> Let me see if I understand. If Protel allows beta testers to disclose that
> Phoenix is in beta test, then the competition will know that it is in beta
> test. Gee, I hadn't thought of that!
>
> I suppose that all the press releases about what is in Phoenix wouldn't be
> enough to get the competition off their collective duffs, but when they
> hear that it is actually in beta, why, then they will go out and hire
> droves of programmers to deal with the emergency. They will also offer
> Protel beta testers large sums of cash for allowing them a sneak preview,
> thus corrupting the Protel user community. Obviously, for the public
> welfare, and for reasons which have now become clear, beta testing must be
> secret.
>
> *What is the problem with the competition knowing that it is in Beta?*
They
> know -- they have known for a long time -- that it is coming. They have
> some idea of what is in it, the big deal, probably, being the autorouter.
> They gain no advantage by knowing that it is in beta. None. I was being
> sarcastic, of course, but the only gain I could think of was that they
> could try to bribe a beta tester. And they could do that anyway. Risky
> business, though.

Even if competitors made no attempt to contact and bribe beta testers,
perhaps Altium subscribes to the view that publicising exactly when beta
testing is occurring could still give their competitors insights into
aspects of Altium's activities and practices that they might prefer to be
kept as confidential as possible.

The purported advantages to be gained by competitors are probably more
illusory than real, but some people within corporations, and who wield
influence, still think along such lines.

> On the other hand, right now someone contemplating a Protel purchase might
> be tempted to think that Phoenix is vaporware. As soon as it is known that
> it is in beta, that obstruction vanishes.
>
> In other words, secrecy for beta equals loss for Protel and Protel users.
>
> Sure, they might not agree. But, as I said, I'd be surprised. It's not in
> beta, Occam's razor.

Corporations do not always behave in a manner that could be described as
logical though. I was attempting to describe what is possibly Altium's POV,
and that does not necessarily make sense.

> They would have to have selected a whole new crew of beta testers, which
> would kind of trash the idea of having experienced users beta test.

Assuming that all of the beta testers have complied with a directive not to
disclose that they are beta testers, I would not discount the possibility
that at least some of them have a good knowledge of Protel, and regardless
of whether they have also been beta testers for previous versions or
otherwise.

> Yes, it's a problem. But it may not be such a big one. Sure, it means that
> Phoenix might be released with inadequate beta testing. But if patches to
> fix bugs are quickly available, and if the bugs are not bad -- which they
> might verify in a month of beta -- then it is no longer so important that
> everything get found and fixed before release.
>
> Sure, they should do beta testing for a longer period, if they want to
> avoid reinforcing the bad reputation that has plagued Protel. But quick
> response to bugs and complaints will be more important.
>
> Tsien gets bug reports and fixes the software and sends a patch within
> days, I think. That might be too fast, but not necessarily....
>
> Abdulrahman Lomax

SP3 (the first SP for Protel 99 SE) came out in fairly short order after the
release of the first public version of Protel 99 SE. If the first SP for
Phoenix is released in a similarly short amount of time, things might not be
too bad.

Regards,
Geoff Harland.
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