Like the majority of peope who would be appearing for the 2009 CAT, I was not very happy with it was announced that it would be conducted online this year. The CAT had a certain charm, being conducted on the same day throughout the country. Discussion boards would be full with everybody presenting their own solutions, waiting for coaching classes to come with their solutions and cut-offs and in general worrying about who would get a call and who wouldn't. I really enjoyed all of this last year (though of course I was hoping that the ouycome would be different) and it does feel bad that all of that wouldn't be happening this year.
But other than the 'charm' factor, there are a lot of reasons why I would not like the CAT to go online this year. Firstly, having taken the good old pencil-and-paper CAT, I would obviously prefer a similar format again. Also, I would really not want the CAT to be adaptive like the GRE. That was a great advantage in the CAT - all questions had equal weightage. And that's only fair - I might find a question on functions easy and geometry tough while someone else would feel the exact opposite way. So its not right for a third person to decide which questions are 'easy', which are 'tough' and set the paper accordingly. One more issue that might come up in the online version is the easy of manueverability between various questions and sections. Earlier, you had all the freedom to solve any question or section for as long as you wanted. Whether that stays or is discontinued remains to be seen. However, that need not be abandoned totally - the BITSAT which is also conducted online, gives you complete freedom to roam between questions and sections. Something like that would be absolutely great.
There are of course other issues like whether the candidates would be knowing the weightage of each question, the availability of rough papers to work on and so on. But other than the fact that it will be conducted over ten days, we have no other information. Hopefully, the picture would become clearer in the days to come. I hope the CAT does go online, that would be a move in the right direction, but I hope it still allows all the candidates the liberties which the pencil and paper CAT gave. That would be the best solution.