Author Topic: Free Altium is Coming  (Read 297358 times)

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Offline Cside

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2014, 02:25:17 am »
Mustn't upset the precious shareholders.

Well, the fact is Altium is a publicly listed company, and they do have a legal fiduciary responsibility as a public company to make a profit for their shareholders.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary
Many people forget this.
If they were a charity, they would be registered as a charity, not a public company.

The problem is law and the institutionalized drive to increase profit, as if profit is the only measure of a companies success.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2014, 02:40:13 am »
The problem is law and the institutionalized drive to increase profit, as if profit is the only measure of a companies success.

Sure.
But at the end of the day, that's how publicly listed companies work. They decide to list the company, people buy shares and in return expect (and the law demands the company do it's best to provide) a financial return. And if the company directors do not do enough to ensure that returns happens, they can get sued for corporate negligence etc.
If that wasn't the case then why would anyone invest in a public company?
If you don't want to play that game, don't take your company public, or don't buy products from a publicly listed company.

Of course, there are ways to be a nice company and still make a profit, they aren't mutually exclusive.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2014, 02:48:13 am »
The problem is law and the institutionalized drive to increase profit, as if profit is the only measure of a companies success.

Altium should contribute their fair share to the engineering and maker community

:)
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline Cside

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2014, 03:08:18 am »
Quote
If that wasn't the case then why would anyone invest in a public company?
If you don't want to play that game, don't take your company public, or don't buy products from a publicly listed company.

Of course, there are ways to be a nice company and still make a profit, they aren't mutually exclusive.


There are other reasons to invest in companies, For instance an environmentally conscious individual may invest in a new green-technology company for its positive effect on the environment.
A mother who lost a child to leukemia may invest in a company that has radical preventative / inhibitive treatment for cancers.

social responsibility and fiscal performance are not mutually exclusive but when they are, the law forces the choice on the director.
Anticipating socialist-communist critisism, I am neither. I do strongly believe that using financial performance as the sole metric for success is hugely detrimental to society and not sustainable.

 
 

Offline djacobow

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2014, 03:40:45 am »
Mustn't upset the precious shareholders.

Well, the fact is Altium is a publicly listed company, and they do have a legal fiduciary responsibility as a public company to make a profit for their shareholders.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary
Many people forget this.
If they were a charity, they would be registered as a charity, not a public company.

Well, to be absolutely precise, fiduciary responsibility requires that they try to make money for the investors, not that that they succeed. And most investors in companies understand that management has pretty wide latitude to pursue that according to how they think is best, at least until the board punts them all. It's true that sometimes shareholders sue their management, but it's not super common, and I think success is even less common. The whole world of corporate governance, management v. investor is very interesting, but in my opinion, these days it is management that has the upper hand.

That said, it is theoretically possible that a company could radically change their business in order to make more money. They might give away one product to make demand for another product. That's a bet that management could take, and the cost could be dear in the short term and but maybe work out in the long, maybe not. I can't think of successful examples of this pivot, but I'm sure there are some.

I don't know much about Altium's business, but they would not be the first company with a best-in-class product with high-end pricing realizing that they are getting more dollars from a smaller and smaller segment of the market. Management could be thinking long-term for a way out of that trap, but investors won't "get it." In such cases, it is the investors who can't see past the end of the quarter, who might be getting in the way of their own profit. Or it could be that management is wrong and their idea is bad. (Also, investors own interests are not homogeneous. Some are day traders, in and out of Altium between 9am and 5pm. Others have been holding the stock for years. They want management to do different things, for sure.)

Anyway, outcomes are only known post-hoc, but a court is not going to judge management on their post-hoc record, only on the quality of their thinking based on the available information at the time the decisions were made.

 

Offline zapta

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2014, 04:41:30 am »
There are other reasons to invest in companies, For instance an environmentally conscious individual may invest in a new green-technology company for its positive effect on the environment.

This is not an investment, this is charity.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline Cside

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2014, 05:31:59 am »

Quote
This is not an investment, this is charity.

A rose by any other name..
 

Offline ehughes

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2014, 12:39:03 am »
I will have a exhibit at Maker Faire in NYC....  A Little birdie told me Altium be there as well with something to show....  ????
 

Offline IanJ

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2014, 08:11:14 pm »
Hi all,

You know......for me this whole Altium free thing is exciting!, but not because I may use their software............but actually I'm excited for the whole community that Dave's voice (amongst others) has been heard, deliberated and then actioned.

