At 09:20 PM 3/15/01 -0500, Mike Reagan wrote:
>Don't anyone get me wrong... I love 99SE.   I just don't understand why a
>simple task like load the netlist in takes so long on a clean (large)

One thing I would try is to eliminate the part section from the net list. 
If all the parts are already placed, the part section is unnecessary. It 
might not help, but it is worth a try.

Another trick which I used with Tango when I had a large design that was 
taking a long time to load a net list and to perform certain other 
operations was to eliminate the ground net and perhaps any large power nets 
from the net list.

Why does it take so long to load a netlist? My guess would be that either 
the database is not indexed or it is inefficiently indexed. Or there is 
some kind of bug that has the program spinning its wheels. Maybe this is 
the same bug that caused the reported crash after so many hours. Maybe 
there is something in the database that is triggering this behavior. If so, 
it might be possible to find it by chunking the database (dividing it into 
sections and seeing how the load time is affected when various combinations 
of sections are used). However, this takes time, and most of us simply 
can't take the kind of time it can require.

I'd think that Protel should take a look at this database and attempt to 
determine what is going on. I know that sometimes Protel contacts those who 
write about problems on this list requesting more information. On the other 
hand, it is possible that they already know what is causing this behavior 
and perhaps are planning to fix it.

I wish that communication between the users and Protel were better. It's 
already better than the situation with some CAD companies, and certainly 
better than it used to be. But it could be still better. The users, 
collectively, have far more insight into the program's use than Protel by 
itself could possibly have. Bringing the users together with the 
programmers, in this case by providing the users with more information 
about Protel's knowledge and plans, could greatly strengthen the company. 
There seems to be some kind of idea that if the competitors find out what 
Protel's plans are, sales will suffer. This kind of thinking is very 
common, to be sure; with some kinds of information it might be realistic. 
But too much secrecy actually, in my opinion, cripples the company (as well 
as hobbling the users).

We don't need to know what Protel plans to do two years from now. But it 
would be quite useful to know what is coming next, one step ahead of where 
we are. If we knew, for example, that a new autorouter were scheduled for 
prerelease next month, we might not make that investment in Specctra.

I believe that I could write, in not very much time, a utility that would 
load a netlist into a Protel ASCII database with reasonable speed. If I 
knew that Protel was not putting effort into this particular issue, I might 
write it. But I'd hate to write it and then have it be immediately obsolete 
and unnecessary. I think a lot of user development of tools is repressed 
for this very reason.

I remember when Tango PCB did not have automatic aperture assignment. I 
thought that it was pretty dumb to have to manually type in, yes, I do want 
a 50 mil round flash for that 50 mil round pad. So I wrote an aperture 
assignment utility, and debugged and documented it. About when I would have 
released it, Tango released the next revision which had, you guessed it. 
Now, my utility was still useful to me because it had some features that 
Accel had not put into PCB itself. I could choose, for example, to 
calculate ground plane blowouts from the pad size instead of the hole size, 
if I wished. I could therefore make positive/negative merges with Tango, 
which was otherwise not very easy. But there was no longer the burning 
necessity and therefore no longer the ready market for the utility.

Abdulrahman Lomax
P.O. Box 690
El Verano, CA 95433

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