Ironic, isn't it, that this thread has been filled with sometimes harsh complaint, while the title is as it is. I look at my mail list and see, repeated over and over "2004 DXP Looks Great." I agree with that, as well as with some of the criticism here.

Note that the criticism in this thread is basically not of P2004. It is of Altium policy.

There are early buyers of DXP and later buyers. The later buyers may have purchased under a promise of free upgrade to 2004. In my book, these later buyers are owed a book. For all I know, they are getting one.

I'm a later licensee of DXP, my license dates to the beginning of this year and they were advertising free upgrade in the latter part of last year. So maybe I'll get a book.

The early upgraders did not get a promise of the next release free. Yet they are getting it free, sans book. This is a generous gesture, in fact. Some will argue that the users deserved it, that DXP was a proverbial piece of junk. But I know prominent users who upgraded to DXP and considered it worthwhile from the start. Regardless, Altium seems to have generally convinced actual DXP users who have had the opportunity to use P2004 that it was all worthwhile.

If you were an early upgrader, you paid $1995 to move from 99SE to DXP. At the end of the year, it was $2495. So the early upgraders are not getting a raw deal, they saved $500. Altium extended the $2495 upgrade price to the end of February, and, on a case-by-case basis, even a few days beyond that. Remarkably, there was little comment, if any, on this list. I was occupied elsewhere and the fact that the upgrade price was going, as of March 1, to $3495, escaped me. Had it not escaped me, I'd have been urging everyone to upgrade while the upgrading was relatively cheap. If you look at the upgrade cost over the time involved, Protel still has a maintenance cost within or not far from industry standards (15% is what I used to hear, that would indicate $1200 per year).

Absolutely, the DXP release has been a tough move for 99SE users. I've argued with Protel sales about this, but it is my undeniable experience that DXP has become more like OrCAD in difficulty of use. The new tools *are* more powerful, but they have become less accessible, less intuitive. With OrCAD, once you are trained with the program, you may think the OrCAD Way is the best way. But I found it very hard to learn, I'd take a day to figure out how to do something that used to take me a few seconds in Tango DOS, and then, next, day, I had forgotten how to do it. I'd chalk it up to age -- believe me, OrCAD made me feel old and stupid -- but when I bought Protel 98, this didn't happen. When I wanted to do something, it was usually quite easy. There was usually more than one way to do it, and one of them was usually quite simple to discover. There was the famous hidden rt-click menu that allowed you to Update Free Primitives from Component Pads. That was a rare exception to the general ease-of-use.

I would have suggested more consideration for upgraders, more immediate and well-organized manuals aimed at upgraders and how an upgrader will think. And some of the old tools could have been left in place. What would have been the harm in keeping the old global edits *in addition* to the newer methods? Those global edits took up a single button on the main primitive edit dialog.

DXP is organized *differently* in certain critical ways, there can be quite a learning curve. The consensus of those who have gotten over the hump (I'm not one of them) seems to be that it was worth it to gain the more powerful tools, and I see the power of the tools and can, at least in theory, agree. Our company is still using 99SE for routine design and our main designer may have missed the upgrade deadline (because I didn't see it coming and didn't warn him -- he has his own company, he is independent and buys his own tools; I did suggest he upgrade but I haven't heard that he actually did and haven't yet asked him. He'll probably read this....) So I don't have a powerful motive to set aside the time to seriously retrain. Instead I use DXP in bits and pieces, mostly as I read the DXP list and try to work on issues that I do understand or where I can contribute or learn something.

Quite a while ago, I decided that it was worthwhile to keep current with the tool, even when the newer version was not-yet-ready-for-prime-time. Protel has always, in the long run, made good, and they need the income to keep developing the product. Some here take a different approach: "We paid the money then, and the product is flawed, so they owe us."

Altium owes us, at this point, simply because we have a 99SE license, just about nothing. They are well advised to consider us, well advised to respect our needs, but their legal obligation with regard to 99SE has *expired*. They are not even *obligated* to provide upgrade discounts. It's good business for them to do so, and my own personal opinion is that the upgrade pricing has gotten a little too steep a little too quickly, but.... that's my opinion, not my right to demand.

So. If they decide to give all DXP licensees a Protel 2004 manual with their upgrade, it would be good customer relations. It is *not* an obligation.

If you haven't upgraded and you do, I assume that it *will* include a manual. It better, you'd be paying an extra $1500 over having upgraded when DXP first came out.

If I were them, and it was considered too expensive to give away the manuals with the free DXP-2004 upgrade, I'd consider setting a discounted price for the manual, an option to purchase it for DXP free upgraders. The PDF, of course, is free, as it should be.

This list (PEDA) is now more heavily weighted toward non-DXP users, relatively speaking. The DXP users are happily chatting away on the Altium DXP list, with the participation of Altium staff, including Mr. Martin.




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