Kudos all round.............

Ian.
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Offline CesarEscudero

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2014, 04:46:55 pm »
 :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2014, 05:18:07 pm »
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2014, 05:21:13 pm »
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.

Some of us would consider that "better".
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Offline Rigby

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2014, 05:29:03 pm »
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.

They can do both.  And, with the added feedback of the hobbyist community, maybe they'll feel impetus to actually make a few changes they wouldn't have otherwise made.
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2014, 09:40:41 pm »
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.

They can do both.  And, with the added feedback of the hobbyist community, maybe they'll feel impetus to actually make a few changes they wouldn't have otherwise made.
No, no, no. If you can grab 80% of the people with 20% effort, you should do that. Windows is well above 90% market share, and all engineering productivity tool is on windows.
Not to mention that their code is based on windows libraries. If they would change to something else, that would lead to only one thing: BUGs. All current customer of theirs are fine with windows and would be pretty upset that bugs were introduced. And Linux GUI is ugly. Any change from the current look and feel of the program is a big change. Even if they would change one button/menu I would be upset, or my (burned into my brain) hotkeys wouldnt work anymore. Just think about it: Some people spend more time with this program than with their wifes (which I dont have one).
Although optional ribbon would be welcomed.
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Offline Rigby

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #39 on: September 02, 2014, 11:31:33 pm »
So are you advocating that they do nothing other than add a ribbon?  You seem to think that any change will irreversibly ruin things.  Am I reading wrong?
 

Offline Ribster

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #40 on: September 03, 2014, 01:01:51 pm »
Isn't cross platform directly supported by java?
It seems a bit odd that you need to reprogram everything for each platform.
I'd say: switch to a programming language that has cross platform support if you want to do this.
That way there is no overhead concerning programming resources.
If they do not want to implement cross platform, then just stay where they are.

Since they need to rewrite the whole program to go cross platform, that seems unlikely.
On the other hand, since the free version will be a new program as dave said, it could be possible that they made it cross platform..
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Offline SL4P

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #41 on: September 03, 2014, 11:34:17 pm »
Huh. From the details you're giving, I can say for certainty that this is either going to be an industry game changer or a completely mismanaged flop.
Yep, I was excited by what I heard and saw.
Like I've said, there were few things that made me think they are headed in the wrong direction here.
Doesn't mean they can't completely screw it up in true Altium tradition though  ;D
Doing this right is critical to market acceptance and growth.
This is exactly the right way to draw in new users that later become professional users.

Allow virtually unlimited use as a 'what I need' schematic/footprint/PCB tool for hobbyist/hackers - which allows them to become comfortable & productive in a non-competitive/threatening environment.   Sure there should be some high-spec limitations that exclude corporate users - but no small or part-time shop is ever going to buy a full licence anyway... they may as well use Altium 'basic' to give exposure and legitimacy to the 'standard'.

When these novice users leave home/college and become professional users - the path to upgrade is usually obvious - and generates corporate / professional sales - upgrades.  Lifetime Altium advocates and customers if it's played right.
Don't ask a question if you aren't willing to listen to the answer.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #42 on: September 04, 2014, 02:40:10 am »
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.

Every effort catering for a feature that I don't is effort that could be put into making the features that I use better.

Cross platform is just another feature. Some use it, some not.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline Zad

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2014, 03:41:23 am »
Software products inevitably reach a stage where the owners add more functionality and bug fixes, but the usability (and buggyness) gets worse. 90% of the features are not used by typical users, but all the extra "features" get in the way of what you want to do. I can see an argument for encouraging Altium to spend their resources on other things, if it means they stop screwing up the core product.

If Altium Free is a ground-up new design, without any of they marketing wank-word functions, then it may well be a better (cleaner, simpler) product. I imagine the way it works will be familiar, simply because of the shared experience base. If it is Java based, then you can expect to see it decompiled and deobfuscated quite quickly. If anyone is familiar with Minecraft, a simple 3D Lego-like game that was comprehensively hacked very quickly, with the result that many users started developing functionality that the designer never thought of. Quality is variable, but the good stuff gets picked up and worked on, copied, and bundled into compilations. the result is a product that is still selling strongly, with a huge user base.


