My apologies to list members, this is a long response to a long post. It is
not about Protel support, but about the user association and my
relationship to it.
At 02:24 AM 7/26/01 -0400, Andrew J Jenkins wrote:
> >Meeting in committee is hardly "fragmentation." The records of the
> committee are open to the public and will remain so, and anyone who
> wishes to join the discussion may do so. Further, the committee will
> report back to this list and anyone who does not like its recommendations
> will be free to express it.
>I was not looking for a fight, but as usual, that's what you seem to want...
No. Apparently Mr Jenkins considers disagreement as to how to proceed to be
"looking for a fight." However, he raises certain issues and requests
certain clarifications, and if he considers my responses to be fighting,
it's a problem, certainly, but not a major one. We know and love Mr
Jenkins, who can be very helpful; my only concern is that those who have
not been on this list for a long time do not know him or his history and
habits as well as the history of the association, and that, in this
situation, this can cause damage.
>Your new list is not open, it is unlisted within Yahoo groups, whcih, as I
>now know, is not a default condition. Therefore, it is in fact a private
>group, and it was purposely created to be such.
No, it is not a private group. Anyone may join directly, using the method
given. (email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]). Some users object
to yahoogroups because of the cookies, etc., but if you join in that way,
this is a non-issue. Yahoogroups lists no longer have appended advertising.
The new list was created with default settings, and it should be found
under the index under Computers and Internet/Software/Specific Programs.
However, there are about 1600 groups in that category. To find the list,
search on yahoogroups for protel-users, and you will see all the
protel-users mailing lists.
Mr. Jenkins was probably confused by the delay in yahoogroups indexing, it
seems to be about a day behind.
Protel-users-library is now up to 22 subscribers. Still no traffic. It's
fine with me if discussion proceeds here. When we are ready to sit down and
make decisions, the mailing list and its membership are there.
> >I don't know that Mr. Jenkins is aware that I was elected chair of the
> Protel Users Association.
>I am perfectly aware that you have such a title.
I didn't invent it and I did not ask for it. I was nominated and, after
waiting quite a time, a member proposed that I be considered elected by
consensus. I don't recall how large the association list was at that time,
but it was significant. It is now up to 67 members, and they include most
major contributors to the Techserv list. At any time the association can
This list (the Techserv list) calls itself the list of an Association, but
if you read carefully, it is nothing other than a private list offered by
Techserv and subject to the authority of Techserv. Techserv sets the rules,
and it does not ask anyone else. It's fine that Techserv offers this
service, and we are all grateful for it. But an association, it is not.
It's a mailing list, period.
>Further, I didn't see anything in Ted's original suggestion (note that I
>said Ted, not you) that indicated that your association would be calling
>the shots. If it is, well...then so be it.
No, the users call the shots. We have an association -- all licensed users
are, by default, voting members if they choose to join -- and we may use
the association lists if they so choose, or we may continue here
informally. I started the library list merely to facilitate the process,
I'm not going to be controlling how that list goes. The list may elect its
own chair if it wishes, and that is my preference.
>I am the "owner" of record for the Protel-users yahoogroups lists,
>We are all painfully aware of the fact, as you continually remind us all,
>by your repetitive and unsolicited advertisement for your competing Yahoo
Mr Jenkins has repeatedly termed an announcement by me of an association
activity "repetitive and unsolicited." I consider association activity
relevant here, and apparently a large number of users do likewise.
As to "competing," there is only one Yahoo group which could be considered
a "competitor" of this list, and that is the backup list
[EMAIL PROTECTED] That list has 173 subscribers at this time.
That is public record. Now, how many subscribers does the Techserv list have?
To find out, you will have to ask Mark Koitmaa. I'd guess a thousand, but
it could be substantially more or substantially less. The information is
not made public on any routine basis. The only way I found out, at one
time, was by asking what it cost to advertise to the list. Yes, Techserv
has offered to sell our eyeballs. It was too expensive, and I think other
advertisers concluded the same, since we have not seen any advertising.
If we wished to compete, we would simply move to the protel-users list. We
*don't* wish to compete, and we would only move to the protel-users list if
it became necessary. That list has been large enough for quite some time to
be able to provide a high level of user support. That serves as a backup
for the times that the Techserv list is down, and it is also there if the
Association and Mark ever decide to part ways. We aren't planning that.
> > but I only hold those lists as trustee for the association; my
> decisions regarding them are subject to association review, and not only
> can I be overruled by the association, I *have* been overruled in one case.
>Your association in no way represents the Protel EDA user community at
>large, as evidenced by the number of members in comparison to even a
>simpleton's estimate of the number of installed Protel seats.
I'd say that it represents quite a few more members than Mr. Jenkins. Not
everyone wants to take the time to participate in association business.
Most major writers for this list belong to the association.
We have no authority over the user community at large. We exist to serve
them, however, and they are welcome to join. Major association issues will
always be announced here, people can join and vote if they want, or they
can trust that we are acting in their interests.
