Igor wrote

> It seems that protel is going M$ way.
 I don't think Protel has any choice with M$,   They have to offer software
in which the mainstream is using, unfortunately is M$.

>They want us to pay for their bugs.
Personally I think Protel went the extra mile with SP6 offering it free to
99 users.  99se with SP6 is an incredible package in comparison.   I am at a
crossroads.  I attended a Mentor Expedition workshop and was very impressed
with their program.  The list price was 36K.  This month for service
bureaus, like mine they have a  really sweet deal  at half price 16K.  That
is right 16 K for Mentor.  I have a copy of it here for evaluation. I loaded
it on my system and here are my immediate conclusions.

I drew up a list of about 100 requirements.   I know the program will
perform the high end stuff, so I wanted to put it thru the paces to see if
it would meet my requirements.  Some of my tests were simple things like
copy and paste.  Some programs have difficulty with the simple tasks.

First requirement  PORTABILITY......need a key  to load it on my laptop
not a real show stopper so I can live with it.  Files can be transferred too
Requirement 2     Compatibility.......FAILED my second test.     I receive
netlist in any of 100 different formats, I receive schematics from fed-x,
faxes, Orcad, Protel, viewlogic, pdf, and on Kleenex.     Why did it fail?
because to start the darn PCB package, you must have a complete schematic
entered into MENTOR schematic.     I don't enter , re enter or trust myself
to copy someone's schematic.    There is no way I can guarantee the accuracy
again and again without making a silly mistake somewhere along the line.
I make my customers understand that they and they alone are responsible for
the accuracy of the information I receive, even if this is only a netlist.
I decided on step 2 that I can not use this program as much as I my mouth
salivates for it.   I never got a chance to test the other 98 on my list
because you cant start the pcb editor without a schematic.  A closed system
I can not work with.

Lesson and big wish to Protel....Don't follow the lead of "other" systems
like MENTOR and CADENCE with closed systems.      99SE allows for an "open"
ended design system which now allows me to use third party netlist (using a
translator of course).  I can jump right into pcb and draw an outline, place
parts, and have a preliminary design in a few hours.        I haven't been
following the BETA testing to determine if the DXP closes the door on this
option, but PLEASE MR. Protel tell me it wont be closed,  otherwise I have
no reason to go on with this program.  I am confident that Protel
programmers will do an excellent job after several more service packs.
Otherwise we might have a release of 3.X ( barf software)     I don't
understand why they had to rewrite everything when 99SE was so good,  was it
limited in terms of what they could do with the code?  I don't write code so
I don't know.

Protel is  writing  new router code.    Having a separate program for
routing may not have been such a bad idea.    Right now, with second party
tools like Spectra on another machine,  I can run spectra and work on a
second design.    No time lost , better yet I doubled my throughput while
another machine is crunching a large design.    I don't know where we are
going here either with M$ or Protel

 XP sucks even if supposively doesn't crash as often.   M$ is going the way
AOL did trying to sell me media stuff like BRITNEY SPEARS and BSTREET BOYS
every day.   UGGGGG.     My zip drive spins into a multimedia player
everytime I insert a disk with XP  I kill it everytime   but it is a pain.
I found a way to kill the MS puppy on my screen.    I'm glad I don't have
speakers connected otherwise I would have to listen to him bark also.  Cut
me a break you coders out there,   are you people so lonely and tired of
writing code that this the best you can do for creativity?

Commentary only.

Mike Reagan
Frederick MD


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