All,

I'd like to point out that (in my opinion ) Protel's 'tech' support is not
worth it.

[Rave switch on]

In the UK (Yes, Premier I know you are listening... you let the cat out the
other day) their support could be described as desktop support, similar to
that offered by PC reseller to new Windows users, a friendly hand to hold
onto if you have trouble using a mouse.

Premier have rarely (if ever) been able to answer any of my or my colleagues
questions on Protel. (No offence to Zee, I believe he's doing his best)

I've used protel for about 5 years now, we are using it now only because of
my knowledge of it.
It would take too much effort to change, too much re-learning.  If not for
that we would certainly be using Orcad (which we also have) or PCAD.

Even without going through past emails, I can think of at least three times
I've asked for
technical support and Premier have been unable to resolve the problems or
offer a suitable
resolution, forcing us to work round the problems or work them out
ourselves.

These were:
Video card drivers producing UAEs (they didn't know about this even though
its a known bug and repeatedly told the individual to re-install protel)
 - Resolution: Change graphics card

Video card drivers producing erroneous or corrupted printer output.
 - Resolution: Change graphics driver

Corruption of .ddb databases due to low resources / low memory on very large
designs.
 - Resolution: Install more memory and upgrade to win2k

Sensible ways of performing step and repeat, both in hierarchical schematics
and PCBs
 - Resolution: Doable,  but with a nasty fudge

30s system hang per component per pin on update through hold component pad
on large designs
 - Resolution: Turn off auto poly re-pour detect and use the
citeltools:repourpoly instead

So called multi user working is very dangerous - and can easily cause loss
of work
 - Resolution: None (Premier: never tried it, don't recommend it) (us: stay
away from it)
(Interesting one this as its a selling point of Protel - Hmm "Sale of goods
act......" )

No, make that 6 and that's without too much effort, none of the above cases
were resolved
by Protel and all are still and visible in SP6.  And these are only the ones
I've bothered
to talk to them about, what about the (non) integrated help missing out
major chunks, or
the other 999 bugs that have been reported on this list!!

My point is that Protel (or Altium) or whoever is driving this (Probably the
support units
after having reported huge costs) should fix the problems faster, then
support would not
cost them so much and not be required past the first year once new-user
learning problems were sorted.
Or perhaps cynically, this is a drive to try and dissuade people from
hassling Protel with bug
reports after their first year of ownership, they've got you money already.

Hang on, this is not the only place I've seen this happen.......

My other 'arf works for a local government office, supporting a software
package that is almost mandatory in all UK schools.  This software is so
faulty and bug ridden that each authority has to employ software consultants
(my beloved it one) to help the users (school secretaries and teachers) keep
it working.   There are thousands of people country wide that are employed
just to maintain what is in effect just bad code implemented badly.

There is another company that offer a similar package that is just as
capable, but they don't need a support system, why? It works, totally and
without fault.

Ok, in this synario I'm quite glad for bad software 'cos it keep a roof over
our collective 
heads, but its still a waste of taxpayers money!!!

Oh, then there is the other synario......

Aldac make a VHDL/Verilog simulator called Active HDL, probably some of you
out there use it?

As of V4.1, its perfect, never crashes, function correctly, and does its
job.
For a while, the company we bought it off wanted  700/year support and
maintenance payments,
buy why, its not going to break, V4.2 does more, but not for us, why pay for
it?  Aldac
and their distributors have shot themselves in the foot as far as future
slices of our dosh as there is no reason for us to pay any more money to
them. A slight downer for their shareholders
don't you think?

[Rave switch off]

In the end I expect Protel will do what they want, and what the hell, why
shouldn't they? Its their company.
If we don't like their Product or services we should simply go elsewhere.


Jason.


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