Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:

> At 03:35 PM 2/11/2002 -0600, Jon Elson wrote:
> >There's a lot of history, there.  Accel originally sold Protel's Tango
> >package
> >in the US.  When Protel was solw to deliver the next version, Accel went
> >out, hired programmers, and created their own program that ran to the same
> >specs that Protel was working with.
>
> I consider this a pretty unlikely version of the story. It is a major
> effort to "go out and hire programmers" and it takes time. It is much more
> likely that Accel saw a market opportunity and prefered to meet it with
> their own product than having to pay Protel their cut. But I was not privy
> to the negotiations. Tango and Protel Autotrax, as I recall, came out at
> approximately the same time, but it would be interesting to know which was
> actually first.

I was in the middle of this, and was in very frequent communication with the
Accel technical support people.  I sent them a letter with about 50 major points

that I considered to be either code bugs or deficiencies in the existing
product.
This was the last Tango version before the Tango series II was released.
I was STUNNED when the new product(s) came out, because they had not
only looked at my list, but done SOMETHING about EACH individual
point.  Both Protel and Accel produced a product that was essentially their
programmer's concept of how to satisfy all of the points.  (Now, I'm sure,
some other people must have contributed their own lists of things they
felt needed work, and obviously Accel (and other reps from other countries)
must have been making lists of the frequently asked support questions.)

But, I felt really weird about the whole experience, like I'd been the guy
that wrote the spec for the software update, without ever being told that
I was doing that!

Anyway, someone on the inside may have had a different (and possibly more
accurate) view of how this all unfolded, I inferred a lot of it from what was
said
publicly and what was mentioned in numerous support calls after the new
Accel Tango Series II came out.

What I can say, to the best of my memory, is that Accel publicly announced that
the original autors of the software (anyone who cared could easily find out that

was Protel Party, Ltd.) were planning a major revision of Tango, and it was
expected
in several months.  This kept going round and round for at least a year, and
Accel said there would be no maintenance releases until the new program was
out.  Accel did not come right out in print with the declaration that they had
tired
of waiting for Protel to complete the next release, but they did clearly explain
to
me that they were in the process of writing their own program to the same spec
as the Protel product was to be written to.  I had a "bad feeling" about this,
having
seen what could be cobbled together in a few midnight coding sessions with C.
It looked like a program, smelled like a program, quacked like a program, but
you sure couldn't do any useful work with it.  And, that is what we got.  It
eventually
became a limited, but functional program, and I made a LOT of boards with it.
But, I had to do things a certain way, or messes would be made.  The notorious
one the never fixed was "place component, copy component, move copy, and the
silkscreen part of the moved component was trashed, 100% of the time".  This
could
be demonstrated in less than 10 seconds, and it failed absolutely every time you
did
it!  This bug remained through at least 8 or 10 revisions of Tango series II!

>
> >   The file formats were very similar,
> >internal database structure very similar, etc.  The new Accel product was
> >chock full of bugs, which Accel never seemed to be able to fix.  Accel
> >eventually
> >bought out Pads, and that must have represented too much competition
> >to Protel, so they bought out the whole thing.  But, in a sense, they bought
> >many of their old customers back.
>
> The last sentence may be true, except that my sense, as a Tango user, is
> that the majority of Tango users did not stay with Accel in the long run.
> But, again, I don't have actual numbers, I just know many desigers who did
> not go up to TangoPro et seq.

I bailed right at the DOS/Windows transition.  I had seen enough of bugs
unfixed and complaints disregarded to have 0.000% trust in Accel anymore.  I
remembered the original Protel Autotrax DOS program sold through Accel as
a fairly weak program, but absolutely reliable - 100% it did what you expected
every
time you hit a key.  It had almost no netlist checking capability, but it was as
bug-free
as any program I've ever used.  That takes work and dedication to excellence,
and I felt it had to mean something about the attitude of the people responsible

for it.  So, when Protel started to make a serious effort to reach old Accel
customers,
I decided to try them out.  They couldn't have been worse than Accel even if the
TRIED
to, Accel was THAT bad, both in their software and their support!  I got the
Protel Schematic software first, and it just worked.  Period.  So, then we
upgraded
by adding the PCB program, and have stayed on for the ride.  We pretty much
skipped
Protel 98, and the first 99, as it seemed extremely flakey on a Windows 95
system, but
then upgaded to 99SE, as it seemed to work acceptably.

> It was PCAD, not PADS. PADS is still alive and kicking, though it seems
> they may not be doing so well.

Yup, I get these mixed up, as they are just names, I have never actually used
either
one.

Jon

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