Vantage relieved of copy protection systemBy Ian Chamberlain and Chris Williams. Published: 12th May 2004, 17:41:30 | Permalink | Printable
Light at the end of the tunnelPublishing and graphics software developer Cerilica has vowed to find a third party to sell its previously beleaguered flagship art package Vantage, on Cerilica's behalf.
Speaking earlier in the week to Drobe's Ian Chamberlain, Simon commented: "A new version, with the copy protection removed, will be released. I will email the Cerilica mailing-list with information about the new version and how to upgrade."
Earlier today, Simon informed Vantage users that a new version of the software was available - version 1.11 which includes bug fixes, a couple of new features and no more registration key requirements.
"Can I start by saying a sincere 'sorry' to those of you unlucky enough to get stuffed by the combination of Vantage's registration system and my recent absence," Simon told his user base.
"The simple fact is that I was offered a dream job and I'd have been a fool to say no. I have been careful to ring-fence the Cerilica products and technologies to protect future development. This means I am going to be quiet for the next couple of months, but once settled in I will publish a new PO Box address, and I'll also be able to announce at least one new Cerilica product - I've been busy."
Cerilica introduced the Vantage copy protection system in March last year, which basically locks each copy of Vantage down to a particular user's hardware and requires a key (issued by Cerilica) to unlock it. If a user's hardware changes, then a new key will be required or the software refuses to run after 14 days. Unfortunately, some Vantage users found that the protection system would suddenly demand a new key, as Simon designed the system to require new keys every nine to twelve months, leaving them 14 days to get a new key to allow Vantage to keep running. Recently, requests for new keys to Cerilica were ignored and gradually more and more users found themselves locked out of their software, leaving graphics and designs stranded in the Vantage file format.
"I'm one of the people who bought Vantage last year who are now finding that the software protection system is about to time out, rendering this expensive application useless," one user commented at the end of last month to Drobe, echoing comments made by other users who had vented their frustrations and talk of legal action to the Vantage mailing list.
Another user told us last month: "As threatened by Vantage itself, my copy's software protection finally decided to stop running. I can no longer use a piece of software I paid for, and the company which I bought it from is not answering emails."
"The current situation really is a shame," said one other user in April, "and I guess this is one application that Martin Wuerthner won't ride in to rescue. The protection system has always been problematic, which I'd have thought could have been a marketing opportunity, regarding the much vaunted Truism."
"Back in March of 2003 I didn't realise how busy I would be and the new protection, though excellent, relies on someone being available to support it," Simon Birtwistle, who is in the process of moving house, explained this week. Simon also expects his work levels to return to normal in time for the end of summer this year. "For the last two months I've been completely been occupied by my businesses. I intend to find a 3rd party to sell Vantage. I will continue to provide bug-fixes and may introduce new features, but there are no guarantees."
Brief history of Vantage
In 1994, Simon developed Vantage solely for his Liverpool based graphic design company. In 1996, Nick van de Walle discovered Vantage and in 1997, Simon and Nick discussed turning Vantage into a full, marketable product. Then over 1999 and 2000, Vantage was first released to the public. The much awaited Vantage 1.10 was released in 2003, which hoped to address stability issues encountered by end users.
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