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Adobe's Release Strategy

Graeme Forbes comments below about screen refresh are a concise and
to-the-point description of Adobe's 10-point release strategy for

1. Ignore Enhancement Requests from ordinary users. Pay attention only when
several major license holders threaten to refuse to upgrade to the next
major release unless a requested enhancement is included.
2. Functions that don't work properly are not bugs, they're "features", and
making them work the way people expect them to work requires an enhancement
request, which invokes rule 1 above.
3. The only thing that's called a bug is something that makes FrameMaker crash.
4. If a function ain't broke, "enhance" it, and in the process, introduce
unwanted bugs and/or "features" that break it.
5. If new functionality is added, do a half-assed job of it that looks good
in a canned demo by an Adobe salesperson, but doesn't cut the mustard in a
real-world publications environment. Improve a new function only if there
are widespread complaints, particularly from major license holders.
6. Every once in a while, issue a bug release (e.g., 5.5.1, 5.5.2, 5.5.3)
that mainly fixes crash bugs.
7. Every once in a while, issue a bug release that also adds one new major
function (e.g., XML in V5.5.5.6), and claim that the added functionality
makes the release an upgrade so people have to order and pay for it, even
though the majority of the changes from the previous release are bug fixes.
8. Users are supposed to accept the inevitability of occasional unexplained
crashes and anomalies, and shouldn't expect help from Tech Support, even
when the crash or anomaly is replicatable. Do not try to track those
anomalies down and fix them, even though they're likely to turn into a
full-blown crash bug or other major anomaly in a future release.
9. When a sufficient number of urgent enhancement requests demanded by major
license holeders, plus unwanted "features", and unfixed bugs, have been
accumulated, issue a new major release that existing license holders will
clamor and pay for, just to get rid of those existing problems. Include some
new functionality that is implemented half-assedly so as to start a whole
new release cycle.
10. Admit nothing, and make it difficult for ordinary users to confirm the
existence of known bugs and unwanted "features", or to report the discovery
of new ones. 

At 02:43 PM 2/1/99 -0600, Graeme Forbes wrote:
>Roger Jones wonders why he still has to use screen refresh as much in 5.5.6
>as he did in 4.0 My own opinion is that screen refresh problems are in the
>same category as many others, "common Framers improvement requests that
>have been consistently ignored by Frame Tech and Adobe". The characteristic
>feature of such a problem is that fixing it would make lousy copy for
>marketing the next version of the program. Can you see the ads? "Frame 5 -
>footnotes break across pages properly!" "Frame 5.5 - hardly ever needs
>screen refresh!". So they do other stuff, and figure, probably correctly,
>that Framers and their ilk will upgrade fairly frequently anyway.
>Graeme Forbes
     | Nullius in Verba |
Dan Emory, Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971 E-Mail: danemory@primenet.com
10044 Adams Ave. #208, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

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