At 08:57 AM 7/12/01 +1200, Phil So wrote:
>Good point.  How much control does Protel have over  If
>it is as little as the control we have over Protel (or any other non-captive
>supplier) and it's direction, then I would be very hesitant to rely on the
>Protel/ combination to serve my needs well, in the long

Obviously, Protel should be aware of the negative reactions this server has 
stirred up.

I may download it just to see how it works. It might work in a way that is 
not objectionable, and it might work in a way that is a serious security 
risk. I don't know at this point, and I have not heard the complaints from 
anyone, so far, who has actually downloaded the server and knows what it 
does, or, if they did, I overlooked a description of the actual operation, 
which is critical.

Protel would be well advised to consult users extensively before doing 
something like this. The competition already has it, it's not like this 
would be a big secret where letting people know it was being considered 
would ruin Protel's market opportunity.

I do think the objections *if the product has been properly designed* are 

If goes belly up, we would have lost nothing but 
something that was either

(1) harmful, in which case presumably we were not using it and would have 
been advised to not install it at all
(2) useless, in which case installation is harmless
(3) valuable, in which case we will regret the loss of pcbmarketplace but 
will not be any worse off than we now are. In a very rare circumstances, 
you don't know that pcbmarketplace is gone and on Friday just before 
leaving work, you transmit the RFQ and depend on it, there might be a 
small, non-repeating harm

I'd say that the sum of this game is positive.

Except for the perception that Protel is wasting resources on this. Protel, 
however, for better or for worse, has a history of providing us with things 
that we don't want and we must admit that sometimes, at least, they have 
been right and we had our heads in the sand. Remember how we felt about the 
Access database?

But Protel may have been provided with the technology, so the resources 
involved would have been trivial. If the program does *not* function as a 
server and contains no code that would allow it to do so (i.e., it has been 
reviewed to ensure that it is not a trojan horse -- even a reputable 
company could supply such without knowing it), and it only sends 
human-readable data which is routinely reviewed by the designer before 
transmission, it could actually be valuable.

There is no harm in receiving additional quotes for PCB design, 
particularly if they are easily filtered. One may be foolish to place an 
order with an unknown company without further investigation, but judgements 
like this are the responsibility of anyone who purchases anything, and 
having the names of possible vendors and quotations from them will make it 
easier to find and research them, if we like the quotes. How about we start 
a central database for fabricators with reports of results we have had from 
them. There are legal issues, but properly done, it would be safe and 
*extremely* useful.

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

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