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Re: Genera 8.0 Announcement
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 90 00:59 CST
From: Cohen@MCC.COM (Richard M. Cohen)
Date: 2 Mar 90 15:57:00 GMT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
This letter went out in hardcopy to all customers this week. The sales
reps also received this letter. If you have questions, please address
them to your sales rep, Gary Roberts, or Johanna Rothman.
Dear Symbolics Owner,
Customers eligible for Genera 8.0 will receive distribution media, an
initial documentation set, and one extra documentation set for each
additional five covered systems at a site.
In the brouhaha the new restrictions on software distribution, perhaps
this additional policy change got overlooked. Apparently we no longer
get a set of documentation for each machine under software maintenance
Do we even get one set of release notes per machine? Do we get the
right the duplicate the documentation for the other machines under
Symbolics tried to pull a similar stunt back at Release 5, claiming that
they would only distribute one set of documentation per site. The
policy was very short-lived.
This is not a "stunt." Rather, this is a direct response to numerous
inputs from users that, in the past, we have distributed far more copies
of the manual set than were needed (or even useful).
I think you may find that this varies according to the environment in
which these machines are used. In academia, 1 set of manuals per
machine is essential, if not
insufficient. However, I can imagine that, if all of the users on a
set of machines are proficient, one set of manuals per 5 machines might
suffice. The important distinction is that extra manuals don't hurt
the user, whereas a lack of manuals does. If a user feels he/she is
getting too many manuals, send them to us
because we can always use them.
You should also note that in considering this type of complaint, more
research might be required. This may be impolite of us, but users
generally will not commend you for your decision to give us 1 set of
docs per machine. I think we
expect it. So, the only people you will hear from are those who feel
they are getting too many.
You might have thought to poll a more representative subset of users
before making such a decision, especially when you make the decision
after we have already signed our contracts. In fact, slug might be
such a place to ask such questions. However, this suggestion assumes
that your policy is in reaction to the complaints of paper-fearing
users and not just a "stunt" to save money. I question your
implication that this policy is truly intended to be in the interest of the user.
Please recognize that all of our operating expenses come out of the same
pool of funds, as is true for any corporation. The new documentation
policy will save over $100K a year. This is money that in the future
will be applied to better alternatives, such as improved software
In all honesty, won't this money be used to avoid or minimize fiscal losses?
It is our policy to encourage users to duplicate documentation for their
own internal purposes, if they so wish.
When I buy any machine, be it a PC or a Lisp Machine or whatever, I
assume that all of the documentation will come with that machine, in a
physical form. The cost of providing documentation should be built in
to the cost of the machine. However, you are now telling us that we
are penalized for buying more than one machine at a time, i.e. by
owning 5 lispm's, we get less bang/$ than someone with 1 lispm. Would
it help if we put ownership of our machines in 5 different names?
Isn't this silly? Shouldn't we get perks for owning multiple lispm's, not
In summary, I find this policy *extremely* hard for Symbolics to defend
from any direction, and I would *love* to hear from someone (other than
stockholders who are not users) who supports and can justify this policy.
-- David Magerman, University of Pennsylvania LINC Laboratory
*** These opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of anyone else. ***