Everything Else

4 December 2004—"One-two-three-four, let’s get five-three out the door!" Subconsciously, this mantra has been boiling our blood for months. Now, at last, the moment has come.

Looking at the fact that we’ve given you no real news since late September, it would seem like there’s so much to tell, but while a lot has happened, the tale of these last few months is ultimately one of frustration with the pace of progress. Suffice it to say that perseverance has again resulted in the successful resolution of problems almost too grotestque to describe and that recounting the details will only detract from the value of what has finally been achieved.

Helix 5.3, while still not a macOS product, is our largest and most significant leap forward to date. Every update we have delivered since 5.1 has delivered pieces of code that are required for macOS native Helix. We have delivered each to you as they have become available, reasoning that it is better to put these updated sections of code into your hands now giving you the benefit of a more modern, more stable Helix and giving us the benefit of being able to work out the bugs in the code section by section instead of having to confront them all at once. Helix 5.3 supports and extends that principle.

If you have not been a regular reader of The Latest Word, the executive summary of Helix 5.3 is that with Apple talking as if they were going to abandon AppleTalk (they’ve been saying this since macOS first shipped, but you never know...), Helix’s very inadequate TCP/IP networking needed to be somehow made solid enough to support the product under macOS and beyond. When we discovered that the TCP/IP code written in 2000, besides being extremely limited, was not even macOS ready, the handwriting was on the wall: we had to rewrite it from scratch.

And now it is done. Even after the stultifying ordeal we’ve been through to culminate this process, we know it was the right decision. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. Helix Client 5.3 works. In fact, it works better than it’s ever worked. You can now deploy a Helix application internationally as well as locally and do so with confidence and without having to become a networking wizard. And you--and your network users--will be amazed by what they can do.

So if you need to deploy your Helix collection over TCP/IP, you can start today. And you’ll be glad you did. A corps of dedicated beta testers has paved the way for you to move smoothly into this new realm of Helix operation. If you’re using Helix at work and need people in remote locations to be able to use your system, that time is finally here. If you use a Macintosh at home and your family is spread far and wide, you can create and deploy applications that you all can share, no matter where you are.

The latest RADE is not too shabby either, and still a great value
While the focus of this release was primarily on resolving the networking issues we faced going forward, Helix RADE has continued to evolve in its capabilities. A glance at the release notes that accompany Helix 5.3 will point at numerous improvements that have been made from bug fixes to "behaviour modifications" and even a handful of features and improvements that make the process or working with Helix faster, more powerful and more flexible than ever before.

Many users have stuck by us and supported our efforts to get to this release. We genuinely appreciate that support. Unfortunately, there are still many users who are standing by, preferring not to upgrade until Helix RADE runs in macOS. As you’ll read in our current Helix 6 update, the Helix Server will be the first macOS product we’ll be shipping. Since the functionality offered by Helix RADE 5.3 will be the same toolset you’ll be using during the first incarnation of Helix 6, now is as good a time as any to begin becoming familiar with Helix RADE again and start working on the applications you’ll be deploying under macOS.

Registered owners of Helix 5.2 or 5.2.1 products can get their new keys for free. Everyone else must pay, but there too, we have smoothed the way. We have restructured the pricing of the Helix 5.3 Client/Server Toolkit to make it easier for small network systems to take advantage of this great technology. We are also offering upgrade pricing to all Helix owners and extending our graduated pricing policy, further reducing the price for owners of Helix 5.0-5.1.1.

The Helix Amnesty Program
Did you come upon your Helix license in some way other than one hundred percent on the up-and-up? Over the years, many people have. Name a’s been tried.

Some people have purchased Helix licenses and then given them away, even traded them with friends. "Hey! You have a 9-user server? I need that one. I’ll trade you a 7!" Some have given them away to people who have then given them away. Some people purchased them for clients, but never registered the client with us. Some worked in places where it was being used and copied it, then went off and created their own Helix programs. The list of ways you could get Helix improperly goes on and on, as it does with most software.

Because we have such a supportive user base, software piracy hasn’t been one of our major concerns, especially in light of the fact that few people outside of active Helix users have even heard of Helix for what seems like years.

Yet piracy still occurs and among all the ways it happens, the worst way--because of all the people harmed by it--is when someone actually buys it from someone other than us. Plenty of you would probably like to become "legit," especially if the person who originally sold it to you has somehow vanished, but you just don’t feel like you should pay full price. After all, you already paid someone, so why should you pay again?

We have a solution for those people. Come in from out of the cold. Tell us your name and address, phone number and email address. We’ll give you a Helix customer number and let you buy your next Helix version at the upgrade price. You’ll get all the support and none of the punishment!

And if you’re one of the other ones, one of those responsible for all that "bad" Helix out there, if you’re a Helix "typhoid Mary," we have a solution for you too. And no, we’re not going to catch you and torture you with legalities. We’re going to ask you likewise to come in out of the cold and help us legitimize your clients. Even though you may have done the wrong thing, you did help spread Helix around, and to show our gratitude, besides not making trouble for you, we’ll find a way for us all to work together again.

HMM almost there
We’d hoped to have our Helix Maintenance Manager ready to ship with Helix 5.3, but that was not to be. Nonetheless, the little tyke is walking around and once it stops tripping, it should also be ready for prime time. It’s a great product that you’re truly going to wonder how you ever got along without. Watch the site for news of that soon.

And what else?
Oh yes! Of course. Helix 6. There’s news there too. Lots of it. Just go to the Helix 6 page and start reading. Thanks again for all your support and hang in there. We’re getting closer all the time but we still need your help!

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