Say no more! It's as if Altium (and other big CAD software makers) are
penalizing the people who are utilizing their software. I wouldn't be
surprised if the future issues of Protel will have *cracks* available on the
Internet. I've run into the same situation, you have to upgrade your
software, but ALAS, the service contract has expired. Now you have to
justify to the people who don't even use the software, how much it'll cost
to A. Renew the license; B. Pay for the upgrade; C. (use your imagination).
My old boss would refuse to upgrade if HE didn't see the benefits. Maybe all
these EDA & CAD users should get together and develop their own software
than can be distributed for a nominal fee, and have it available on their
respective forums. (Does Linux ring a bell?)

Sean James
PCB Designer
Telecast Fiber Systems, Inc.
102 Grove Street
Worcester, MA 01605
(TEL) 508.754.4858 x33
(FAX) 413.541.6170
----- Original Message -----
From: "Fred A Rupinski" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2001 2:23 PM
Subject: [PEDA] Devil's Advocacy, ATS FAQs


I think it important that Protel users submit alternative viewpoints to
those presented in Altium's answers to ATS FAQs. Here is my contribution [my
comments]:

What is Altium Total Support (ATS)?
......ATS, which switches from an irregular-upgrade development model to a
continuous-evolution development model. [ATS is not needed for this. This is
an internal operational policy determined by Altium. Altium should always be
correcting irregularities as a matter of good practice.]......and the
ability for Altium to more easily train and maintain a stronger support
team.[Ditto]

What are the benefits of being an ATS member?
...... eliminate the inconvenience of lobbying for software upgrades. [How
else can Altium determine users' needs?]

Why did Altium introduce ATS for Protel users?
[The answer "Altium introduced ATS because......" is not given.]

Why should I become an ATS member?
...... ATS membership minimizes the complication of budgeting for and
administering updates to your design tools......[Protel is one of over a
half dozen major tools I use, making this a trivial issue. My budget is an
important valid issue however, and $US1995 for membership cannot be
justified by anything I've learned so far.]

How do I become an ATS member?
[n/a for many 99SE users.]

I am a Protel 99 SE user, how does ATS affect me?
You will continue to receive full ATS-level technical support......[I would
therefore expect tech support to be scrambling to resolve a recent issue I
submitted, but such is not the case. No response yet. If this is ATS-level
support, then the future is bleak.]

I have purchased a Protel 99 SE Full Suite since October 1st 2001. When will
I receive confirmation of my ATS membership?
[n/a for many 99SE users.]

Can I buy ATS membership for my Protel 99 SE license purchased prior to
October 1st 2001?
(No)......you will continue to receive full ATS-level technical
support......[I would expect tech support to be scrambling to resolve a
recent issue I submitted, but such is not the case. No response yet. If this
is ATS-level support, then the future is bleak.]

When the next Protel version is released will I receive ATS as part of my
license?
Yes, ......as part of your purchase. [I can't reconcile this regarding users
who already have ATS support as described above. Aren't upgrades included at
no charge?]

What happens if I choose not to renew my membership?
......  If at a later date you wish to update your Protel design
tools......[Later might make sense judging by the current state of affairs.]

How much does ATS cost for Protel products?
[Extrapolating, I suspect that the real cost of ATS will be productivity
loss owing to additional burdens that membership places on users. ATS has
already drawn Protel users into a quagmire. This will be denied, But
Altium's statement "the formation of closer and stronger relationships with
our customers - who in turn can help us improve the effectiveness of our
products" means customers will be expected to expend resources hoping to rid
bugs and gain improvements. Sadly, only a fraction of user effort will bear
fruit. A huge waste of time.]

How much will it cost to upgrade to the next version of Protel if I am not
an ATS member?
[I can't reconcile this regarding users who already have ATS support under
existing 99SSE licenses as described above.]

I also received another long e-mail attempting to clarify the benefits of
ATS. This is an extraction from that e-mail:
"......let me begin by saying that at this point you've received limited
information simply because there are limits in the amount of information
available at this time.  Please bare in mind that Altium Total Support (ATS)
is currently in its infancy - meaning we've yet to determine how exactly we
intend to implement things......"
Are people really paying money for this?

To summarize, Altium already has a wealth of user input which should be
referenced to fix 99SE. Users need a SOLID SP7 so that Protel works as
originally advertised. Once Altium learns how to develop a clean, solid
product, this knowledge can be applied to future products. The market will
buy them if these products are truly productive.

Regards,
Fred A Rupinski

PS   I forwarded these remarks to Altium.




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