Offline DerekG

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #44 on: September 04, 2014, 04:29:09 am »
90% of the features are not used by typical users, but all the extra "features" get in the way of what you want to do.
I fully agree. This is one of the reasons that DipTrace & Proteus have become very productive alternatives for many users.
Quote
If Altium Free is a ground-up new design, without any of the marketing wank-word functions, then it may well be a better (cleaner, simpler) product.
I agree, but I doubt it will happen. Altium lost its way in the mid 1990's & I doubt they have suddenly seen the light in 2014.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #45 on: September 04, 2014, 01:17:37 pm »
Every effort catering for a feature that I don't is effort that could be put into making the features that I use better.

Cross platform is just another feature. Some use it, some not.

To a point... You can't put 1,000 people on a single feature and expect anything to get done, so there's some boundary between 2 and 1,000 where there is no gain to putting more man-hours into the project.  In my experience, the number is very small, say around 8 on the high side.  So if you have 10 developers on staff, and you have 8 working on a single feature, putting two more on there isn't going to help much, if at all, and will likely slow everyone else down.  There are a lot of open source projects that can easily prove this.  Infighting and politics bog down just about any project when everyone has their hands in things.

The odd super team here or there will be the exception to that, of course.  Those super teams are VERY much an exception to the rule.

Even in projects with a very strong structure, where people don't clobber each other's work, the bottleneck will become the project management.  The project leader/manager in those types of teams will need to have the vision and the clarity to drive the thing forward, and there will be a point where adding additional labor won't speed him up at all.

So, no, I disagree.  You can't just unilaterally toss more effort into something to get it done faster.  At some point, adding more resources necessarily slows things down.
 

Offline timb

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #46 on: September 04, 2014, 09:01:55 pm »
Every effort catering for a feature that I don't is effort that could be put into making the features that I use better.

Cross platform is just another feature. Some use it, some not.

To a point... You can't put 1,000 people on a single feature and expect anything to get done, so there's some boundary between 2 and 1,000 where there is no gain to putting more man-hours into the project.  In my experience, the number is very small, say around 8 on the high side.  So if you have 10 developers on staff, and you have 8 working on a single feature, putting two more on there isn't going to help much, if at all, and will likely slow everyone else down.  There are a lot of open source projects that can easily prove this.  Infighting and politics bog down just about any project when everyone has their hands in things.

The odd super team here or there will be the exception to that, of course.  Those super teams are VERY much an exception to the rule.

Even in projects with a very strong structure, where people don't clobber each other's work, the bottleneck will become the project management.  The project leader/manager in those types of teams will need to have the vision and the clarity to drive the thing forward, and there will be a point where adding additional labor won't speed him up at all.

So, no, I disagree.  You can't just unilaterally toss more effort into something to get it done faster.  At some point, adding more resources necessarily slows things down.

I was about to post this exact same thing! Anyone who says different clearly hasn’t worked in the software industry or isn’t a programmer. Adding labor requires a very skilled manager who can chop a feature into many sub-blocks and then co-ordinate it all. In my experience, a manager of average skill can handle about 8 people at once, just like you said.

Porting to other OS’s might actually make the product better, as it generally requires you to produce clean, well maintain code that doesn’t use OS-specific hacks.

Porting could be as simple as assigning one coder the task that he works on only part of the time.

Or they could go the route of DipTrace and stick it in a WINE bottle. (Though I *really* hope they don’t do this…)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic; e.g., Cheez Whiz, Hot Dogs and RF.
 

Offline hikariuk

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #47 on: September 04, 2014, 10:05:04 pm »
maybe this version will have a different file format that will be limited in some way unless you part with more $$.

Of course it will be limited in some way, and of course you have to part with $$ to get more.
Altium are a commercial PCB tool developer, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make money.

Mustn't upset the precious shareholders.

Well, no.  You mustn't.  If you trade your shares that's a legal responsibility you take on - you have a duty to your investors.
I write software.  I'd far rather be doing something else.
 

Offline hikariuk

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #48 on: September 04, 2014, 10:07:50 pm »

Quote
This is not an investment, this is charity.

A rose by any other name..

The legal responsibility for a charity is slightly different (at least in the UK).  A charity is legally required to use its funds and holdings in the best way possible to further its charitable aims (which often means disposing of things they were gifted, because that's what makes the most sense).
I write software.  I'd far rather be doing something else.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #49 on: September 07, 2014, 01:09:34 am »
I'm wondering when this free version is due. 
 


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