Every special interest association is like this. I'm a member of AARP, you
become eligible at age 50. They represent the interests of older citizens
before Congress, etc. Only a relatively small percentage of senior citizens
belong to AARP, but still, they *do* represent such citizens as a group.
Since there is *no* other representative of the users, I'd say that we are
it. So if you don't like what I say on behalf of the association, join and
move that a motion of no-confidence in the chair be passed. If you get a
second, I will rule that this motion will proceed to a vote without debate.
If the motion passes, I will proceed to open nominations for a new chair.
Otherwise my term expires at the end of the year. November is the period
for nominations, and the election is held in December.
> >Every organization which has accomplished something significant has
> learned to divide and delegate responsibility. Not everyone wants to
> participate in every activity, and we are already bleeding subscribers to
> the Techserv list,
>"To", or "from", Mr Lomax? Your vernacular confuses me by it's ambiguity.
>If "we" are bleeding members TO the Techserv list, then the Yahoo groups
>are losing members to the Techserv list. That, in my eyes, is just fine.
No, I should have written "from." I know that *some* users are
unsubscribing from the Techserv list because the volume of mail is too
large. We do not know the numbers because Techserv does not make that
information available. Because the Protel user base is growing, there may
still be a net growth on the Techserv list, but a loss in percentage.
The yahoogroups lists have little traffic, so there are certainly no
unsubscriptions for that reason; there are few unsubscriptions for *any*
reason. Protel-users gains perhaps one or two members a day, the
association perhaps one or two a week.
>They are ALL very low traffic lists, IMO in part because of the
>constricting nature of the cell group mentality which they exemplify.
>Everything you've attempted could be accomplished with one or two groups
>in addition to the Techserv sponsored group at most, no more. and their
>required purpose? archive, files, polls... Yet, every few months, here
>comes another Mr Lomax group. You yourself have indicated a mercantile
>bent to your efforts, and it causes me concern.
Printed circuit design is my business. Yes. And providing user services is
part of that business. Techserv is in a similar business: we are, in fact,
competitors, though I have done work for Techserv in the past. There are
other service bureau proprietors on this list. It is *generally* a
congenial community. Mr Jenkins is employed by the U.S. government,
apparently he does not need to worry about matters like professional
reputation or value rendered for fee paid. It's a different perspective.
As to low traffic on the yahoogroups lists, they were designed that way.
They are *accessory* lists. "Cell group mentality" exists in Mr Jenkin's
mind, not in mine. The yahoogroups are useful, and they are free. Does Mr
Jenkins think that we should not have an automatic archive for this list?
We waited for a *long* time for Techserv to set one up.
>And wrt to these people who've left ??? group, these folks surely didn't
>voice their concerns regarding the numbers of messages to this group, so
>how is anyone to know, aside from you, of course.
Well, Techserv could ask. Mark, or his employee assigned to be
administrator, are the only ones who know who is unsubscribing. I don't
know why Mr Jenkins thinks I would know.
>The Techserv Protel EDA forum is not your association, nor are the ideas
>generated within. If you want to administer, then have the courtesy to
>ask, and abide by the answer, whether in your favor or against it.. Do not
>presume that you are entitled to leadership within this group before doing so.
Mr. Jenkins is correct. The Forum is not an association at all, except in
the loosest sense. I don't administer the Forum.
And that is why I wrote that I could suggest that users move the library
discussion to the library list, but it is only a suggestion. Mr Jenkins or
anyone else is free to make suggestions, certainly I am as well.
>At the onset of the subject, I was an equal participant. As soon as you
>decided it was something you wanted to administer, I became an unwilling
>subject to your association. I prefer a more democratic environment. When
>talking about Protel users, 63 doesn't make a quorum in my mind, nor does
>1 or 2, wrt what you consider to be the "vote" for chair.
I took steps to move the Association from a fictitious "virtual"
association, autocratically managed by a single owner, for better or for
worse and to make it into a real, democratic, member-controlled
organization. This is not the first time in my life I have done such a
thing. In the past, I also encountered the same kind of paradoxical
resistance, that is, by moving from an autocratic organization, de-facto
controlled by a single individual or small committee, to one where the
ultimate authority is the membership, complaints were made that I was
"seeking power" or attempting to "divide and conquer."
Mr Jenkins appears to have little concept of democratic process. When an
association is organized, the initiator (or a representative of the
initiators, if there are more than one) will typically gavel the initial
meeting into session. There is no issue of quorum, because membership has
not been defined. The first order of business, under Robert's Rules, is the
election of a chair, and that is what was done. A long time was allowed to
elapse before a member moved that the election be completed, and the
existence of the association was repeated announced. There were no other
Absolutely, I have no special authority on the Techserv list. But I can
also, within limits, speak for the Protel Users Association. If Mr Jenkins
doesn't like that, he is free to take steps to attempt to change it. It is
my duty as chair, in fact, to let him know how to proceed, if he does not
The only environment "more democratic" -- to use Mr Jenkin's phrase -- than
the Protel Users Association is anarchy, if anarchy can be called
democratic. Every move I make as chair is subject to review by the
Association. If the Association does not like what I'm writing today, it
can tell me to shut up, or to make clear that I am writing only as an
individual, not as representative of the Association.
