Julian, please see below.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Julian Higginson" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "'Protel EDA Forum'" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2002 10:23 PM
Subject: Re: [PEDA] Top Notch Talent for Troubleshooting.

> > From: JaMi Smith [mailto:jamismith@;sbcglobal.net]
> > Unfortunately, my experience with the Protel / Altium is that
> > you only get
> > one chance at one Helpdesk Potplant, and if that one Helpdesk Potplant
> > doesn't know the answer, then you are SOL.
> >
> well then the problem is with their support structure, not their
> You can't expect someone with years of PCB design experience to sit around
> at altium waiting for the phone to ring with someone who has a problem.
> Especially when 90% of the time it'll be some silly printer driver related
> bug or a lost serial number.....

I totally agree with that, but at the same time I think that there should be
"someone with years of PCB design experience" somewhere at Altium to answer
the "hard" questions, even if it is on a consultancy basis.

Actually, there should probably be several people "with years of PCB design
experience" scattered throughout the organization, especially in the
"development" arena.

> > Yes, "someone" at Protel / Altium has in fact been writing
> > software for
> > about that length of time, and yes there have actually been gradual
> > improvements in the software, and yes it is a "generally
> > useable" tool for
> > the engineering community.
> >
> > But, speaking as someone who has used many of the EDA
> > Software packages out
> > there and also as someone who owns his own Protel 99 SE / Protel DXP
> > license, I can say that Protel is deficient in many many
> > areas when compared
> > other system that are available out there.
> >
> Obviously in a few areas it's ahead, though.

Yeah, in blunders and oversights.

> As an owner of multiple CAD programs though, you are obviously aware of
> sillyness in the functionality of the other programs you own, yes?

I only own Protel, but have used many others, and believe it or not, in this
respect, Protel is in a class all by itself.

> > The real question here is first whether or not Protel /
> > Altium knows those
> > standards and practices and to a certain extent follows them,
> The question should be "does protel allow you to design to specific
> standards"
> and I think that yes it does.

More specifically "Does Protel PREVENT you from designing to specific
standards", which is the actual point of this whole thread.

Without repeating everything again, the fact is that Protel DXP does in fact
PREVENT you from designing to specific standards and accepted industry

That's exactly what all of the complaints in parallel posts are about.

> And I still think that programmers dont need how to design, but reading
> examples, maybe they need to spend a bit of time (and money) talking to
> engineers a bit more seriously.

Depending on just specifically what the programmers responsibility is, I
would say that all but a few very lowly types should in fact know what the
design process is, and depending on the level of responsibility in terms of
product development, I would say that the higher you get the more you should
know, not just about programming the product, but also about the use of the

Protel / Altium is not a Software Application Developer where their business
is developing and writing code for any old application that comes along, but
rather Protel / Altium is a CAD / EDA Company that develops software for CAD
/ EDA Applications, and there is in fact a very big difference between the

Unfortunately, it seems that with programming problems like "KLUNK!", that
they are having trouble with writing code of any kind, but notwithstanding
that, I would say that a good portion of their people should in fact
understand the minimal usage of the product they are writing code for, and
the requirements of the industry they are employed in.

> > and secondly,
> > and more directly concerning us here in this discussion, does Protel /
> > Altium violate or fail to meet those standards and practices
> > by deleting a
> > legitimate 4-way connection, eliminating De Morgan
> > equivalents in schematics
> > and Logic diagrams, or by leaving out a "QTY" column on the BOM.
> >
> Standards are one thing, Practices are a different issue.

Standards / Practices - semantics - they need to understand the world that
their product is designed for.

> the BOM thing is just silly, I agree. but its not that they have removed
> that specific functionality. they removed the "protel bom" feature from
> software, right? and good on them for doing that... who wants a text file
> BOM anyway? I've spent ages turning those text file messes into useful
> documents when I tried using them before. In 98 and 99se Excel BOMs were
> always the way to go. Now a qty field in the excel BOM would be nice, and
> save everyone writing a script to do it, but that was never there, its not
> like they deleted specific functionality here.

It is not "just silly", it displays their total inability to see or catch a
momumental oversight, which appears to be attributed totally to the fact
that the people responsible, from the bottom to the top, for seeing that the
product is suitable for the intended industry, are totally out to lunch. It
is a question of not understanding the needs of the Designer (and the
industry) and the total failure to provide a "specific functionality here".

"Its not like they deleted specific functionality here." Oh yeah, well what
happened to the De Morgan equivalent? I think that "they deleted specific
functionality here."

Its NOT one silly little issue. It's the whole damn package!

It is not the occasional mistake. It is the large scale oversights and
misunderstandings of the Design Process and the requirements of the CAD /
EDA industry.

It is not that they are trying to be new and novel, but the number of things
that they fail to do or understand or leave out in the process.

And it is not just the oversights, but their failure to understand the needs
of the industry appears to permeate their mentality, and obscure their
vision, even with their brand new product DXP. For example, when someone
asked them a legitimate question in their own forum (DXP Technical Forum) as
to whether or not the DXP Autorouter could handle Differential Pairs, they
totally and completely ignored the question, even though it was submitted
twice, and even though they have stated that all questions in that forum
would be answered by Altium personnel. While it may appear to many that
Altium was just trying to avoid answering the question out of embarrassment
over the fact of the new product not being able to handle differential
pairs, the reality of the situation is probably much more the case that
Altium does not understand the importance of being able to handle routing
differential pairs in their autorouter, and failure to realize that a major
portion of their customer base will probably encounter parts using LVDS
controlled impedance differential pairs in their designs within the next two
to three years at the most, and that they will need  to have this ability in
their EDA Software Applications. This is not really a question of oversight,
but rather a question of being oblivious to the EDA world around them. It is
a question of ignorance, in that they just do not know what they should
about the needs and requirements of the PCB Design world. I mean they wrote
a software application some 15 or 20 years ago, and they are still patching
it and occasionally adding new features, and occasionally reissuing it with
a name change and price increase, but they still don't appear to know
anything more about PCB / Electronic Design now then they did then. I mean
we got this brand new super spiffy "Situs Autorouter" that will probably do
really great on yeaterdays technology, but come on, give me a break, "Duh!
what's a Differential Pair?", what about todays technology, not to mention

> I'll come out and say now that I've never used DXP. I will one day - but
> that time is some way off. I didn't start using 99se till mid to late 2000
> for many of the same reasons. I dont know of any major software these days
> that is stable and reliable on a first release. And I'm not prepared to
> upgrade costs for the privilege of wasting my time doing unpaid beta
> testing....

It is not a question of stability on the first release, but rather a
question of consistency, and Protel / Altium appears to have consistently
had the problem from the beginning that they really do not know what they
are doing, and that they "catch up" to the rest of the industry only by
virtue of the fact that their customers keep complaining that the software
doesn't do this or doesn't do that, long enough and loud enough that they
finally catch up to the real world, or more specifically, where the industry
and the real world was a few years ago.


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