> (2) If I *were* testing Phoenix beta, I'd be able to say that, unless I
> signed another NDA which prohibited it. If Protel informed me specifically
> that the fact of my testing was confidential, then it could be a violation
> of the NDA even as it stands, though it might be difficult to enforce
> because it could easily be argued, in defense, that the bare fact of my
> occupation in testing was not "information, whether written or oral,
> exchanged between them...," which is what is covered by the NDA.
> But I would strongly advise PAltium to get Phoenix into Beta as soon as
> possible. The program could be quite buggy as long as it does not
> reformat the hard drive.... ;-) The fact that Phoenix is in beta release
> will generate excitement in anticipation, and I'm sure that Altium is
> of that. So it should not be secret.
> So I conclude that it is not in Beta yet.
> Abdulrahman Lomax

Altium might not subscribe to the same view. They could, conceivably, argue
that publicising that beta testing is currently occurring (which the general
public would infer in the event that a beta tester disclosed that) has the
potential to compromise their commercial interests, in that their
competitors would then be aware as to when beta testing is occurring
(whereas they would not be aware of that if none of the beta testers
disclosed that).

Whether such an argument would stand up in a court of law is of course
another matter (assuming that Altium did initiate legal action against a
beta tester who publicly disclosed that).

Even if the public at large are not aware of whether beta testing is
currently occurring or not, many would still infer that this probably is
occurring at present, on the basis that Altium has announced that Phoenix
will be released before the end of Q1/2002. While I suggest that that
release date should be taken with a grain of salt, that still doesn't alter
the proposition that Altium might not want any of its competitors to discern
when beta testing started, and/or how long has been assigned for that.

I am not currently beta testing, so I am under no obligation to keep that
fact to myself. It also follows that I don't know whether beta testing is
currently occurring or not, so I don't conclude that this has definitely not
started as of yet.

Given that Altium will try and release the public version of Phoenix before
the end of this quarter (as they have already publicised that release date),
or failing that, as soon as possible after that deadline, I would hope that
beta testing has in fact already started; the alternative scenario implies
that the beta testing phase will be very short in duration, and with the
programmers under considerable pressure (from other sections of Altium) to
release the final version of this ASAP.

In a previous post, I suggested that perhaps Altium could release a public
beta version before the end of next month. That would give them some
breathing space, while also permitting them to retain a large measure of
credibility. And users at large would have the chance to find and report
outstanding bugs (even if it was too late in the piece for suggested
enhancements to be implemented, unless these were of a trivial nature to

Geoff Harland.
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