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ArcGIS 10 - My big question for esri

Good news! ArcGIS 10 is released now and available for download (Conditions apply!)!

As a student I have always striven to keep in touch with the latest software in the domain of GIS, office suite, open source software and so on. Almost all the software vendors have a very liberal policy regarding their software at least for testing purposes. It may be ERDAS, Microsoft, FME and so on. All these companies are ready to provide a beta/trial release for free to any user. They insist on registering, which is good, as they can keep track of number of downloads etc. This way I have used ERDAS Imagine 2010, Microsoft Office 2010 beta, FME Desktop 2010(still using) and many more.

Right from the announcement of ArcGIS 9.4 beta till its release now as ArcGIS 10, I have been keeping track of the software. I was very hopeful of getting a beta release like other software but only customers had the privilege. I agree that a student may not be able to test the software in a dedicated manner like professionals but still there are many other customers who are not under maintenance (which is a mandatory requirement by Esri, for any testing or support) who would definitely do a good job for Esri.

My hopes of downloading older version 9.3 were dashed last year when I first started learning ArcGIS. Then it was available only on request in the form of an evaluation DVD. Unfortunately my communication was unanswered by the local ESRI distributor. Even this time for ArcGIS 10 it appears to be the same situation. I really can't understand why Esri has such highly restrictive policy regarding their software. Do they want to remain in an elite club of software makers? Of course Esri is really famous for the most useful software in the domain, but wouldn't it be more famous if easy options for download and testing were available? The current situation bars any software enthusiast even from having a look at the industry leader's product! How unfortunate?!

I have also been requesting for download option through esri's twitter channel with mention esri, but it was of no use. Anyway what can I do? Everybody, be it an individual or an organization have the freedom to frame their own policies. Let me hope I will find the latest package in some organization!

Thank you!


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