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Re: COMP:Freeware?

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>Dennis Wish,  you wrote
><< Please be careful about the term "bugs" since the majority of "bugs" 
> exist in software are actually the users lack of understanding on how 
to use
> the software. I am not saying that Sib has a valid or invalid claim, 
> would not want to make the implication that free software is any more 
> less "buggy" than the software I paid for.>>


A bug is a bug. Majority of bugs are bugs not users mistakes. Not 
knowing what you are doing is very different from a case when you are 
following the instructions in the manual and the program does not 
perform as stated in the same manual. 

There is no question that a commercial piece of software that is in use 
by many practicing engineers has a much better chance to be "less buggy" 
than a software written by an individual and used by very few. Not only 
this freware package will not the same "workout" and testing, but there 
is also no time and very little of an incentive to "fix" the shareware 
piece. Surely you will not demand the same attention from the author to 
whom you paid zero fee vs. a software provider who is paid by you for 
the technical support?

The main difference (as you stated previously) is between "playing with 
the software" where a demo can impress you enough to recommend a 
software package to others, and earning your fee doing engineering while 
using a working tool. The keyword here is "working" tool. That means a 
piece of software that performs in a reliable manner that will not leave 
you "high and dry" at the deadline with "techsupport via e-mail". Try to 
explain it to your client next morning that with your fee at $120/hour 
(we all wish - no pun intended)the shareware program you were using 
locked your computer.

If a new or an improved package becomes available, it is very important 
to review it to get first hand impression of it. The time you will spend 
on doing it is directly proportional to the frustration you are 
experiencing with your current package. If you are happy with what you 
have, you will spend just enough time to get an idea if there are any 
features that your package does not have. 

Until I have a chance to use a package on a "real" - read "paying" 
project, I would not recommend it (even to my competitors as I value 
their opinion also).

Just some thoughts on the subject.


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