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Legacy Code: START V1
For the sake of comparison, and a bit of history, we provide the README file for the old freeware version of START. We also provide the freeware itself. If you want to use it, go ahead. No permission is necessary.

Here are the links:

README (Version 1.23) Version 1.23 - Unsupported

START V1 was written for the personal use of its developer, Richard Gerber. (In fact, it was his first experiment in web programming.) After Dr. Gerber used it for a conference 1998, a lot of other people started requesting the software for their conferences. In a very short time, it developed a very large user base. Despite the limited functionality, and unstable nature of the code, over 1000 conferences and workshops used START V1 between 1998 and 2001. You might therefore believe that it's good enough for you too - in which case you would be making a big mistake.

The popularity of START V1 was due to an age-old phenomenon. It was one of the first attempts at automating a tedious, time-consuming manual process. Of course START V1 was an attractive solution in 1998, compared to the old method of paper submissions, secretarial support, duplication machines, and trips to the Post Office. However, START V1 (and the other early freeware packages) defined the "first wave" in automating the conference editorial process. While this "first generation" solution was "revolutionary" in 1998, it has since been supplanted by a far superior product - START V2.

We believe that START V2 is the best product available for conference management. It is the most widely-used product of its kind. However, it is not the only conference package available. There are several other contemporary, supported systems - most of which surpass the quality (and functionality) of START V1. So, if you do not wish to use START V2, you should at least investigate the other alternatives available. Yes, they cost a bit of money; however, if your time is worth anything to you, this should not be a factor. (The cost for START V2 is less than one person's registration fee at an average conference.)

Before automation, conferences often had to spend thousands of dollars on postage, copying, and secretary support. Now they don't. PC chairs get very little budget for these activities. However, since automation saves your conference so much money, why should you have to waste YOUR time using a tool like START V1? You should be able to use the best tool you can find - particularly if it will save YOU a lot of time. And START V2 will save you an enormous amount of time, compared to START V1 (or other solutions like START V1).

That said, the freeware will remain on this website. Some people still find it useful - however, not necessarily to manage conferences. Rather, it is used as a prototype for other web programming activities, and as a basis for student projects. Feel free to download it, install it, and use it for whatever purpose you see fit. Due to time limitations - and the unstable nature of the code - we can no longer support it. The last version or START V1 was written in July 2000, and there will be no further releases. So, if you really want to use START V1, you are welcome to try. Just please do not complain about it, or ask any technical questions about it.

However, given the alternative, we do not believe you will want to use it. Almost everyone who inquires about START V1 ultimately switches to START V2.


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