EOL 5: Finale 98 review (Signell)

Too-frequent upgrades

Coda is releasing a new upgrade-for-fee almost yearly. I don't begrudge them a fair return on their investment in improvements, but this seems excessive: 1997, 1998, 2000 (not yet reviewed here). Even the rapacious Microsoft juggernaut gives us more of a breather between versions.

Like Microsoft, Coda's "new versions" are marginal: more layers of undo, cute new fonts--all minor changes, upgrades they should provide free to loyal customers, saving the expense of upgrading for a major overhaul of the program.

I fear that this represents eagerness for maximum profit at the expense of loyal users. It seems to me related to the onerous copy protection in Finale 98, requiring the user to keep the CD handy to verify ownership every time you open the program. I have yet to be persuaded that these copy protection schemes produce more revenue. Are bootleggers saying, "Rats, foiled again," and ponying up hundreds of dollars to buy the program? Or is it just annoying customers who did pay? I have lots of programs I paid for. Every one of them asks for a serial number when installing on my hard disk and that's the end of copy protection. Why is it that Coda has to be so intrusive? Doesn't that represent a disrespect for their customers?

I also suspect that Coda's failure to supply a review copy of Finale 2000 after repeated requests relates to the problems encountered above. My 1991 review of Finale said with regret, "The initial release of the DOS version (1.0), not surprisingly, revealed numerous incorrectly programmed or unworkable features, called 'bugs' in computerese. Coda...declined to supply their updated version [without payment from the reviewer]." Tout ša change...

We welcome responses on this topic from Coda and from Finale users.

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