As a courtesy to Eric -- his reply

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Jim Conklin

Mar 24, 1994, 12:05:01 PM3/24/94
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>X-Resent-From: Eric Thomas <ER...@SEARN.SUNET.SE>
>Date: Wed, 23 Mar 1994 13:17:31 -0500
>Please repost my message to the BITNEWS and TECHNEWS lists.
> Eric
>*---------------------- Original message follows -----------------------*
>All the views expressed in this message represent the opinion of L-Soft
>international, Inc. ("L-Soft").
>On Wed, 23 Mar 1994 11:40:02 -0500 Jim Conklin
>>L-Soft has published its development plan which indicates that its first
>>Unix product is probably at least a year away, behind a VMS and Windows
>>NT version in priority, and its price is unknown.
>I must take public objection at this incredible piece of misinformation.
>I can only hope that it was an accident, and that CREN will promptly send
>an apology to all the recipients of the original message.
>L-Soft's plans for unix (and VMS/NT) were made public in August, 1993.
>Over a hundred people have asked L-Soft for a copy and can testify to its
>contents. A printout was handed out to CREN's President, Executive
>Director and to Jim Conklin in September 1st, 1993, during a meeting in
>Copenhagen with the EARN Executive. Slides with a condensed version of
>that information were shown during the meeting.
>The availability date for the first unix version is "early 1Q95". That is
>not "probably at least a year away", but about a month later than CREN's
>ListProc plan. "Probably at least a year away" would means "March 1995 or
>even later", ie 2Q95.
>The unix version is not behind the NT version in priority. The NT version
>has the lowest priority, and is not expected before 4Q95. Please refer to
>the charts in the August plan.
>The first VMS version is expected 4Q94. In general, the VMS version is a
>month to a quarter early, as better debugging tools are available for
>VMS. Since most of the code is shared between the 4 versions, it is
>simply more cost-effective for us to release the VMS version first and
>take advantage of the powerful VMS debugger to solve most of the
>problems. This lets us solve problems faster and deliver working code to
>our customers sooner.
>The fact that the price is unknown should not be surprising, given that
>the product has not been announced. It is customary in the computing
>industry to publish prices along with the formal product announcement. It
>is unusual for products to be announced more than 6 months before the
>release date. In fact, it is a dangerous practice to announce products
>one year or more in advance. You only need to open a PC magazine to see
>how many lawyers are making a living out of these early announcements.
>CREN did not approach L-Soft to attempt to negotiate a collective license
>for the future unix product. The EARN Association successfully negotiated
>an agreement last July that will grant them unlimited access to the VMS
>version, when it becomes available. Thus, there is a clear precedent
>showing that L-Soft is not in principle unwilling to negotiate such
>>We had hoped to include LISTSERV TCP/IP in our agreement with L-Soft but
>>L-Soft has chosen to make it a separate product requiring a new license
>>and the cost of that license is currently scaled to mainframe rather
>>that workstation software prices.
>CREN had indeed hoped to include LISTSERV-TCP/IP at a licensing cost of
>$0.00 per unit, an offer which we turned down for reasons that I am sure
>I do not need to clarify. I must point out that CREN never attempted to
>negotiate the purchase of LISTSERV-TCP/IP licenses at a reduced price;
>they felt it should have been free, and since it wasn't, they were not
>interested in pursuing the issue.
>While CREN is of course entitled to its own opinion and judgment
>regarding the price of our offerings, I would like to point out that most
>of our customers regard LISTSERV's price scale as one order of magnitude
>below the costs of typical mainframe software. In fact, considering the
>fact that LISTSERV is a server rather than a single-user program, our
>prices are in the same range as many popular LAN products for personal
>computers. This is a simple fact that anyone can verify by opening a PC
>magazine. I have just done that myself and found that our main package,
>which includes indefinite right to use plus one year of maintenance for
>LISTSERV-TCP/IP and LMail, costs the same as a 250-user license for a
>popular brand of LAN servers, and about 10% of the cost of a FORTRAN
>compiler on a mid-class mainframe. In fact, L-Soft prices are on the same
>order of magnitude as the CREN membership dues that will finance the
>"free" unix list manager CREN intends to make available to its
>membership. This, too, is a fact that any CREN member can check by
>comparing his CREN membership dues with our price list.
>>The acquisition of ListProc and the agreement with L-soft both
>>contribute to the goal in the CREN strategic plan of helping CREN
>>members migrate from NJE to TCP/IP.
>Could you explain how the acquisition of maintenance for LISTSERV-NJE and
>the deliberate non-acquisition of a license for LISTSERV-TCP/IP
>contributed to the goal in the CREN strategic plan of helping CREN
>members migrate from NJE to TCP/IP?
>After having read this message three times I have no option but to
>consider the possibility that it might have been a deliberate attempt at
>misrepresenting L-Soft's offering, views and position. The alternative is
>that CREN made a six-figure purchase decision based on totally incorrect
>facts, when they have been repeatedly provided with correct information
>that was furthermore available to the general public. In particular the
>plans for the unix/VMS/NT development were explained to CREN management,
>face-to-face and in a meeting that about 10 people attended.
>I can only hope that CREN will promptly apologize for this
>misrepresentation, and that this will not happen again.
> Eric Thomas
> Manager of Design and Development
> L-Soft international, Inc.

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