At 05:20 PM 1/18/2002 -0500, Andrew Jenkins wrote:
>That is, aside from the complacency that we've all become so used to from 
>Protdel, what holding them back from completing this long-standing (over 
>five years, by my last count) request?

Well, I think this is bit of an exaggeration. Protel version 2 had a demo 
version that was full-function and thus served as a file viewer. It was 
even full-function *including* file saves for small files, thus hobbyists 
could use it for very small boards. The file dates for the demo are the 
beginning of 1995. Since version 2 continued as the current version for 
some time, there would not have been, I would think, much agitation for a 
viewer until well into version 3, I don't know the dates for that.

I *highly* recommend that the demo be converted to a viewer upon 
expiration. As far as worries about cracks are concerned, as long as there 
is a demo of the kind that already exists, it is trivial to continue to use 
the demo beyond the expiration, it does not take a rocket scientist or 
sophisticated hacker. I'm not going to explain how, so don't ask.

There is even another way, even easier, given Protel policies. Just buy the 
program, then return it. Of course, this means lying to Protel.

But my point is that allowing continued operation of the demo with only 
file save and certain other operations disabled would not increase the risk 
of losses due to hacking and cracking. Further, being able to look and 
manipulate but not save might provide continued encouragement to go ahead 
and buy, and the familiarity of the user with the Protel interface would be 
maintained, one more weight in the scale toward purchase of Protel rather 
than some other package.

(I've expressed my opinion many times that illegal software use, provided 
it does not become the norm, does not harm the software company and that 
figures widely reported about "losses" due to illegal use are based on a 
very shaky assumption that all the illegal use represents purchases that 
did not take place. It is just as likely that illegal use eventually 
becomes purchase as a user wants to come in out of the cold. Many years 
ago, starting out and very much short of cash, I was given a copy of 
Microsoft Works. Within one year, I bought a license to get the upgrade to 
the next version. How much did Microsoft lose from my "piracy"? If there 
had been no "illegal" option, would I have rushed out to buy the software 
earlier? I can be quite sure that, no, I would have used something else, 
maybe I would have ended up with Works, maybe not. That I used and became 
familiar with Works, however, made it very certain that it was Works I 
bought in the end. To my knowledge, the most successful software is also 
the most pirated software; it is quite possible that efforts to prevent 
piracy *reduce* software sales. It will be interesting to see how XP goes. 
It is quite possible to prevent piracy entirely, if users are willing to 
tolerate a requirement for an occasional net connection or other proof of 
legal ownership. But will this increase sales? I doubt it. Better software 
at affordable prices will increase sales, in general, since most software 
money is from business use and serious businesses cannot afford to depend 
on illegal software.)

Abdulrahman Lomax
Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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