> Out of curiosity, without commenting on all your points individually, have
> you seen anything in Boardmaker that cannot be done, one way or another in
> P99SE?

It depends how much you look to automating things. I have previously controlled 
via tenting under BGAs by editing the gerbers in an external editor, but I'd 
rather the CAD system did it for me (and remembered for next time). For the 
star earth return feature, in Protel, you can route the nets and then go back 
and edt the schematic to join them together or you can short them on the PCB 
and live with the design rule errors. Pin swapping can be done in the schematic 
etc but it's nice to do on the PCB. "Place from schematic" is a feature that's 
neat where you click at a schematic part and place it in the PCB, but there is 
obviously a perfectly satisfactory way to place parts on a PCB in Protel, 
though not by dragging them from the schematic. I'm not expert enough on either 
package to give a full answer and one way or another, there's probably not a 
lot in it.

> I am a believer in NO hidden pins. If there is a connection, you should see 
> it.

Agreed, though the dynamic text (which is one of the options) makes the 
schematic much neater in some cases and it's stll explicit.

Regarding leases and support, I don't have a problem paying for a lease if I 
think I getting something for my money. I've had two (possibly three) updates 
in six months so I figure I'm getting support and quite frankyl what's the 
difference between a lease and ATS? What happens if you don't pay for the ATS? 
It isn't clear. Anyone considering spending  5000 on software (which is 20 
years of a  250 lease), should wonder what they'll be doing/using in 20 years 
time and how much maintenance they'll have paid in the interim to keep it up to 

Kiernan Fitzpatrick

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