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It's Been Done

Week of July 4, 2002

It's been done. Whatever RIX System aka Rix2k Extreme Power Tools aka the XPT has been able to accomplish to fill in the cracks in the Windows computing experience is already here. Windows as a platform is dead: it no longer holds any fascination or hope for the application developer. Those responsible for the XPT watch in amazement as the writing on the wall, dripping since late 1999, still appears to be illegible to such a great mass of humanity. But if the users will not get out, then the developers will.

As Windows itself has long since stagnated, so has ISV production for the platform. Personal firewalls and anti-virus utilities continue to garner attention and pull in revenues, but beyond these rainmaker projects nothing has been happening for quite some time. Radsoft's X-file suite, and subsequently their E3 Security Kit, have been met with acclaim, and both are projects of which the authors are justifiably proud, but a great application without a viable platform is without a raison d'etre. When the platform has been abandoned, all the good programming in the world will not keep it going.

The Microsoft computing experience is the least attractive of the alternatives out there today. Granted, many of the tools of the XPT allow for greater control than is possible on other platforms, but a bit of diligent work on at least one of these other platforms would quickly set things right. And in many other cases, the type of compensatory labour performed by the XPT is simply not necessary. These other platforms lack the foibles, the weaknesses, the cracks, and the vulnerabilities found in Microsoft Windows.

Yet whatever speaks volumes about the future of end user computing pales in comparison to the acrimony, the arrogance, the childishness, the helplessness, and the nastiness of the prevalent XPT user base. People who signed up back when there were less than 40 applications in the XPT, who have over the years been given nearly one hundred more tools free of charge, are suddenly penning poison letters when they are informed production will slow down and the projected 2002b release will now become a 2003 release in January of next year.

At the crux of this problem is the support factor, something the staff of Radsoft have always been proud of. Radsoft has leapt miles where other organisations do not respond at all. Radsoft has completely avoided the 'right-click on My Computer' tiered support syndrome which drives clients for other vendors nuts. Every answer given, and often within the hour the query is received, has been qualified and eminently usable. Users have often been given customised applications on the spot - within hours of their inquiry. The latest example was an X-base compatible version of X-scan which was delivered within three hours of the initial request.

Yet significantly no 'thank you' was ever received.

And Radsoft staff have over the years played wet nurse to any number of subscribers who have found themselves in dire straits, either through career or family troubles. Radsoft staff have been a personable lot and not attempted to end support when the subject matter is without the bounds of the XPT. Strange then that these same people who have sucked at the Radsoft support staff teat have demonstrated such nastiness when they cannot get get tool #146 in due time.

Radsoft have never been under any obligation to be so nice. Most vendors sell you a product and then cautiously disappear. And when you send a qualified bug report or other high-level query, you get lost with 'Tier 200' support for a month before the uneducated individual on the other end finally gives up and passes your ticket onto 'Tier 199'.

It all boils down to exactly how much Radsoft support staff can take. And it is today very apparent that they have taken too much.

The XPT will indeed be updated on 1 January 2003. Subscribers will receive advance notification of this roll-out at the end of this year. And this update will include the all-new E3 Security Kit with its (at the moment) 14 high-powered applications. But until then, all shall be silent.

Radsoft staff need a break.

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