Talend bursting with marketing cheerfulness. Since they had not yet responded to my tweeting this blog post last Friday  I had another go round with them on twitter. First they tried to blow me off (the old check the forums routine)


and then an email showed up from a Mark Balkenende, who identified himself as a Talend employee responsible for building most of the virtual machine file. He explained what had been going on.


Notice how the problem is on my end? 🙂 There are three problems with this scenario;

  • Computers run firewalls – this is 2016, not 1996. Well built software should be built with this in mind and in fact I download many things using generated links and have never had this problem before.
  • Well built software should not fail quietly and default in a way that looks like it worked but didn’t. It should either use an alternative mechanism that works or alert the user, hopefully telling them how to fix the problem.
  •   If there’s a restriction or requirement then that should be documented before the user tries it and a work around suggested. That way people don’t get as frustrated.

His proposed solution has yet another snag however:


Bad assumption. I use Linux, specifically a chopped version of Ubuntu called lxle. And, yes, I’d like to check out – if you can get it here before I pop a blood vessel in frustration!


When I first came across Talend back in 2007 I was fairly impressed. At that time it was the only data integration software released under the GPL. It has a lot of good engineering but is handicapped by a harsh learning curve, sloppy documentation and flawed web based processes – sign up, usr onboarding, product distribution and support. They have a lot of customers but would have a lot more if they weren’t shooting themselves in the foot.

Let’s walk through an experience I just had. It started with a email newsletter from Talend titled “ Create Your Own Adventure” and this is what happened.

I decided to try out one of their products:

Easy Button my ass!

I followed the links and was able to download a distribution package called Talend Tools – I then received an email titled “Your Big Data Sandbox (Beta) Free Trial Is Confirmed” that contained a link to document called ‘Big Data Insights’. This made reference to a Virtualbox appliance file (.ovf) – the Talend Tools package did not contain a .ovf file.

Making a note of that, I tried to start up the software in the Talend Tools package – it asked me for a license key. None of the emails I had contained a license key, so after waiting a few hours I contacted their support email as listed and enjoyed this interaction.





I’ve had an account on Talend’s website since at least 2010 and have entered my contact information many, many times. They don’t seem to have a grasp of user/session management I fear.



At this point I decided to clarify matters.


The next morning I began assembling this article and noticed something on the download form. Pretty crappy web design.


Notice where it says *Big Data Sandbox for MapR users Download’? I decided to try that and after filling out the form once again it started another download of the Talend Tools package after which an email with a license key attached showed up in my inbox. Still no sign of a Virtualbox appliance file however.

At the end of day I am left with frustration and confusion rather than an opportunity to learn the software. Talend is a well funded company and these mistakes are quite preventable.

Do better Talend!

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