On 12:11 AM 1/11/2001 +1100, Darren Moore said:
>You may what to have a look at the Protel site, they
>(Altium) have a new support plan...

I read this as the coming end of the free service packs.

I can't see anything in the ATS package that is not offered now for free, 
except the automatic receipt of a new version (as opposed to the service 
packs).  We get service packs, we get add-ons, we get access to the 
libraries, yep, the tutorials are there, so too the KB, and even the tech 
support phones and emails are answered (sometime a bit slowly though).  So 
what do we really get that is new with this nigh on $4000 (pacific peso's) 
annual cost.

So Altium is falling into line with all the other subscription/maintenance 
type systems - a great method of ensuring that a company does not need to 
perform.  If Protel 2001, or whatever, is no good we won't pay for it.  So 
Altium have an incentive to do a good job.  If we are on maintenance, where 
is their incentive to convince us to part with our money?

Here is a quote from some of the bumpf:
"Recently released examples include a shape-based autorouter, professional 
integrated CAM tools, and import/export translation packs for Altium's PCB 
design packages."

Has anyone seen the "recently released" autorouter?  The only one I know is 
the one that has been in P99SE since day dot.  It this saying something?

I am certainly keen to know more about the devilish details, but I would 
like to be convinced that we are not being asked to pay for something that 
until now has been free, with the understanding that we pay for new 
versions.  It may be that the old system was unsustainable - but this does 
not seem to be bourne about by the 2001 financial report as after tax 
profit was up by 58% over last year, but I did not read the financial 
report far enough to find out if this is broken down by product line.

I for one need convincing that this is not simply another company 
(referring to MS) dressing up subscription software as a benefit to the 
customer when there is a good argument that it is anything but.

Ian Wilson

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