> When Altium tried to go to a maintenance fee arrangement, we screamed
> loudly enough that they backed down. If there were a maintenance fee, we
> would have a much better chance of getting service packs.... How much
would
> we be willing to pay for continued work on 99SE? My guess is that if we
> paid enough to make the programming effort worthwhile and satisfy the
other
> issues, we might as well pay little more and get DXP....

I wish I could erase the concept of software "maintenance" from the world
mindset.  Software is not a physical thing that can wear out or break.
"Software Maintenance" is market-speak for "bug fixing".  Manufacturers of
physical items frequently perform corrective action at no charge to the
customer - vehicle recalls, for example.  Why should software be any
different?  I expect software bugs to be fixed for free.  Of course, the
software world doesn't meet my expectations.  Is that my fault, for having
unreasonable expectations, or is it the software producer's fault, for not
living up to reasonable expectations?  I choose to believe the latter.

IMO, the software world is in terrible shape.  The main reason free software
exists is because some users got tired of being endlessly gouged by
commercial software developers' prices and their lack of concern about
fixing bugs, and decided to write their own stuff.  That's great, but the
problem with much of the free software is that it's poorly documented, very
rough around the edges, and sometimes missing many needed features.
Notwithstanding, more and more free software is being deployed.  In some
areas, this is eroding the commercial viability of commercial software.  And
how do commercial software vendors respond to this trend?  Not by reducing
their prices and fixing the bugs!  By increasing their prices, changing
licensing terms, adding product activation, and changing file formats to get
lock-in.  Think about it - how much interest would there be in Linux if
Microsoft dropped the price of W2K and XP to $39 for a full license version,
got rid of activation, fixed all the security bugs and buffer overflows, and
published all of their API's and file formats (even the undocumented calls)?
Much of the interest in Linux would quickly evaporate if this were to
happen.

Free software can be great, but it won't save the world.  Commercial
software can be great, but it's straying further and further from the good
value it should be.  I should be able to buy a boxed retail OS for $39, a
great boxed office package for $39, and a boxed RAD IDE compiler for $199 or
less.  Since this is not the case, Linux and other free software is the next
best alternative.  And it will remain so, until the software producers wake
up and realize their prices are too high.

Best regards,
Ivan Baggett
Bagotronix Inc.
website:  www.bagotronix.com


----- Original Message -----
From: "Abd ul-Rahman Lomax" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: "JaMi Smith" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 6:39 PM
Subject: Re: [PEDA] Open source SP7





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