Abd and the Forum,
What I perceive from my original reading of the announcement is that
Protel / Altium is going to drop DXP and nVisage DXP (DXPnV), and
replace it with a new product, Protel 2004 (P04), which will be given to
all current DXP and DXPnV (collectively "DXP(nV)" ) license holders,
free of charge.
Although the announcement doesn't specifically say it, I feel that
between the lines it is saying that all support for DXP(nV) will now
cease entirely, and current DXP(nV) license holders will now be given a
new product, P04, in lieu of any further support, and specifically in
lieu of any further Service Packs.
In this regard, I also have a sinking feeling that since P04 is
supposedly a "new" product, or shall we say a "different" product, that
Protel / Altium can and will claim to have no further necessity to
support any current DXP(nV) licensees beyond simply replacing DXP(nV)
with P04, whether it works or not, and that they will not receive any
further support without paying for it.
Back to the issue of Service Pack 3 for DXP(nV). It appears (or should I
say that I perceive) that in order for Protel / Altium to proceed any
further on fixing the problems by issuing a real SP3 (beyond the two
"pre" releases of SP3) for DXP(nV), that they had to fix enough things
that they have actually changed or altered things enough to call it (or
make it) a new product.
Ok, so where does that leave us now?
It firstly appears that this is Protel / Altiums way of answering all of
the people in the DXP Technical Forum who have been screaming for
Service Pack 3, which is long long over due, by saying that they will
get a new product (P04) in lieu of any further support of DXP(nV), which
will be here until the first quarter of next year ("Q1, 2004"), which
realistically means the end of March (4 months away), if they do not
slip the release date (and when have we not seen that happen?).
Secondly, this appears (or I should probably again say that "I perceive"
that this appears) to leave DXP(nV) licensees and users in a position
that any and all of their training is now "down the tube" and wasted,
and that the new P04 product is again going to be quite different in its
operation, and going require that everyone will have to jump thru an
entirely new training "hoop". The real question here is whether or not
those who have already paid for DXP(nV) training will get free training
on the new P04, or whether they will have to pay cold hard cash to get
trained anew on P04. In other words, have they thrown their time and
This brings us a very very large issue which I will not digress into
here, and that is whether or not all investments in learning and using
DXP(nV) will have been wasted. For example, will designs done in
DXP(nV), and such things as library components, be compatible with P04?
Here I might speculate that Protel 2004 will be more along the lines of
Protel 99 SE than DXP in its operation. Could it just be that Protel /
Altium has realized that they have gone down the wrong road in their
design of DXP(nV), and that too many people have complained about its
operation (not to mention the training and learning curve), and that
they realize that no one wants to buy the beast beyond those people who
have blindly upgraded to it.
Again, I would refer all to the original announcement by Protel /
Altium, and if they were not a recipient on the original mailing, then
see my original post here which contains the original announcement at
What this announcement by Protel / Altium seems to be saying is that "we
cant fix DXP(nV), so we are going to replace it, but don't worry, we
will replace it for free".
Where does that leave the people who have bought into DXP(nV), and have
been struggling to learn how to use it for the last year, and have
already made the transition to it.
It appears that what Protel / Altium may be really saying in this
announcement is that they want all of the DXP(nV) licensees and users to
hold on for another 4, or 5, or 6, or 10 months, or a year, so that they
can give you a new product which actually will work (wiahful thinking?),
which will replace their DXP(nV) blunder.
I think that this announcement by Protel / Altium, and more specifically
this "move" underlying the announcement, is designed soley to stall and
pacify all of the DXP(nV) licensees and users, while they change
directions and try to go unnoticed as they try to climb out of the hole
that they dug for themselves.
To this I once again say, what the @$#% is going on, and what the @$#%
are all of the DXP(nV) licensees and users supposed to do in the
Forgive me, but to me it appears that this announcement and the apparent
(or should I say possible) "move" underlying it, seems to be made simply
to prevent losing customers to other EDA products, and more
specifically, prevent those licensees from demanding not only their
money back, but more money in the form of damages due to the time and
expense of converting all of their existing designs to another EDA
product (yes, that is legally possible under California law which covers
the DXP(nV) License, but again please not let us digress or argue this
issue (at least at this point) as it takes us away from what is really
going on here).
So what's the "Bottom Line" here?
I think that current DXP(nV) Licensees need to really stop and ask what
Protel / Altium is really saying here, and what it means to their own
productivity, and whether or not it is wise to continue down the Protel
/ Altium "yellow brick road" to the "land of Oz", the land of "promised
I think that it is time once again for us to request, no, demand, some
real answers from Protel / Altium as to what is really happening and
going on here.
I would say at this juncture that what we all need to do on an
individual basis is to evaluate just what the real hidden meaning of
this announcement is, and decide whether or not we should proceede for
yet another day to put more time and money, in the form of designs and
training, into this bottomless "money pit" called DXP(nV), which which
it appears is being dropped by Protel / Altium themselves..
