Tony, I sense you are trying to be fair-minded to Altium, who appears to be
mired in a difficult situation regarding DXP. Nevertheless, you may want to
consider that you are doing us all a disservice by defending the practice
(which I consider unethical) of developers foisting buggy software on their
customers. Altium/Protel has been (and should be) praised for their good
work; on the other hand, they must be held to account, and criticized, for
burdening their customers with onerous software difficulties.

Of course, the user information in this Forum is of great value, especially
to me, since I am not a PCB specialist, but a development engineer who uses
99SE to provide clients with prototypes and developmental PCB designs. I
contribute to the Forum when I can. My comments are meant to drive home the
point that I expect quality software from Altium. To quote you, "The overall
spin of DXP has been so bad, I think it's scary from their point of view and
if it were me running the show I'd be listening very closely to this group."

In response to your questions and comments, I've inserted some additional
dialog below.

Fred A Rupinski

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony Karavidas" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "'Protel EDA Forum'" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2002 6:16 PM
Subject: Re: [PEDA] DXP - Crunch time?

> Fred, have you ever developed s/w? Every company I know releases known
> bugs into code with exception of anything that would cause death or
> destruction. They are categorized and prioritized and weighted against
> quarterly statements, product announcements, etc.

I've been developing software for many years in an engineering context,
mostly for equipment, industrial processes, medical electronics,
controllers, etc.. I always thoroughly test my work and remove all the bugs
I find. Contrary to your experiences, I've had dealings with no client that
accepts "known bugs" for use in his products. A few of my clients were
genuinely desperate to eliminate such bugs as they became known.

> I don't think ANY engineer wants to release with known bugs, but they
> are forced to do it. Sometimes troublesome functions are cut out to meet
> a ship date, and in the process of cutting them out, something else
> *might* get corrupted.

I perceive a mindset here that I don't subscribe to and that I can't fathom,
namely, the predisposition of so many people who tolerate (sometimes even
defend) the status quo regarding acceptance of RELEASED software with known
bugs. Of course, the vendors' "lobby" is strong, as is evidenced even in
this Forum. But, thankfully, customers who value their integrity and
finances resist. I recall some contributors suggesting that the Forum
collectively could write a substantially bug-free package superior to 99SE.
Bless them, even though they dream.

> I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying it happens a lot.

Perhaps you should stand tall and loudly proclaim, "IT'S WRONG!".

> Your suggestion to sell DXP for $1600 to new customers is almost absurd.
> Sure, it would be nice to buy it for $1600, but do you realistically
> think the company could survive? We'd all be screwed. With the exception
> of ATS going away (I doubt that will happen), I think the other idea
> floating about ATS being extended until a reasonably bug free version of
> DXP is released would be decent possibility.

You miss the point. Consider the following hypothetical schedule:
Pre-release ...........       $400/$1600 (Full of bugs)
Pre-release, SP1...       $400/$1600
Pre-release, SP2...       $800/$3500
Pre-release, SP3...       $1200/$5400
Pre-release, SP4...       $1600/$6600
Release..................       $1900/$7800 (Proven, substantially bug-free)
Only the PRE-RELEASE software is sold discounted to customers who are made
fully aware of "known bugs". The price increases as the product improves.
The final "proven" package is sold at market price. Those who bear the
burden of  early financial exposure plus helping test and develop buggy
software benefit by getting the "proven" package at no additional cost. The
ethics issue becomes moot. Altium maintains a cash flow that increases as
the product is improved. Those who wait for the final release and buy at
market price get a "proven" package. I think Altium would be motivated and
is up to delivering the goods. Win-win-win-win!

So far as being "screwed", many of us have had that experience via 99 and
99SE. Why do you think, "The overall spin of DXP has been so bad"?  If
Altium goes under because of inability to deliver solid, professional
software, I would not be screwed, because I won't buy it. But anyone who
pays $7800+ for buggy software would be screwed royally.

ATS clearly is for fools who don't mind parting with their money by paying
for "a pig in a poke". Or maybe some large company departments have extra
money they have to burn to assure next year's allocation. Not for me -  I'm
interested in solid software tools to aid me in my work!!

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Fred A Rupinski [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> > Sent: Friday, September 06, 2002 10:19 AM
> > To: Protel EDA Forum
> > Subject: Re: [PEDA] DXP - Crunch time?
> >
> >
> > Based on the reports submitted to the Forum (see TK below),
> > the DXP Demo is not ready for formal release, but seems meant
> > to serve as an extension of the Beta Cycle. I wonder if this
> > violates the ethic of not exploiting customers by allowing
> > known bugs into a formally released package. At the very
> > least, Altium should recognize customer exploitation not as
> > creative, but rather, destructive marketing.
> >
> > I know of a CAD developer who offered the PRE-RELEASE version
> > of his latest 3-D software (probably at the same development
> > stage as the current DXP) at a DEEP DISCOUNT. Everyone knew
> > they were, in effect, not only helping to finish the
> > development of the software, but also providing the developer
> > with needed cash flow. Their reward at the end of the line
> > was the final solid full RELEASED PACKAGE at no additional
> > cost. It seems to me that this is a win-win situation.
> >
> > Now I wonder what would happen if the DXP package currently
> > under development were offered at $400 to current users and
> > $1600 to new users who buy it now with full knowledge of
> > existing bugs and who are guaranteed the solid, fully
> > debugged "final" package at no additional cost. The price
> > would increase with each SUCCESSFUL "service pack" until the
> > package was deemed SOLID, and then it would be sold at full price.
> >
> > So far as ATS goes, well..... ATS should simply go..... away!

* Tracking #: 5121FD5F9C4B5649BC5B8404B08CB2E56DF8DF48

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