>And, in contrary to your erroneous allegation, I too, would have preferred
>for Techserv to auto-subscribe it's membership to the OT group, in order
>to alleviate some of the traffic (like this particular and unnecessary
>sub-thread) from the main group and reroute it into a more appropriate
>forum which all but those who CHOSE to unsubscribe would receive.
Mr. Jenkins has repeatedly stated that he did not want multiple lists, that
he did not want to fragment the list, and he has repeatedly asserted that
the yahoogroups lists were "fragmentation." If the Open Forum is not
"fragmentation," why are the yahoogroups lists "fragmentation?" The Open
Forum, in particular, was a direct duplication of an already-existing list,
with no other reason for existence.
> However, that obviously wasn't the case. But, then again, the
> subscriber-ship didn't make much of an effort towards convincing Techserv
> that it wanted that end, (in fact, I believe that at the time, there were
> fewer of us who supported such a move than those who thought everything
> should stay in this group arguing instead that this group was sufficient
> by itself). Therefore, (IMO) Techserv opted for an "opt-in" subscription
> method for the OT group.
Techserv, essentially, does what it pleases. Mark does not consult the list
membership, I can't think of a single example. More than once users have
organized to present suggestions to Techserv, and they have been blown off.
If Mr Jenkins is so exercised about alleged authoritarian assumption of
power, why is he so willing to accept it from Techserv? That's a real
question, I truly do not know the answer.
> Finally, I do not object to administration of an undertaking such as
> that authored by Ted Tontis or the concept of division of labor, nor do I
> object to the use of alternate sites which allow for augmentation of the
> Protel EDA Forum group's capability, rather, I object to those who
> presume that they have authority to redirect the flow of discussion away
> from an established forum without first ASKING for such authority from
> those which they presume to take it.
Since I did not speak with authority over this list, I did not need to ask
for it. I have not assumed authority over this list, nor over its members,
and I clearly noted that my suggestion to move discussion elsewhere was
just that, a suggestion. Users are free to discuss whatever they want on
this list, until and unless Techserv intervenes. When they intervene, as
they have intervened in the past, we have never seen from Mr Jenkins any
complaint about their presumption of authority.
Nor should there be any complaint. Techserv owns this list, we don't. That
is the major difference between the Techserv list and the yahoogroups list.
The Yahoogroups lists are owned legally by the Association. I'm registered
with yahoogroups as the owner simply because the Association is not a
formal legal entity, but I have an agreement with the Association to turn
over ownership whenever the Association wishes me to do so. I reserved only
one list, protel-users-resale, but I would turn that over as well if I had
assurances that it would continue to be a place where people who want to
sell their software can find buyers. There is no other place which works as
> Your attempt to move the discussion, authored within this group, an
> unmistakably Protel-related thread, and therefore quite ON-topic for this
> forum, one that was doing just fine without any unsolicited assistance
> from Abd ul-Rahman Lomax, Inc, to yet another forum which you control, is
> a prime example.
When the library committee elects a chair, I will, on request, turn over
the ownership of the list to the chair of the committee. Yes, I have
assumed power, but I have assumed it as a trustee, and specifically as a
trustee who serves subject to the will of the beneficiaries. One might
think about what that means.
No one has disputed that the discussion is on-topic for this forum. I
merely suggested that when users were ready to *do* something instead of
just talking about it, the library list is available.
> You forget that while you may be the chair of an association, you are
> not in fact the leader for anyone outside that organization. Had you
> instead simply announced creation of a group for file storage and
> polling, non-one would ever have replied in-contrary on the subject,
> including myself. I do not enjoy having to address these issues, and in
> fact, I find it quite distasteful to be forced to battle someone who I
> otherwise respect for his technical expertise.
My technical expertise is not nearly as important to me as my character and
professional reputation. That, in fact, is why I began to broker Protel
resales. I had the reputation, and since I have a reputation to protect, I
am more likely to be trusted by buyers and sellers. Mr Jenkins is tilting
>As for any further replies on your part wrt this rationalization towards
>of yours, please route them to the OT group or by direct mail. If you're
>not subscribed to the OT list, you can do so by visiting the Techserv site
>at the following address
>http://www.techservinc.com/protelusers/join.html, and select the Open
Since what I have written is clearly relevant to any putative Association
of Protel EDA Users, I'd rather leave it here, should Mr Jenkins prefer to
pursue the matter. But he is certainly welcome to take his own advice. Yes,
I am a subscriber to all Protel-related lists, so I'd see his response or
any other posts there. That does not mean that I would necessarily take the
time to respond, this particular post is already more of a burden than I
would have cared to take on at this point in time; I've got a truck to load.
P.O. Box 690
El Verano, CA 95433
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