The bottom line is that I think that at this point in time Protel /
Altium needs to give us some real reasons not to simply pack it in and
dump them as a provider of EDA Software.
Please see below for further comments:
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Abd ul-Rahman Lomax" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: "JaMi Smith" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: [PEDA] Exciting news for all users of Protel DXP and
> At 02:56 AM 11/20/2003, JaMi Smith wrote:
> >Maybe I just need to get a good nights sleep before I try and read
> >thing again.
> Maybe you should follow that practice every time you think that Altium
> collection of idiots and you are tempted to fly off the handle as you
For the record, I do not think that "Altium is a collection of idiots"
(well maybe for an occasional moment two), but rather I think that
Protel / Altium sometimes appears to think that its licensees and users
are the "idiots", based on some of the things that they have done in the
past, and some of the things that they have tried to pull off (there is
a difference between being stupid and acting stupidly, since the one
can't be helped).
I will however admit to the fact that sometimes I do in fact believe
that "Altium is a collection of" people who occasionally exhibit gross
incompetence in certain areas.
Whether or not I am flying off the handle will be born out by future
history, but please let us not digress into my manner of "stating the
problem" (which I know can sometimes be rather direct, if not
offensive), but can we please just stick to "dealing with the problem"
of discussing the "announcement" and its meanings, both stated and
implied, and how this is going to affect the licensees and users.
> >Seriously, I am not just writing this to provoke an answer from Ian
> >Abd or Tony, and in fact I beg you guys not to take this off topic
> >run it all downhill into the gutter as has been done in the past.
> It's already there.
Please, again, can we not digress into this, but rather really deal with
the issue of the "announcement" itself.
> >We who are DXP Licensees have spent a very very long time waiting for
> >Protel / Altium to fix the major problems in DXP [...] only now to
> >find out that they have apparently not been busy trying to fix the
> >problems with DXP, but coming up with something new for which they
> >ask us for more money.
> >For those who did not get a copy, please read the original
> I'll quote the relevant parts below.
No ! ! ! Please do not just "quote the relevant parts", but rather
please go back and read the "whole" announcement, and please be sure to
look between the lines at what it is really saying, and what it really
> >The one that really really really has me fuming is the statement "
> >Updates and enhancements that were under development as part of
> >Pack 3 for nVisage and Protel will not be released for the DXP
> >but have now been integrated into the nVisage 2004 and Protel 2004
> >Protel / Altium - I don't think that you really know what you are
> >getting yourself in for, and you might want to rethink your whole
> >approach about selling your customer base a non functional system,
> >then turning around and saying that you are not going to fix it.
> They did not say that. However, I'll admit that on the *second*
> became confused and thought that they *had* said that Protel 2004 was
> going to be free to ordinary DXP users. That was a misreading. See:
> > > Because of our belief that every engineer should have access to
> > >opportunities that this new technology offers, all current DXP
> > >users will receive the 2004 software update automatically, free of
> > >charge when it is released Q1, 2004.
> All current DXP version users. Free. That's pretty explicit!
Whether or not it is free is not the issue, but the main issues that I
see now (possibly there may be more that I see as I re-read the
announcement and as time progresses) are the abandonment of correcting
the bugs and limitations in DXP(nV) in its current forum (which appears
to mean that current licensees are stuck with what they have and will
not get any further fixes for DXP(nV) at all), and whether or not the
training required for using DXP(nV) is going right down the drain, and
more importantly, whether the current DXP(nV) licensees and users will
stop receiving support after receiving their "free" "upgrade.
I guess the last thing that I mentioned here is the baggie. Will current
DXP(nV) licensees and users continue to receive any support after they
get a "Free" copy of P04, or will they have to buy into the current
support model (ala ATS), in order get what they really already paid for
when they bought or upgraded to DXP(nV).
What it really boils down to is this: It appears that Protel / Altium
has now declared DXP(nV) to be a "bastard child" as a product. Does this
mean that they now treat all DXP(nV) licensees and users as "bastard
children" when it comes to giving then service and support with the new
> And Mr. Loughhead repeated:
> > > So to clarify..
> > >
> > > Everyone who holds a valid user license of Protel DXP and/or
> > >DXP will receive their respective 2004 software update
> > >free-of-charge.
> What is not free is Nanoboard:
> > >All customers who hold Protel DXP and/or nVisage DXP licenses AND
> > >a valid pre-paid upgrade subscription will receive the 2004
> > >updates as well as the NanoBoard.
> What confused me (and which may have also afflicted Mr. Smith) was
> last paragraph, read in isolation. It could have been written to avoid
> problem, as in:
> "All customers who also have a valid pre-paid upgrade subscription
> receive, in addition, the Nanoboard."
I am not at all worried about whether or not people will get the
Nanoboard, in any manner except that whatever it is will have counted as
their "upgrade". This is not a real issue.
> I have to agree with Mr. Loughhead's title. It is good news, assuming
> Protel 2004 addresses the major user complaints.
I think that you have to go back and read the announcement again, and
this time read it all, including the real "between the lines" meaning of
the issues that it addresses
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